Thursday, March 25, 2021

A Work in Progress

A few years ago, we experienced a winter ice storm that sent huge tree limbs crashing to the ground. Two mature trees were so badly damaged they had to be removed. 

While the loss of the huge tree in the back corner of our property was dramatic, the loss I felt the most keenly was the small tree just inside the back gate. 

Before the tree came down, the little courtyard at the side of the house was always one of my favourite parts of the garden. This had nothing to do with the way it looked and everything to do with how the courtyard made me feel. The leafy tree canopy always made this spot wonderfully cool on a hot summer's day. The moment you entered the back gate, the contrast in temperatures between the full sun front yard and the comfort of the shaded backyard always elicited a sigh of relief and appreciation. When it's really hot, the sun can be oppressive. The shade, especially when combined with a light breeze, is so welcome.

The Pathway

Once the tree was gone the courtyard changed completely. My hostas fried and turned brown. Goldenrod, Creeping Thistle and other weeds quickly transformed the gravelled pathways into a weedy mess. A replacement tree died during its first winter. My once peaceful courtyard became a source of stress and frustration.

There are gravel pathways in a number of places in the back garden. This is the view from the back door late in the summer. I hand-pull the weeds in the gravel and it's a ton of work!!

One of the reasons the weeds got out of hand was my hesitation about a suitable replacement for the gravel pathway around the base of the tree. My overall experience with gravel pathways has been a troubled one. If you lay down a foundation of landscape fabric and cover it with gravel it looks good for the first few years. Eventually, tiny pinholes develop in the cloth and weeds take advantage of any opening. Even if you rake the gravel routinely, leaf litter and other debris falls onto the surface and breaks down into a fertile medium ideal for more weeds. Your choice becomes hand pulling the weeds or spraying them.

I recently watched an interview with head gardener Asa Gregers-Warg about Beth Chatto's renowned gravel garden in Essex, England (Note: though the gravel in my garden is only in the pathways, the general principals at work are pretty similar). While this section of Beth's garden is famously drought-tolerant, Asa says it's also the most labour intensive parts of Chatto's garden as a whole. I can believe it! The free-draining gravel makes it an ideal place for weeds to thrive. 

The video interview by Alexandra of the Middle-sized Garden Youtube channel and blog.

Here's what I have learned through trial and error. The best way to keep weeds at bay is to deprive seedlings of light. And the best way to deprive them of light and make it hard for them to sprout is by making the surface they must penetrate hard and compact. It's impossible to compact pea gravel. 

The pathways at the Halifax Public Garden. Limestone screening is crushed limestone chips (1/4") mixed with limestone dust.

The pathways at the Halifax Public Garden

Eventually, I want to try working with something finer than gravel. Lime screenings, which are often used for pathways in public gardens, are something I want to experiment with in the future. For now, I have switched to natural cedar mulch to make my circular pathway around the central tree. 

Piper taking a break on the mulched path that encircles the Magnolia tree and the garden at its feet.

To create the path, I simply laid down a thick layer of natural cedar mulch. Next, I compacted the mulch with the flat side of an old-fashion garden rake. If the mulch breaks down or gets disturbed by the dogs, I can always add a fresh layer and repeat the compaction. So far, I am fairly pleased with the results. The compacted cedar mulch has kept the weeds at bay nicely (I pulled no more than a couple of weeds last summer). 

The one drawback is the aesthetic. There is also something about the neutral look of gravel that is so pleasing. Mulch may be soft to walk on, but it looks rustic and woodsy. Gravel makes a pleasant crunch underfoot. 

For now, I am sticking with the mulch for the pathway around the central tree. I plan to experiment with limestone screening in a small area. If it works out, I may remove the mulch and replace it with the crushed limestone.

Additional Privacy

I know there is a commandment that we should love our neighbours, but depending on the people next door, that can sometimes be a bit of a challenge. Adding a degree of separation between properties, a fence or a privacy screen can ease the strain of maintaining a good relationship with the folks next door.

