Monday, January 16, 2012

The Garden Media Group Trends Report: How Do We See into the Crystal Ball

The Garden Media Group has been spotting garden and outdoor living trends since 2001.  How do we predict these trends?

We begin by looking at consumer home and fashion trends on a global level to see how these fit in with gardening. Plus we follow what’s happening in American fashion, real estate and food industries. And, of course, we look at research to see what's hot in the garden now.

And we talk to lots of people -- those breeding and growing plants, garden center owners, garden editors, horticulture professors, researchers, and landscape designers. We know, for example, if a black plant is going to be trendy the following year by the number of requests we get from different magazines six to 12 months in advance.

Because we’ve been doing this for more than a decade, we connect dots, see patterns and spot trends coming on the horizon two or three years in advance.

Over the past 10 years, what trends has Garden Media Group spotted that have lasted?
We first started talking about outdoor living in 2001 when the backyard was just becoming the new living room – dining room – and kitchen. Now living outdoors is a lifestyle.

By 2002, 2003 we saw homeowners moving away from traditional gardening to decorating their yards, particularly with annuals in containers.

By 2004 we began to see the resurgence of the organic movement. Being “green” was gaining star power' and becoming 'eco-chic'. Leonardo Dicaprio was talking about the environment every chance he got and driving a Prius instead of a Hummer.

In 2005 we saw an uptick in growing your own veggies driven not by the economy but by foodies wanting great tasting veggies and herbs for cooking at home – and bragging to their friends that they grew it themselves.

By 2009, people were beginning to identify themselves as good stewards of mother nature, perrenials, particularly natives, were coming on strong.

By 2010 edibles were moving out of the vegetable garden and into the landscape.
What do you see as the big trend for 2012? 

"Gardening for the New Good Life” is our overriding theme which has evolved over the past few years. In our high tech, high stressed world, people are searching for balance and purpose. Research shows that by tapping into the power of plants we can find some peace and harmony and restore our mind and body.

We have seen for the last few years people aren’t just decorating the yard anymore. They actually are gardening with a purpose, whether it’s growing their own food, building a butterfly garden or creating a place to just sit and relax. And they are looking for the best way to garden with as little impact on the environment as possible.

The bottom line is: Plants are powerful. We really can’t live without them. They provide oxygen and filter VOCs from the air. They give us food and make our lives beautiful.

But even more than that, Harvard professor Edward O. Wilson in his famous book, Biophilia, says we are hardwired in our DNA to have an incredibly positive bond with nature. Plants play a vital role in our lives.

Plants are more than just a pretty face. They are vital for our health and well being. The more plants you have around you, the happier and healthier you are.

Ove the next year, we will be taking an indepth look at one trend a month and look at what is emerging as new trends for 2013. Follow us, and please add your comments and own insights.


carolyn mullet said...

Very insightful. As a designer, I'm glad we're moving beyond decorating. And thanks for reminding me about Biophilia. Very appropriate reading at this time.

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