Garden trends of 2013

DUCHESS OF DIRT Leslie Cox can
DUCHESS OF DIRT Leslie Cox can't wait for the weather to improve so she can spend a lot of time in her garden.
— image credit: Photo by John Cox

Winter time is all about catching up on my reading but as January begins to slide into February I start getting antsy to be out working in the garden.

There are a few chores I can attend to but largely, it is still hands-off to be working right in the garden beds. Soil compaction is murderous to plants.

Frustrating for me as I really, really need to be working in my garden right now. This winter has not been too kind to us thus far.

Patience. Not something I have a lot of. I valiantly try to content myself with what I can be doing in the garden right now.

And with garden walkabouts, checking for new growth arising from the ground and what shrubs are beginning to form buds. Believe me, there is not much new life showing out here in Black Creek just yet.

Friends living in other parts of the Valley have snowdrops already in full flower. One even rubbed it in a bit by sending me a photo of one of her four Galanthus spp. in full regalia. (She has a new garden so her patch of snowdrops is just getting revved up.)

Hang on to your hat! My lament has been answered! I just discovered two snowdrops have finally broken ground. Yeah!

Admittedly, I have to thank a very industrious rufous-sided towhee for this discovery. It has been scratching around in that bed for seeds and bugs and is just the bulbs and their roots disgracefully exposed, I will confess.

But one of them has some green stem showing. It must have been just about ready to burst through the soil surface, even without the towhee's help.

Back indoors with a cup of tea to soothe the disappointment at the day's less-than-stellar display in our garden, I turn to looking at...or rather drooling over...pristine gardens laid out on glossy paper. Poor comfort, rather.

And then I happened on an article on garden trends. Hmmm, what are they saying is hot for 2013? Here's a list:

1. Nature Inspired - gardens may see more of a trend towards expressing such naturalistic scenes as meadows, wetlands and forests.

2. Massing is out, Inter-planted is in - mixed schemes are purported to be in this year with designers utilizing a richly woven tapestry of plants in an expression of ecological aesthetic.

3. Sustainability - this trend rolls over from previous years, but in a slightly new direction. It is not just enough to have an Earth-friendly, sustainable garden in all its wildness these days. The trend is being ramped up a notch to spill over into gardens with contemporary and traditional landscape designs.

4. Home-grown Gardening - this trend is also rolling over from the previous year. More and more gardeners are decreasing the size of their lawns, growing their own veggies and keeping chickens in their urban backyards. Good to know food security is still important to many people.

5. Low Maintenance - home-owner or corporate...less time, less money, less staff...all three of these are forcing us to look towards a garden that requires less maintenance on our part. And that is a shame. We all need to spend more time in our gardens because there is...

6. Romanticism in a Garden - as the global economy continues to teeter on the brink of a possible financial disaster, people are still turning to the garden to find relief from the stress in their lives. Where else does one find such emotionally soothing and spiritually uplifting experiences at a rock-bottom price?


Yeah, I need to be in my garden.

Leslie Cox co-owns Growing Concern Cottage Garden in Black Creek. Her website is at and her column appears every second Friday in the Record.

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