The fence that skirts the perimeter of our backyard is a standard height of 6 feet. Unfortunately, there is still a clear view of the house next to ours. To add an additional degree of privacy, we decided to add a tall screen topped with an arbour. The overall layout of the structure was intentionally designed to fall entirely on our side of the shared fence.

Two verticle posts, set in concrete at the base, form the upright support for famed panels of wooden lattice. At the top, there is an arbour with a wooden ladder that runs along the top (2 x 2" boards cut on the front-facing end at a 45-degree angle). 

A square lattice is also an option.

The lattice comes in 4'x8' sheets that can be cut down to suit.  Depending on the retailer, the weave of the lattice may vary from a more open crosshatch or a more dense "privacy" crosshatch. As well as a diagonal lattice, there is a square option as well. 

We chose to use a diagonal privacy weave because it reflected the top section of the backyard fence. Hopefully, the arbour will be covered with a climbing vine one day soon. 

The Plantings–A Restricted Color Palette

We ended up replacing the tree that had been lost with a star magnolia. I always wanted a pink magnolia and this seemed like the perfect opportunity to finally plant one. 

Sadly, the new tree will take years to reach the size of its predecessor. So I started to wonder if there was a way to recreate the old feeling of privacy and comfort without relying on a tree.  It struck me that a quiet color palette can also feel soothing. So rather than planting my usual mix of colors, I decided to limit the palette. Much like the shade that had characterized the courtyard previously, the color white always feels fresh.

The big decisions made, I thought long and hard about what I wanted to do in terms of perennials and shrubs. Most of the old shade-loving hostas found new homes elsewhere in the garden. Only two were left right at the base of the new tree (small as the tree was, it still provided a little shade).  The vast majority of new plants would have to be sun-lovers (at least until the new tree matured). 

Salvia nemorosa 'Lyrical White' forms a compact clump of bright green leaves and has white flower spikes in early summer. Removing faded flowers encourages good reblooming. Fairly drought tolerant once established. Adaptable to a range of soil and moisture conditions. Divide every 3 to 4 years in spring. Full sun. Height: 50-60 cm (21-23 inches), Spread: 50-60 cm (21-23 inches). USDA Zones: 4-9.

Two old-fashioned annuals: Dusty Miller and Alyssum.

Tiny White Scilla

Plantings by Season (Full sun unless indicated otherwise)

Spring Flowering Bulbs:

Thalia daffodils
Scilla (white)
Species Tulips (white with a yellow throat)
White Crocus

Left to Right: Solomon Seal, Polygonatum, Dublin Patio Peony and Dicentra spectabilis 'Alba'.

Spring Flowering Perennials and Shrubs:

Double White Lilac (unknown variety)
Frilly White Peony, Paeonia 'Duchesse de Nemours' 
Dublin Patio Peony (dwarf single white peony)
Solomon Seal, Polygonatum (in part to full shade)
Dicentra spectabilis 'Alba', White Bleeding Heart (part-shade)
Service Berry tree, Amelanchier Arborea
Catmint, Nepeta 
Climbing Rose (only the rootstock took so this needs to be replaced)
Moss or Creeping Phlox

Summer Flowering

White Drift® Rose 'Meizorland'
White Cranesbill Geranium, Geranium x cantabrigiense 'Biokovo'
Salvia nemorosa 'Lyrical White'
Veronica 'Magic Show White Wands'
Meadow Rue, Thalictrum aquilegifolium 'Nimbus White' (part-sun)
Chinese Meadow Rue, Thalictrum delavayi (part-sun)

Hydrangea paniculata 'Bobo'

Late Summer/Fall Flowering

Hydrangea 'Bobo' (in part-sun)
Hydrangea paniculata 'Bombshell' (in part-sun)
White Echinacea purpurea 'PowWow White' 
Rose of Sharon, Hibiscus syriacus 'Diana'

Flowering Lamb's Ears, Stachys byzantine and Alyssum

Foliage Plants:

Assorted Hosta (part-sun to shade)
Lamium 'White Nancy'
Non-flowering Lamb's Ears, Stachys byzantina 'Silver Carpet' 
Flowering Lamb's Ears, Stachys byzantina
Ostrich Ferns (shade)
Japanese Fern (part-sun)

The face pot is concrete but never seems to crack even though I leave it in place during the winter. I got it at the now-defunct Humber Nursery.

