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Garden Trends 2003
by Media release
June 8, 2003

Self Gratification Is Out. Self Awareness Is In

Self gratification for the yuppie crowd is on its way out. The trend emerging is gardening for relaxing and therapy. They are predicting that a deeper layer of gardening will develop. Those who got instant gratification out of their gardens are now looking for the next step. A more thoughtful approach to their gardens will emerge in the next decade. The feng shui movement was the first inkling that people were searching for more meaning in the garden. Like any hobby, as you get more interested you get a deeper understanding and then you get to the heart of it. It’s like collecting something. You start collecting cork screws and then you fall in love with French cork screws and you focus on that. And before you know it, you have a huge collection of French cork screws. The same is true with gardening. You start with a small project or someone puts in a great new landscape, and before you know it you are developing a deeper interest and a greater curiosity as to where you want to go with your garden.

Rows of Bulbs Are Out. Anything Goes Is In

As with fashion, floriculture also has its trends. We saw two color trends at Floriade this year. First we saw a tone-on-tone preference; combinations of the same color tone such as bright yellow combined with dark yellow. One of my yellow combinations is: yellow Dahlias, Begonias, Buttercups, Chlidanthus and Callas. The second color trend goes against the tone-on-tone trend, and involves a more daring use of multicolored species, such as a variegated use of flowers that have more than one color. For instance: red and pink or lavender and blue. Species such as Ixia, Sparaxys, Tritonia and Leuco-coryne are summer bulbs that have two or more colors. For fresh arrangements, we are seeing a more lavish use of colors in the US. Rather than mixing the different colors, we’re seeing grouping of colors and species like combinations of eucalyptus 'Optimism's in the middle surrounded by groups of yellow roses, red roses and lilies.

Pastels Are Out. Bold Colors Are In

We are seeing more use of color in the landscape. And seeing a lot of bold colors. Designers are looking at the whole color package, not just the plants. Color is becoming more important with the structures and the accessories – seeing a lot of boldly painted trellises, houses and furniture. Fabrics are bolder and reflect a continuation of the interior themes. People are looking at the garden in terms of the whole function, as a living space not just a yard full of plants.

Plain Pots are Out. Exciting Containers Are In

Container gardening is still the hottest segment in gardening, but it’s evolving. No longer do homeowners want plain terra cotta containers. The overall trend towards more color is no longer limited just to plant material. When Campania began some 25 years ago, we started with very basic designs for our containers and pots simply because our customers were thinking purely in functional terms, letting the flowers and blooms do all the talking as far as color was concerned. But now we have seen a strong trend to making the container part of the overall presentation. Antiqued stone finishes and glazes are adding interesting dimensions of color on their own, providing imaginative decorative solutions that encourage blending the garden into interior and exterior design ideas and planning. Filling the home with accents and visual features that stimulate the eye by providing interest and diversion continues to drive change in container gardening.

Gardening Only Above Ground is out.
Gardening Underground is In

Healthy soil produces healthy plants, and healthy plants produce healthy people. So it’s really all about the soil and the colonies of “good guys” below the ground. We are seeing a definite increase in interest in taking better care of the soil. Nationally branded and marketed products are emphasizing the organic base of their compositions, and that is just the tip of the iceberg. Vegetable gardeners know that organically rich soil means a higher nutritional content for their vegetables. Flower gardeners see the difference in the health and disease resistance of their plants. According to the Organic Trade Association, retail sales of organic products are expected to reach nearly $20 billion by 2005. Developing more imaginative ways of making organic gardening as cost effective - and as easy to apply - as inorganic methods are underway now and that trend will continue.

