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About: Ronald Dean Moye

[Succulents Require Little Water and are an Increasingly Popular Choice for Landscapers. Here the Huntington Library Desert Garden.]
[Author: Pamla J. Eisenberg. Posted at Wikimedia Commons.]

Recent Trends in Landscaping and Gardening
By Ronald Moye

A certified professional horticulturist, I enjoy gardening both as a hobby and on a professional basis, engaging in freelance landscape design projects. I have been interested to see new trends emerge in horticulture recently, many of them related to increased conservation and environmental awareness. Prominent horticulture trends these past few years include blended gardens, biodegradable plant containers, native plants, and interactive landscaping elements.

Native plants have been gaining popularity for quite some time, not only for aesthetic reasons, but because they are uniquely adapted to the requirements of local climates. In Southern California, native shrubs and flowering plants are well suited to the natural drought cycles, requiring little watering and reducing energy consumption. Likewise, Midwestern native plants, such as the prairie drop seed and the black-eyed Susan, require less water and are more resistant to disease than many introduced species. Succulents are similarly seeing renewed gardener interest as plants with low water requirements that thrive even when home owners are away on lengthy vacations. Another trend I have noticed is increased planting of classic flowering plants and heirloom vegetables, providing a tasty and often unusually shaped and colored alternative to standard garden varieties.

The increased interactivity of modern gardens involves allowing wildlife into our landscapes, creating a harmony with the natural world. Indeed, some cutting-edge landscapes are specifically designed to create new habitats for local species. The blended garden concept involves integrating edible ornamentals, like strawberry plants and small fruit trees, into traditional flower gardens. Vegetables and herbs are also planted in with annuals, providing a garden environment with delicious tastes, colors, and scents. Some new varieties of hybrid herbs and vegetables are being specifically developed with decorative aspects in mind.

A final trend I’ve noticed has to do with plant containers, which have diversified beyond traditional ceramics. Biodegradable pots and containers now come streamlined, lightweight, and suitable for indoor and outdoor use. Recycled coconut husks are one recently developed material that is now widely used in garden pots of all sizes and shapes. With these innovative landscaping practices emerging, I am interested to see where the next decade will lead us in terms of garden function and design.

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