Container Plantings

There isn't a whole lot of space available for plants in this tiny area, but it is the first thing you see when you open the back gate, so it's nice to have flowers throughout the season. Container plantings seemed like the perfect way to add a little color.

The beige urns (with the white geraniums) are fibreglass pots I got years ago at Canadian Tire. They are wonderfully lightweight. I leave them out all winter and they have never cracked. 

Ornamental Kale, Round-leaved Oregano or Kirigami (Origanum rotundifolium), a decorative pepper and trailing Swedish Ivy (Plectranthus verticillatus).

The metal plant stand I've owned for years.  To give it a new lease on life, I applied a fresh coat of white spray paint.

I got the brown ceramic pots in a 30% off sale. I chose a neutral color because it fits with my goal to keep the area quiet. 

The Fountain

The focal point of our new privacy screen is an old cast-iron fountain. It developed a crack that couldn't be repaired, so I've turned it into a planter. Perhaps at some point, it would be nice to have the splash of a working fountain, but for now, this old lion will do. 

Rust-oleum Multicolor Textured spray paint in the color "Desert Bisque" 

After hanging on the fence for years, the paint on the cast iron lion was peeling. I cleaned, sanded and primed it. Then I sprayed it with textured paint. This took a bit of work but I was really happy with the result.

What I'd Still Like to Change

As with anything that is worthwhile, a garden takes time. At some future point, I'd like to replace the mulched path around the tree with something a little more formal. The rocks that edge the flowerbeds were free. While you can't argue with that, I feel it's a bit too cottagey for the look I was trying to achieve.

At the moment, the Magnolia tree blocks the view of the new privacy screen but at least that doesn't require a change– just time and patience for the tree to grow. Eventually, it will dominate the space casting what is now full sun back into the shade. Eventually, the plantings will have to change to suit the lower light levels. Like housework, a garden is never done!

Monday, March 15, 2021

New Introductions for 2021 from Terra Nova Nurseries, Inc.

New for 2021 Geum Tempo 'Rose'

The snow has almost melted and that has me dreaming up fresh plans for 2021. Here's a little inspiration that might help you get your own plant lists started:

New Plants for Shade Gardens 

Mixed in with all the green foliage of early spring, the golden leaves of my favourite Bleeding Heart, Dicentra spectabilis 'Gold Heart'  looks spectacular. Though it's a favourite, I have always felt that the pink, heart-shaped flowers clash a little with the golden-yellow foliage. I was really excited to see that there is a new improvement on 'Gold Heart'. 

Bleeding Heart, Dicentra 'Ruby Gold' is the first golden Dicentra spectabilis to have true red flowers. This is definitely one I'm adding to my spring wish list!

Bleeding Heart, Dicentra 'Ruby Gold' is a vigorous perennial that forms an arching clump of golden leaves. The flowers are brilliant red with a touch of orange. Average free-draining soil is all that's needed. Part-shade to full shade. Height: 26 inches, Spread: 36 inches. USDA Zones: 4-8.

Japanese Anemones start flowering in late summer/fall when many other perennials are finished for the season. Unfortunately, they are known to spread aggressively. The tall stems that support the pink or white flowers can also flop down. These issues make this next introduction appealing. 

According to Terra Nova's website, Anemone 'Satin Doll' "runs less than other varieties on the market". That would certainly be a nice improvement! With an abundance of caution, however, I would still interpret "runs less" as suggesting that you may still need to keep an eye on 'Satin Doll's wandering ways. This could be a simple matter of carefully considering where you plant it ('Satin Doll' does well in pots, so this might be one option).

