When everything changed last year, and the world adapted, gardening did too … but very much for the better. Many people rediscover their gardens, and in a very short space of time, millions of new enthusiasts found that growing their own herbs and sowing their own seeds was not just practical, but also beneficial to their overall wellbeing.
With the newfound interest in gardening, Candide, the free gardening app that connects green lovers across South Africa, share their top 10 gardening trends.
- On the rise: Things are looking up in 2021, with raised beds being one of them. They look great, the fruits of your labour will be on display for all to see and you won’t break your back when planting, weeding or harvesting. And don’t just think classic rectangles…raised beds now come in all shapes, sizes and colours.
- Eat in: Lockdown led loads of us down the path of growing our food. From an explosion of planted pavements to homegrown harvests of spinach, tomatoes, peppers, fennel, brinjals, cucumbers, swiss chard, celery, lettuce, and green beans, families found deep satisfaction in this deeply pleasing activity.
- Less lawn more plants: There’s no one law for a lawn. Exciting alternatives range from gravel and pavers to hardy groundcover and water features. You can go the low maintenance route by planting a groundcover, applying mulch or building an inviting cobblestone patio, all the while staying eco-friendly. Because less grass helps you go green.
- Making your garden work: As work, home and classroom blurred into one, garden Zoom calls became common. This increased connectivity to nature has been the driving force behind the biophilic design, and as people return to their offices, there’s a big drive to include more natural elements in these environments. Surveys have shown that greener spaces mean happier workers, just another one of the therapeutic benefits of gardening.
- Contain yourself: Containers were once considered stomping ground for apartment dwellers, but even those with large lawns are discovering how versatile this style of potting is. You’ll find them on decks, stoeps, walkways and stairways and, because they’re so easy to move, you can mix, match and rearrange. They’re also awesome for growing exotic fruits like kumquats, dwarf avocados and bonsai olive trees, currently very popular choices.
- Less is more: You don’t need a huge space to make a big impact. By growing delicious treats like Micro Tom tomatoes, mini bell peppers, Baby Ball beets, cucamelon, Crunchkin pumpkins, miniature cucumbers, sprouts and microgreens, your tiny turf can yield a massive feast. Miniature house plants like orchids and succulents are trendy too. You can fit them anywhere; they won’t break the bank, and some will adapt wonderfully to larger terrariums.
- High rise habits: They might often be small, but balcony gardens are big. You can make the most of your space and embrace nature by going minimal, creating a wild oasis or anything in between. And you’ve got a range of choices, from hens and chicks (Sempervivum tectorum), forest bell-bush (Mackaya bella), geraniums, lobelias, dianthus, begonias, cineraria, clivias in a container and shade, Orange Jasmine (Murraya exotica) and jade plants (Crassula ovata).
- Go wild: The wilder your garden, the wilder its inhabitants, from chameleons to bees, birds, butterflies and frogs. Around the world, gardeners are leaving a patch unattended, planting wildflowers, single-flowering varieties or open flowers, and creating their own biodiverse havens. These perfectly imperfect spaces are also bee-friendly, meaning that you’ll naturally be contributing to Candide’s #PolliNationSA movement.
9.Waste not, want not: Conserving water is not just about being wise; it’s about being responsible. There are many ways to do this, and one of them is xeriscaping, a mouthful that comes from the Greek word for ‘dry’. This water-saving approach helps you analyse soil and figure out irrigation and maintenance methods. Then, you can plant appropriate succulents like haworthias, aloes, senecios, crassulas, cotyledons and gasterias.
- Houseplant heroes: During lockdown, houseplants became a big thing, particularly in makeshift home offices. Now no workspace is quite complete without a pot on the desk, and in most online meetings you’ll spot a tendril, a leaf or some kind of greenery popping onto the screen. So, while it’s probably wise to hide the fact that you’re in underwear from the waist down, make sure your plants are in full view.
The Candide survey also unearthed many other interesting facts:
- 68 per cent said that gardening was their therapy, favourite hobby or leisure activity ● 94 per cent believe more first-time gardeners will dig in during 2021 ● 89 per cent believe millennials will give gardening a try whilst 56 per cent believe Gen Z will too ● 49 per cent expected to see an uptake in different online services and purchasing options, 25 per cent thought plant swaps would increase too, and 23 per cent believed the same would be the case for readymade gardens ● 27 per cent will attempt growing their own food in 2021
The Candide app is one of the best places to follow and pick-up words of advice from a community with first-hand experience. There are posts for everyone from newbie green lovers as young as 12, to seasoned 70-somethings in their golden gardening days. Download the free app on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.