Thursday, May 5, 2016

Garden Musings, Solving a Mystery

For years as a garden writer and Master Gardener I attended annual seminars to keep up to date and learn about new plant introductions. These days I am considered a garden communicator, still going to a few seminars and couldn't be happier when a mystery is solved.
HGTV used to be the weekly highlight for many gardeners with programs on plants, how to's, garden tours and overall great ideas of inspiration. But then they dropped the 'G' and the shows became home renovations mostly. A couple of weeks ago I had the privilege of hearing Carson Arthur, an outdoor design and lifestyle expert explain what has changed.
Plants are losing the focal point in gardens, particularly perennials with the interest in garden rooms and landscape gardens that have mass plantings. My boomer generation of plant collecting with one or two of everything has evolved to less varieties and more of them.
There is more hardscaping than ever before which includes stone walls, use of different sizes of gravel, brick walkways, stamped concrete and pavers for patios.

Patio furniture to create an extension of the indoor entertaining  area sells very well. Outdoor kitchens are a big trend and decks and patios are getting bigger while the gardens are getting smaller. 
Here's an interesting tidbit; the usable space in a backyard can raise the selling price of a house by 10-15%.
Container plants appear to be the solution to messy, needy gardens and they are portable for filling in corners, empty spots or where some colour is needed.
Baby boomers have been the core of gardening but now they want less to care for and are investing in outdoor rooms for socializing. No surprise that many houses are having a sunroom added!
Generation X are those in their 40s-50s and they don't want a lifestyle of commuting to a cottage so are creating outdoor escapes with little to no lawn.
Another tidbit; for every $1 spent on landscaping a $1 comes back upon resale. 
Now we come to the young people in their 20s and 30s, the Millennials. Guess what? They want to garden; grow their own vegetables and herbs that will be fresh from soil to table and without pesticides. 
They're even turning to the boomers for advice and want their heirloom seeds.
Garden books and gardening television shows are not utilized because they use apps on their phone to help them plant their vegetable gardens. 
Vegetable Tree App
Most do not even watch television, they've become bloggers and use other social media to learn and share. Plants are sold on Kijiji.
The 'aha' moment that Carson Arthur shared for solving the mystery was that the 'G' from HGTV has become 'Google' the learning place of future gardening.
Are you changing the way you garden and possibly lean more on Google too than gardening books and magazines for knowhow and ideas?


  1. That would of been an interesting talk by Carson Arthur to hear. I certainly am simplifying the way I garden, hardly any annuals now, and perennials that are low maintenance. I certainly Google/search when I want to learn things. I still borrow gardening books from the library but don't add them to my own gardening book collection at home. I do watch the odd gardening shows on YouTube. What I'm not keen on are bloggers that tell you the 5 important things to know, the 10 best plants, showcase the perfect planter (when we all know it was staged and won't grow that way) and the ones that proclaim to be the experts in certain areas. I enjoy blogs where gardeners show what is happening in their gardens in a realistic way and share their experiences.

  2. I guess I don't remember too many shows on HGTV that were about flowers. I do remember a show where they dressed out folk's back and front yards and this one guy with a can of spray paint who always painted arcs on the grass to show where he wanted the shrubs and plants to go. I follow P Allen Smith in Arkansas, and he always has lost of super ideas for plants and gardening. I don't watch HGTV much anymore, simply because they are making shows with people just because of their name and not whether they have any actual talent or not. I guess I am more of a boomer than a gen X. Carson is on to something, daughter is super interested in gardening and she is in her 30's.

  3. Sounds about right. I have never had a large lawn either here or at the home where I raised my kids. We had a vegetable garden one year, but he baseball player was not impressed with losing territory. We didn't do it again. I believe that's the year that I realized that I had more variety at the Farmer's Market at reasonable prices without the work of a garden. Now I have a number of small flower garden areas and find myself wishing that I did not. Oh I like the look of them, but not the work of them. Very interesting discussion, Judith!

  4. I love to read it. Very interesting! I did not like the garden because always I got red bumps on my arms and face when I was gardening. Now we have created another garden, and we now have a lot of fun again. Lavender and white roses and hydrangea (very large ones). I grow flowers from seeds in large pots. Not much. But enough to be happy.

  5. Ah ha - now that makes such sense to me.

    I am relieved to know the youngest ones are "returning" to the gardening - else it disappears forever. My 17 year old niece told me yesterday that she wants to be an environmental scientist now - has a great teacher who has made a huge difference to her. My sister and I are happy for her, but secretly a little disappointed, as she wanted to be a Dematologist for years. Dang. BUT it's nice to know those young ones do care about the earth as much as they seem to!

    Interesting post, Judith, thank you. Hugs.

  6. I still watch programs that provide information on gardening, both flower and vegetable, such as P. Allen Smith's program. But I avoid the others on landscaping and "yard makeovers" because they seem to focus only on the expensive instant gratification methods. I'm retired and on a fixed income so I rely on seeds and plant sharing with my friends and neighbors as my mother did, and as I hope this new generation will too. I occasionally purchase plants but not too often or in quantity. English style cottage gardens and the memory of my mother's gardens inspire my efforts. I regularly read and enjoy your blog. Thanks for all your excellent writing.

  7. Such an interesting post, Judith! "Less varieties and more of each plant" is something I try to follow nowadays, because I find the result aesthetically pleasing and serene.
    I don't have much time for TV, I may look for information on the Internet, but the main ideas and knowledge come from my treasured garden books and magazines. :)
    Wishing you happy gardening and a sunny weekend! xx

  8. My youngest son and DIL, have a small backyard, but have a chicken coop and are growing a lot of veggies in big galvanized containers on their deck. They order just about everything from Amazon, too! I guess Google does make it so easy to find information on anything, but still like to ask questions at the gardening centers that I go to.
    Happy Mother's Day, Judith!

