By Steve Smith
I have spent countless hours researching “trends for 2020” but really they are just a continuation of what I have observed over the last five years.
They include: •Dirt is good for us. The Royal Horticulture Society says, “New findings have revealed that a soil bacteria known as mycobacterium vaccea is good for our immune systems, which could spark interest in mud pies next year.” I am not sure about “mud pies,” but at least we don’t have to be OCD about Johnny getting dirt on his hands. I have always preferred to garden without gloves. I get an emotional high putting my hands into a healthy bed of soil. It
becomes a therapeutically beneficial activity. •Gardeners are becoming more environmentally aware. When I was into the organic gardening movement in the early 1970s, I was considered crazy. Fast forward 50 years and “organic” has become mainstream. Home gardeners and even some areas of commercial farming are now embracing the age-old principles of good soil stewardship and the value of compost and integrated pest management. “No dig” and “no till” methods of planting are becoming popular. Along with growing our own organic food, we are also becoming increasingly aware of the importance of providing habitat for insects, bird, frogs and all that goes along with what we call “nature”. This gives me hope for the future.
•Messy can be good. Gardeners are beginning to realize they don’t need to control everything in the garden. Gardens that have neat and tidy lawns and shrubs that don’t touch each other can be sterile environments for attracting the birds and the bees. We are learning to let our plants grow together and go to seed and leaving the mess until spring so the fallen leaves can replenish the earth. This doesn’t mean that we let the blackberries, morning glory and horsetail take over the yard. •Creating secluded spaces. As builders continue to put bigger houses on ever-decreasing lots, homeowners are challenged to find creative ways to use their outdoor living areas. Vertical gardening continues to increase in popularity. •Incorporating fountains and ponds add a level of interest and often tranquility to the garden, and they attract birds, frogs and raccoons. I remember when I was 14 as the neighborhood yard boy, that almost every garden I worked in had some sort of water feature. It just goes to show that some things never go out of style.
•House plants are back in vogue. House plants improve your indoor living environment. They are a great way for younger generations to get back to nature and learn the basics of gardening and to allow older generations to still be surrounded by their beloved plants as they downsize their living conditions. The choices and sizes have never been more diverse, so think about adding living plants to your home. You will breathe better and probably have a more positive attitude toward life.
Finally, no matter what size your garden with a little effort you can make it your own special place to recharge your batteries or to fill your belly. With our current pace of life it has never been more important to spend time outside in our gardens. May it be your 2020 resolution to do just that.
Steve Smith owns Sunnyside Nursery in Marysville.
P.S. – Sunnyside will be hosting a free class – “Houseplants = Healthy Air” – Jan. 11 at 10 a.m. For details go to www.sunnysidenursery.net.