As well as being less aggressive, this new anemone is a shorter plant with a high flower count.  It also blooms early and for an extended period. I have to admit, 'Satin Doll' is tempting.

Anemone 'Satin Doll' is a compact anemone that spreads less aggressively than other varieties. This perennial has a mounded shape and glossy leaves. It blooms earlier than older varieties and for a longer period. Average to moist, well-drained soil is best. Sun to part-shade. Height: inches, Spread: 17 inches. USDA Zones: 4-9.

Brunnera is a fantastic perennial for shade. The great advantage of the newly introduced 'Alexandria' is its vigour and its large silver leaves. Certainly, the metallic appearance of the leaves would contrast nicely with hosta and other shade-loving perennials. 

Brunnera 'Alexandria' is an improvement on 'Alexander's Great' that has silver-green foliage. Part-shade to full shade. In spring this perennial has a profusion of tiny blue flowers that resemble forget-me-nots. Well-drained soil that is rich in organic matter and evenly moist are ideal conditions for this perennialHeight: 14 inches, Spread: 30 inches. USDA Zones: 4-9. 

This post is likely to get very long if I go into every plant's details, so I will simply mention that there are a number of new Hellebores to watch for this spring including the three shown here: Helleborus North Star 'Plum', Helleborus North Star 'Crystalline' and Helleborus North Star 'Garnet Falls'.

Older Introductions for Shade that also caught my eye:

I always like to include some older introductions in with the new ones. Often they are easier to find and continue to make great additions to any garden.

Those of you that have been following my blog for a while may remember that Thalictrum 'Nimbus Cloud' made it onto my wish list last year. Though are happiest in moist, rich soil, I find that Thalictrum are great plants for dry, free-draining soil in part-shade. This spring I'd love to get my hands on Thalictrum 'Black Stockings' for its sexy, dark stems. 

Thalictrum 'Black Stockings' has delicate lavender-pink flowers and lacy, fern-like foliage (Note: may not bloom until its second year). This perennial prefers moist, rich, free-draining soil.  Sun to part-shade ( if in sun, I'd suggest moist, well-drained conditions). Height: 48 inches, Spread: 24 inches. USDA Zones: 5-9.

Actea (previously known as Cimicifuga) is a must-have plant for moist, part-shade. If you don't have this plant yet, you might want to consider Actea 'Black Negligee'. It has more vigour than many other dark varieties of Actea. 

Actea 'Black Negligee' has lacy black foliage and dark stems. The bottlebrush-shaped, white flowers that appear in late summer/fall have a wonderful spicy perfume. Grow this perennial in moist, well-drained soil that is rich in organic matter. Sun to part-shade (if in sun, I'd suggest that moist, well-drained conditions are a must. Too much shade may lead to lighter, greener foliage). Height: 48 inches, Spread: 24 inches. USDA Zones: 5-9.

Terra Nurseries, Inc. has a really nice collection of compact (miniature), evergreen Heuchera. I could imagine these Heuchera being used in mixed containers, rock gardens or massed with ferns or hosta.

Heuchera Little Cuties 'Sweet Tart' (on the right) forms a tight mound of lime-colored foliage. The flowers are pink on dark stems. Part to full shade. Height: 5 inches, Spread: 8 inches. USDA zones: 4-9. 

Heuchera Little Cuties 'Frost' silvery leaves with dark burgundy veins. As the season progresses the foliage takes on a slight violet cast. The flowers are light pink. Full sun, Part to full shade. Height: 6 inches, Spread: 8 inches. USDA zones: 4-9. 

New Perennials for Sun

There always seem to be a few new Echinacea every year. I've picked a couple, but there are four more new introductions: Echinacea 'Giddy Pink', Echinacea 'Moab Sunset', Echinacea 'Dark Shadows Wicked' and Sunny Days 'Ruby'.