  9. Great post! On this side of the pond it's exactly the same, among the babyboomers like me there are still real gardeners, but slowly it goes downwards. The gardens of the middle group 40-60 years consist mainly of hardscaping and the younger ones are suddenly interested in healthy food, so they want a vegetable garden.
    You can find everything about plants, gardening on internet but I love my extensive collection of books. Furthermore, we have a television.....but I make my blogposts in the evening and I also like reading, so no time left for TV.
    Hope you have the same sunny days as we have at the moment.

  10. It's so very interesting and of relief to come to know that young people come back to gardening and love to grow by themselves their plants of vegetable and fruits, I know that, very very slowly, it's happening in Italy too ... as for learning on Google instead than on books, I have to admit that since I know you I've learned so many things about gardening, my dear friend, but sometimes on the web we can find even wrong advices, we have to find keen and prepared people ... I have to admit that I prefer to read books, maybe I'm not young enough {{smiles}} !

    Enjoy your day, my lovely Judith, may the sun of Joy always shine for you

    with love and esteem


  11. I have my gardening tapes from "A Gardener's Diary" from 20 yrs ago. I watch them all and know the words by heart now. And I won't give up my "Fine Gardening" magazine. Call me old fashioned. I love gardening and the way I do it. I don't like the new gardening shows on HGTV as it is all instant...not how a garden should be made. I am growing more vegetables these days, too!

  12. My garden is lawnless and has many seats for resting my old and weary bones.

  13. The 'tidbits' were interesting and I read some of them to my hubby. He has worked so hard this Spring on our landscaping. It looks SO much better now. Our shrubs and plants had gotten WAY too big because of our long growing season. It's nice to start over and choose things we like better than what we had. It's never ending though, isn't it? Hugs, Diane

  14. I stopped watching HGTV when they went with all those real estate shows instead of offering shows with real information. I use magazines and my gardening books, but I confess that Google is pretty good if you know your sources. We are Boomers with lots of perennials and fruit/berry trees/bushes, and we still put in a fairly large vegetable garden.

  15. This is a very interesting post. I miss the gardening shows, too. I used to love the show on PBS, the Victory Garden. I think it is still in production, it is not the same since the host passed away some years ago. He concentrated on vegetable gardens. To visit the garden centers here, one would think that gardening on all levels is an obsessive passion. My 41 year old daughter and Gen X-er gardens with passion, her way of decompressing at the end of a long day trying to solver her clients' gardening and tree problems. We do live in the Google Age and I must add the Pinterest has changed some of my habits too. I will, however, continue to stuff my center circle with plants and pretty flowers, hoping to create that beautiful English cottage garden on the dry plains of Colorado.

  16. I will have to sell to Millennials as we have loads of gardens....I can see the hardscape and landscape attraction of many now here, but I still love the garden. I still see too much lawn everywhere here too. Instead planting clover or small grasses are a good substitute....we have loads of clover in our back garden instead of grass...helps keep the rabbits away from my plants.

  17. Thanks for the interesting info, Judith! I'm a Millennial but my gardening skills leave much to be desired. I almost killed a tomato plant within a week of receiving it because I forgot to water it. Whoops! It's doing OK now.

  18. Interesting post Judith. I've noticed when young people with children move into our neighbourhood they remove hedges and shrubs and lay paving. It's really hard for wildlife. People I know who grow veggies are in the 40-60 age group. I imagine it varies from country to country depending on needs and lifestyle!

    Thank you.....enjoy your week!

  19. Interesting Judith. I am not a gardener, just flowers and herbs on the deck kind of person. But I've always dreamed of the lovely old-fashioned perennial gardens (with a gardener to go with it of course!). Nice to see young people interested in gardening.

  20. I was always encouraged from a young age by my parents and grandparents to take an interest in gardening, I do my best to now encourage the grand-children too.

    However, one of our children is thinking of having 'false grass' laid - many are also taking this more easy option. But is it really better?

    Wishing you a happy weekend

    All the best Jan

  21. Very interesting...when we were married in the early 1970s we grew most of our own with health issues, we want the smallest, least labor intensive garden around...we have a very small lawn and the rest low maintenance landscaping...

  22. It is so interesting to read about all the different age groups - I love my gardens. It is fascinating to me to reflect that in most houses we've ever chosen to live in (Asian ones aside) a major part of the decision was the English cottage garden (where there was one of everything!). We missed out on a vegetable garden, often living in rentals so I am pleased the next generations are showing an interest in gardening again but unfortunately they will have to learn from their grandparents, in this house at least!
    Enjoy your gardening this week!
    Wren x

  23. I found this really interesting Judith! I've only really got interested in gardening more when my Mom's plants came back home with me. She tried for many years to get me interested in gardening, but I just wasn't interested (and kids & pets were destroying my efforts!). I'm glad to see that the younger generation are interested in gardening again. I do use Google when I have a question on caring for plants, although I have quite a few gardening books that were my reference pre-computer. I love the outdoor rooms people create, but lack of funds is keeping me from creating one myself ;)

  24. I found this really interesting Judith! I've only really got interested in gardening more when my Mom's plants came back home with me. She tried for many years to get me interested in gardening, but I just wasn't interested (and kids & pets were destroying my efforts!). I'm glad to see that the younger generation are interested in gardening again. I do use Google when I have a question on caring for plants, although I have quite a few gardening books that were my reference pre-computer. I love the outdoor rooms people create, but lack of funds is keeping me from creating one myself ;)


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