Dirt is Out. Pre-formulated Mixes Are In

Gardeners are realizing that the “good dirt” in their yards has been scrapped and sold, and what is left is a hard, infertile soil that is difficult to manage. There are fewer and fewer people who truly understand horticulture. Not knowing much about gardening or having a lot of disposable time, younger gardeners are looking for ready-to-use, all-in-one soil mixtures to save their gardens and save them time. It’s like Kool-Aid. You no longer buy the little pack and add sugar and water. Now it’s all mixed in one container. The trend is toward complete soilless mixes that allow gardeners to buy just one product with everything in it to do the job. The need for complete quality products is driving the industry to manufacture better products, more convenient sizes in better packaging with better instructions of how to use the mixes. The soil and mix industry is looking closely at developing industry standards to protect the consumers from inferior or poor quality products. The future will include enhancement with biological products to enhance growth and minimize disease occurrence without the use of pesticides.

Traditional Lawn Care is Out. Organic Lawn Care is In

In the move toward organically based gardening, lawn care has up until now, been largely ignored. But that is changing, as the industry is learning that healthier, disease-free lawns begin with healthier soils. Lawn care specialists are waking up to the fact that green and lush lawns remain green and lush longer as a result of the health and disease-resistant benefits derived from organically based products. As industry continues to solve the issue of coverage areas, thus making organic products as cost effective as inorganic, healthier, green lawns will be the result of environmentally safe, organic fertilizers than in the past. And you’ll see more and more organic products being offered that will allow the average gardener quick and easy solutions to lawn and plant care.

Instant Gratification Is Out. Real Gardening Is In

When gardeners garden, it is not just plants that grow, but the gardeners themselves. A beginner is only a beginner that first time he or she buys a plant and digs a hole. After that, they're on their way to learning more and looking for reliable sources. The next trip to the nursery won't be to buy that same first plant, again, or even just to buy more plants. ‘Growing gardeners’ are looking for help, ideas -- information -- when to plant, how to plant, what's new, what's interesting? The gardening industry will have to look beyond the short-term goal of selling the first plant, tool or paving stone. Growers need to present new and unusual varieties to meet customers' growing appetites. Beginners may want instant results, but ‘growing gardeners’ have no trouble planning for the future. As gardeners grow, their involvement grows, they develop new areas of the garden, and they hope to find more ways to feed their interests. Gardeners are always looking towards the future, and the garden industry must, too.

Sloppy is Out. High Times – High Fashion Are In

America is about to launch into a high style trend that will dominate the fashion industry for at least a decade. Already, the nation has begun to dump The Hip-Hop style of dumb and baggy, the tortured look of tattoos, multi-piercing, and the fashion hoax that no matter what shape your body's in its hot and sexy to let it all hang out. This sense of style should, according to Tres Fromme of Longwood Gardens, translate in to the garden, with an increased interest in basic garden design. “I hope to see a movement toward more style, more basic design. The trick to having freedom in the garden is to understand the design process, to know how all the pieces fit together functionally. The more we learn about design, the more freedom it gives to be creative and ‘do your own thing’.”

If It Moves, It’s In

Anything in the garden that moves is likely to attract attention in the coming years, according to Michael Petrie. At recent garden trade shows, he said he saw a lot of things for the garden -- other than wind chimes. Some things are not particularly sophisticated, like a whirligig. Others are more attractive like a spinning spiral copper piece of sculpture or folk art. Hitting gardens big time are garden trains, a hobby that has quadrupled in the last five years. Morris Arboretum installed a garden railroad and saw membership triple. What’s so great about the hobby, according to the Garden Train Association ( is that it cross all age brackets and is a great family activity in the garden.

Blues Dominate 2003 Consumer Color Directions

The search for the perfect Blue yields four perfect directions for blues. Whether safe and grounded, watery or atmospheric, Forecast Blues invigorate and enliven consumer products while providing steadfast assurance and stability during cloudy economic times. For new found energy to lift our spirits and provoke our senses, there is a total shift to ‘establishment colors’. Look for new introductions from Simply Beautiful to reflect these trends including 2003 All-America Selections and Fleuroselect Gold Medal Winner Wave™ Blue spreading petunia, plus Simply Beautiful Double Wave™ Blue Vein.


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