Echinacea Sunny Days 'Lemon' produces an exceptional number of yellow blooms. This is a medium height Echinacea with emerald green foliage on an upright plant. Lightly fragrant. Average garden soil works for this plant. Full sun Height: 22 inches, Spread: 30 inches. USDA Zones: 4-9.

Echinacea Prima 'Saffron' has saffron-colored blooms on a short, compact plant. Average garden soil works for this plant. Full sun Height: 12 inches, Spread: 20 inches. USDA Zones: 4-9.

Leucanthemum 'Mt. Hood' has a mounding habit and lots of flowers. Each new layer of flowers covers the previous bloom cycle.  Average, well-drained soil works perfectly. Full sun. Height: 16 inches, Spread: 16 inches. USDA Zones: 4-10. 

I have a very plain Shasta Daisy in my garden and I have to say I am not a big fan. It looks fresh when it is in full flower, but when the blooms wither and turn brown, this old-fashioned Shasta Daisy does not make a pretty picture. Could it be time for an upgrade? Yes indeed!

I like the fact that Leucanthemum 'Mt. Hood' offers great vigour and a strong rebloom. Each new layer of flowers covers the previous bloom cycle. Bonus!

Annuals- Both New and older Introductions

In terms of new annuals, Coleus and Begonias seem to be the focus for Terra Nova Nurseries, Inc.  I do well with Begonias both in the garden and inside the house. I am always looking for a new one to add to my collection. This older introduction is just one of the many to choose from.

Begonia Holiday 'Snowflake' gets its name from its snowflake-shaped leaves. This is a mounding plant with foliage that is shiny, sterling silver with a mint green centre. I love the look of the branching that carries the salmon-pink flowers. Full shade. Height: 17 inches, Spread: 15 inches

Do you like the Begonias with foliage that swirls inward? They're certainly unique. My personal weakness is begonias with metallic leaves.

Coleus Nova 'Roly-Poly' has a compact mounding habit and teardrop-shaped leaves that are red with lime green edges. Part-shade to full shade. Height: 12 inches, Spread: 12 inches

There has been so much interest in breeding new forms and colors of Coleus.  Coleus Nova 'Roly-Poly' is new for 2021. 

More posts about new plants coming shortly!

A word about Terra Nova® Nurseries. They use tissue culture to propagate and grow both annuals and perennials.  Based in Canby Oregon, they have introduced over a thousand new plants to market.

As a wholesale propagation nursery, Terra Nova does not sell directly to the public. On their website, they have a handy page that will help you locate a retailer in your state or province that sells their plants (Sadly for Canadians on the East Coast and in Saskatchewan, Terra Nova is underrepresented).

Photos in this post are courtesy of Terra Nova Nurseries.

Sunday, March 7, 2021

Gardening Trends for 2021

About this time last year, I sat down to write a blog post about trends for the coming gardening season. Who could have predicted that a global pandemic would sweep in and have such a profound effect on every aspect of our day-to-day lives? 

Here in Ontario, we emerged from that initial lockdown right around the time that most nurseries would kick into high gear for the spring season. Even though masks and social distancing made everyday errands, like trips to the grocery store, feel strange, I remember how happy I was to find myself strolling down the nursery isle on a fine June day looking at annuals that were literally fresh off the truck. That bright sunny morning, I snatched up as many plants as would fit in the trunk of my car, vowing to make a return visit to pick up a few more to round out my container plantings. 

Boy was I disappointed! When I finally made it back the following week the place looked like it had been ransacked. Most of the annuals were gone and the seed racks stood empty. Even the perennials, which I usually pick up on clearance much later in the season, had been sold out. 

In the midst of a global pandemic, while everyone was stuck at home worrying about future food insecurity and toilet paper supplies, so many people discovered a new passion for gardening. Mailorder companies and nurseries experienced record sales. 

