Tis’ the season for dreaded gardening trend articles

By Erin Schanen

The end of the year means some things are assured in the gardening world. Gardeners, already bored with the break they so craved in August, will turn to seed catalogs and start dreaming of next year’s plants. They’ll also forget the names of all the plants they skipped labeling because they swore they wouldn’t forget. And they’ll have to endure the dreaded “Garden trends for 2023” articles.

I’ve come across two such lists so far — one that is annually produced by a U.S. garden marketing firm and another produced by the UK’s Royal Horticultural Society. But the new year will ring in many more such lists and, worse yet, articles that study each item on them in excruciating detail.

There’s good reason for this. Garden writers are hard up for fresh ideas in the off season, and these trend lists are low hanging fruit. I know because I’ve written about them before and even commented on them for other desperate writers’ stories.

There are trends in gardening, but the very nature of a pastime that’s been called the slowest of the performing arts is that its trends take years to develop and even longer to see the effect of. Gardens take years to come to fruition and most gardeners don’t level their established yard and start over. Instead it’s a gradual shift that often happens without a conscious intent to change and certainly not to chase a trend.

To the surprise of absolutely no one, houseplants were a “trend” that made the RHS list. Turns out they also made the list last year and every year I can find going back to 2017. How can something that makes the list six years in a row be considered a trend?

Both trend lists also included apps and social media that are becoming more important to gardeners. It doesn’t take a crystal ball to come up with that one.

Almost anything that happens on a large scale in gardens across the country or the world is a result of gardeners adapting to the world around them, not a trend predicted by a gardening oracle.

Gardeners, and particularly those in drought-prone areas, are switching to water-wise gardening methods not because they read a trend report, but because they recognize that they can’t afford to continue gardening any other way in an increasingly climate-stressed planet.

If there’s one good thing about these trend predictions, it’s that garden centers probably pay some attention to them, so in that way they can become self-fulfilling prophecies. Perhaps instead of another year of houseplants on the list we could lobby for the addition of “less common but completely worthy perennial, shrub and tree varieties.” That would make gardeners very happy and give those garden writers something to talk about it.



Click Here to Send a Letter to the Editor

Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

125 E. Main St.
Port Washington, WI 53074
(262) 284-3494


User login