Four garden trends for 2019
By Niki Jabbour
After a rainy April, May has finally arrived and it’s time to think about getting our gardens, decks, and patios ready for summer. I’ve been busy cleaning up my vegetable and flower beds, sowing seeds, and prepping my containers for spring planting. To inspire you, I’ve gathered four of the biggest gardening trends you’ll be seeing at local greenhouses and nurseries this season.
Visit any nursery in the province and chances are very good that you’ll find a beautiful display of succulents. Succulents are incredibly popular plants with both indoor and outdoor gardeners for many reasons. First, there is the assortment of foliage shapes, colours and forms. These are very architectural plants, but they also are extremely easy to grow requiring little beyond a sunny to partially shaded site and infrequent watering.
I like to pick out a handful of different succulents in spring, planting them in a large shallow clay pot to display on my deck. Because these plants need well-drained soil, I use a cactus soil mix, not regular potting soil. Come autumn, that pot is brought indoors where I can enjoy it all winter long.
Growing food in small spaces
As more of us move to smaller homes, apartments or condos, it can be hard to find space to grow vegetables and herbs. The good news is that there are plenty of compact edibles perfect for containers and planters. Herbs are super easy to grow in pots on a sunny deck or patio – just make sure your containers have drainage holes. Plant your favourites like basil, parsley, thyme, rosemary, and cilantro.
As for veggies, stick to compact growing varieties of tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, and cucumbers, as well as leafy greens like lettuce, kale, arugula, and Swiss chard. Even bush beans and dwarf peas make excellent container crops. Boost your yield by mixing potting soil with compost (my ratio is 2/3 potting mix, 1/3 compost) in your containers.
Plan for pollinators
The interest in gardening for the bees and butterflies continues to grow with pollinator-friendly plants a hot item at garden centres. In small spaces, grow in raised beds or containers, or if you have ample space, mix and match shrubs, perennials, and annuals to attract and support the widest species of pollinators.
Good choices include shrubs like lilacs, ninebark, rugosa roses, and potentilla. When selecting perennials, try to include early, mid-season, and late flowering types. For spring, plant creeping phlox, perennial geraniums, spring flowering bulbs, catmint, and perennial alyssum. In summer, I like to grow coneflowers, yarrow, bee balm, and milkweed. For late blooming perennials, try Joe Pye weed, goldenrod, sneezeweed, aster, sedum and globe thistle.
A staycation garden
It seems as if we spend most of winter waiting for summer to arrive and when it does, we want to make sure we enjoy every moment! Because of this, homeowners are creating ‘staycation gardens’. These often have features like colourful, cozy furniture, outdoor lighting, areas for dining, fireplaces or pits, and structures like gazebos and pergolas.
Don’t forget the plants! If you tend to use your outdoor spaces mainly in the evening, choose plants with white or yellow blooms that reflect light and seem to glow at night, as well as those with flowers that open in the evening. Try moonflowers, white varieties of Nicotiana, snapdragons, begonias, phlox, or coneflowers.
Niki Jabbour is the author of three best-selling book and the host of The Weekend Gardener on News 95.7 FM. Find her at SavvyGardening.comand on social media.