As the CBC reported last May, many seed vendors had to suspend internet sales to deal with the backlog of orders. Canadian supplier, Vessey's Seeds, saw an unprecedented increase in sales of 450% and that's with over 80 years in the business! 

It's interesting to note that the demographics for Vessey's mailorder sales are typically consumers in the 50 to 65-year-old age group (with the second most popular group being in the 65+ bracket). In 2020, the majority of digital consumers were between the ages of 25 and 35. In other words, a whole new generation discovered gardening in 2020.

So what does 2021 have in store for us?  

Trend #1 More Backyard Food Gardens 

As we all know, the economy has taken a beating and we aren't out of the woods yet. Here in the Toronto area, our lockdown (with its strict stay at home orders) has been extended into March. Depressingly enough, there is still talk of a third wave of infections. Vaccines are rolling out at a glacial pace. 

I think it is safe to say that, in Canada at least, many of the factors that drove last year's sales of vegetable seeds and seedlings will still be in effect.  

Two books on vegetable gardening– one old, one new this spring: The Art of Vegetable Gardening by Matt Mattus from 2018 and the New Heirloom Garden: Designs, Recipes and Heirloom Plants for Cooks who love to Garden by Ellen Ecker Ogden.

New to vegetable gardening? Get inspired by Youtube gardening channels and learn some of the basics:
Garden Answer a very popular channel that needs little introduction
Growing your Greens growing vegetables organically
Epic Gardening vows to help you grow a green thumb
MIGardener Channel organic gardening in Michigan 
Lovely Greens  both backyard and allotment gardening set on the Isle of Man
Roots and Refuge Farm a small family farm in central Arkansas

A new series from Lee Valley Tools hosted by Canadian author Niki Jabbour. 
In this video, Niki talks about planning your vegetable garden.

Trend #2 Raised Beds

Raised vegetable garden beds have become hugely popular and will continue to be so this gardening season. 

It's no wonder – they elevate the humble veggie garden by making them seem tidy and organized. Raised beds also allow you to garden in a small footprint.  

The soil in raised beds thaws drains and warms up earlier than soil in the ground making it possible to get a head start on cool-weather crops like peas, lettuce and beets. Because you fill a raised beds with fresh, nutrient-rich soil, you can garden almost anywhere; on top of gravel, clay or poor soil, pavement and even rooftops.

Raised beds make it easier for those gardeners who may have trouble bending over or kneeling down to plant and weed.

Thinking of adding a raised bed? Here is a video with some design inspiration:

Trend #3

What is the"it" flower that everyone seems to want to grow in 2021? It's the dahlia. No surprise – they're showy and come in such an amazing array of flower forms and colors. 

Looking for some inspiration? Floret's newest book, Discovering Dahlias: A Guide to Growing and Arranging Magnificent Blooms.

Trend #4 Backyard Greenhouses and other Season Extenders 

When I watched a popular thirty-something British influencer, who usually covers fashion and interiors, excitedly give her viewers a tour of her new Hartley Botanic greenhouse I was a bit shocked.  It was hard to imagine those perfectly manicured fingernails potting up plants in her new white and red brick greenhouse. I was less surprised when she announced at least half of the space was to be set aside for entertaining (lunches for all her girlfriends –  after COVID of course).

Laura, another well-known Youtuber (Garden Answer) is about to get a Hartley of her own. The over one million subscribers to her channel will watch the installation playout this spring with wonder mixed with a little bit of green envy. (I can't think of anyone who works harder and deserves a deal on a greenhouse more than Laura!)

There is a greenhouse in my future as well– though a much more modest, scaled-down, DIY version.  It won't be constructed using old windows, as you so often see. We are going to use painted 2x4's for most of the main structure and plexiglass for the exterior.  It won't be ready for use this spring, but I hope it will get lots of use going forward.

These examples may hardly seem like the basis of a trend, but I think there is a general desire to get more out of our outdoor spaces and extend the use of backyards into the colder months.

Private garden, Toronto, ON.

