The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

April 27, 2013

Garden trends change

By Louise Milacek
Enid News and Eagle

ENID, Okla. — Researchers are always conducting studies to learn about the latest gardening trends.

The first trend shows we’re getting a little more eco-conscious and gardening less for our own pleasure. I don’t know if this is true. Sure, we appreciate helping out our environment, but most gardeners I know garden because they enjoy it. We like being outdoors getting our hands dirty and watching things grow.

The second trend is we are thinking more about using native plants, which is good for the environment. Plants that do well in our soil and climate make gardening easier and more successful. People are growing more of their own food and buying from local farmers markets. The sure way to know what you’re feeding your family is to grow it yourself. Hardly a new idea.

Gardening for the birds and bees is another trend. Homeowners can attract colorful birds, butterflies and other wildlife to the garden by providing simple necessities: food, water, and shelter. Small trees, grasses, and shrubs are planted for shelter as well as providing berries and seed heads for wildlife.

Water in the garden is in and wasting water is out. Fresh water is essential to all wildlife. Most animals need water to drink and bathe, but fish and amphibians need water to complete their life cycle. Water sources could include a natural stream, birdbath, small pond or recirculating stream

Chemically needy gardening is out, while eco-friendly gardening is in. We all agree conserving water, gardening for birds, bees and butterflies and using less toxic solutions are good. These trends just make common sense, something most gardeners have in good supply.

Corresponding  color combinations are popular now as opposed to complementary color combos. I don’t pay much attention to color schemes in my gardens. I have more of a color mix and try to repeat colors throughout the gardens to bring unity and balance. Same color plants are popular with some gardeners, as is the two-color palette.

High maintenance gardens are out, and smart and easy gardens are in. More and more, with the summers we have been experiencing, I am planting more of the workhorses of the garden: the plants that are native to our area and the ones that can take the heat and wind. “Best Garden Plants for Oklahoma” by Steve Owens and Laura Peters and “Oklahoma Gardener’s Guide” by Steve Dobbs are good resource books to check out.

Square gardens are out and curvaceous are in. At our house we have both.  The flower garden beds are curvy, while the vegetable plot is a rectangle.

Well-lit gardens are in and in the dark gardens are out.  Lighting is a practical way to brighten walkways and steps for safe and pleasant strolling. Many wonderful fixtures are available that will complement and illuminate plants and garden structures for evening enjoyment.

Think about incorporating one of these trends in your garden this year.

Milacek is a member of Garfield County Master Gardeners.