Keep it local
Buying plants and trees that support local harvesters is a growing trend, says Landscape Ontario’s Denis Flanagan, who links the shift to the popularity of the 100-mile diet, which involves eating only food grown within a 100- mile radius of where one lives. “Plants are now part of that eco-friendly movement,” Flanagan says. “When you buy local, you create jobs and help the environment. You travel less distance and leave a greener footprint.”
Look up, look way up
“It’s no longer called balcony gardening,” Flanagan says of the trend of creating gardens in the condo towers proliferating in cities across Canada. “Developers know that people want to have a patch of green even after they’ve downsized away from a home with landscaping and so are creating terraces with recessed beds in which people can plant.” Still, those terraces can be small and container gardening is emerging as another major trend. “I love container gardening because it’s portable,” says gardening expert Mark Cullen. “You can put the plant out on the terrace during the summer and then indoors during the winter and have a garden, essentially, all year round.”
Hit the road
If you love both gardening and travel, you’ll love gardening tourism, a niche area of the tourism industry that, according to Canada Blooms, is on the rise. TravelPress, a Canadian industry website, says that almost 27 million Canadians and Americans last year cited visiting Canadian gardens among the top 10 things they want to do on a holiday. Catering to the increased demand is the VIA Rail Garden Route, Canada’s first garden-only tourism program, which highlights 18 of the country’s most magnificent green spaces from Halifax to Vancouver.
The traditional rose garden is giving way to an herb garden – plants that satisfy several senses at once – and it’s young women that are pushing this trend, Cullen says. “They are planting them in containers and keeping them year-round in their kitchen as well as in their gardens,” he says, adding that the trend is easy to embrace for those not blessed with a green thumb. “It’s meant for culinary use,” Cullen adds. “But herbs also come in many varieties that are pleasing to look at.”
Harvest the rain
Recycling rainwater in barrels for irrigating lawns and garden is a long-standing gardening tradition. Increasingly, though, the trend is to take all that liquid bounty and turn it into an aesthetic feature while simultaneously reducing runoff damage. One way of doing so is to dig shallow basins into the landscape to collect rainwater and fill them with deep-rooted plants or grasses, preferably native varieties, which can handle the occasional drenching.