Thinking of adding a cold frame/greenhouse? Watch this Garden Answer video.

And speaking of season extenders, Niki Jabbour has a new book out on the topic. Growing Under Cover is an in-depth guide on how to use small cloches, row covers, shade cloth, cold frames, hoop houses, as well as protective structures like polytunnels and greenhouses to grow amazing vegetables. 

Look for a book review and giveaway in the coming months.

Trend #5 Unusual or New Varieties of Common Flowers

Serious gardeners have always loved unusual plants, but these days just about everyone has more time on their hands to pour over seed listings looking for something different. 

All seeds are in high demand, but I see rare or unusual seeds of common flower varieties becoming much sought after items in 2021.

These are just a few flowers that piqued my own interest: Rudbeckia 'Sahra', Borage 'Alba', Orchid Cream Nasturtium.

ProCut® White Lite and ProCut® Plum Sunflowers. Pro-cut® Sunflowers are a pollen-free, single stem series that was bred for the cut flower market but might make an interesting addition to any garden. They flower in as little as 50 days.

Sunflowers are a good example of this trend. Yellow flowers are classic, but interesting options, like the two shown above, offer gardeners something a little different. 

Trend #6  The Backyard as a Multifunctional Outdoor Living Space

Money that once went into a vacation is now being poured into making the backyard a destination.  With nowhere to go, homeowners are seeing their outdoor spaces with fresh eyes. A garden is a perfect place to read, relax, exercise and dine. 

Expect sales of pools, solariums and fireplaces to continue to soar in 2021. 

Private garden in Hamilton, ON.

Private garden, Hamilton, ON.

Private garden, Hamilton, ON.

Trend #7 Earth-Friendly Gardening

I am loath to think that nature and eco-friendly practices might ever be considered "trendy", but I do think environmental concerns are important issues for most gardeners. Improving the soil, composting and using organic weed and pest controls are practices most gardeners want to follow.

Declining populations of songbirds, Monarch butterflies and bees have been dominate environmental issues in recent years. As a result, pollinator gardens have become hugely popular. 

The issue I see moving more to the forefront in 2021 and beyond is single-use plastics. At present, it's confusing which plastic pots can and can't be recycled. Black plastic pots are not recyclable, while pots marked 1, 2 and 5 on the bottom are (trying to find the designation isn't always easy). Any pots that go into the recycling bin must also be clean and free of any metal or handles. Sorting pots that wind up in recycling programs is time-consuming and therefore expensive. 

Single-use plastics are a huge issue that has nursery companies looking for creative solutions. Expect to see more discussion of the problem going forward.

Trend #8 The Cut Flower Boom

It's not surprising more people will be interested in growing flowers in 2021. When everything around you feels grim, flowers are such a great pick-me-up. Homegrown vegetables are practical. Flowers are for the soul. 

Two older books you might find at the library to inspire your floral creations: The Flower Recipe Book by Alethea Harampolis and Jill Ruzzo from 2013 and Vintage Flowers by Vic Brotherson from 2018.

I treated myself to this book at Christmas time. Canadian Christin Geall is a gardener, floral designer. photographer, writer and teacher. As one reviewer wrote, "It's floral design as an art."

Arranging what you grow is both fun and creative. Normally, we might not have the time to devote to displaying flowers, but our restless energy needs a creative outlet these days.

Trend #9 Themed Gardens

It's going to be a while before many traditional gardeners (the over 50 age group) feel comfortable enough to travel overseas. Introducing touches of faraway places into our humble backyard spaces is a way to travel without packing a suitcase. I can see themed gardens inspired by faraway places becoming increasingly popular.

For more novice gardeners, choosing a particular style or color theme gives selecting hardscaping, decorative accessories and plants a helpful focus.

The look of an English cottage garden reduced to suit a small backyard in Rosedale, ON.

A Japanese inspired pond in a private backyard.

I hope you've enjoyed this post. Let me know in the comments if any trends are inspiring your spring projects this year.