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Imperfect gardening: Hot garden trends for 2018


Wildlife friendly tropical garden with birdbath earthenware.

Naturalistic planting

Every gardener knows the perfect garden is not attainable but we still strive for it.

There is evidence we might be moving away from such attitude and accepting the perfectly imperfect plants, not just for ourselves, but for healthy bio systems as well. The Japanese call it “wabi- sabi” – an appreciation of the imperfections in life.

“Applying the perfectly imperfect attitude to the garden, encourages an imitation of nature in a way that allows people to relax and appreciate humble imperfect forms, “examples such as not deadheading spent flowers, letting browned plants and seed pods stand over and being more tolerant of bugs, and giving up on the goal of a perfect lawn.


Changes such as using organic fertilizers rather than chemical and allowing flowering beneficial plants like butterfly weed, dandelions to grow which are becoming status symbols for conservation.

Related to “wabi-sabi” is mimicking nature as a guide to landscaping the garden. The term for it is naturalistic planting “ a trend that is growing among ‘ signature’ garden designers and home gardeners alike.

It involves looking at how plants function together, rather than just considering how they look together.

The theory is that if plants function well together as a community, they will also naturally look good together. Naturalistic planting mimic the way nature plants in spreading colonies that meet and often overlap into layers.

It is more casual and a looser look than the traditional tended and trimmed style but many gardener’ apparently like the side benefit of less maintenance.

Think Global, Plant local

In 2017, saw an upswing in planting regional ‘pollinators mixtures” which provide season long food, shelter and breeding grounds for a variety of pollinators native to one’s region.

Gardening For Wild Life

Garden practices that benefit pollinators (such as less chemical spraying, more bee and butterfly attracting plants, nearby water source etc) have become trendy in the last few years as people are getting the message that bee and butterfly pollinator populations are dwindling.

This trend will not only continue but expanding into other wildlife, including birds, beneficial insects, toads, frogs, lizards, turtles’.

I think most people draw the line at snakes. But people are not only looking at flowers to provide pollen and nectar, but also to trees and shrubs to provide berries and fruits along with sheltering habitats.

Native plants

The awareness of planting native plants is deepening. There is also more awareness of how our choices, such as plants, chemical use, and growing your own vegetable, affect not only our personal little piece of backyard heaven, but also the community and large picture.

You can’t get any more nature-y than planting native plants in a naturalistic way.

Campaign for native plants over ‘exotics’ have been hot for years, and interest is still growing. Besides leaning towards more native plants gardeners are “raising” bees and monarch butterflies (a dwindling species) so that cardinals and catbirds don’t eat them and paying closer attention to nature in the garden in general.

No matter what size garden you have- be it a small balcony or acres of land- 2018 is a great time to add more pollinator friendly varieties to your landscape.

The Return Of Annuals
We are seeing the return of old-fashioned annuals. A renewed interest in annual- flower species – ‘big bold, fragrant, old- fashioned species and varieties that can be easily grown from seeds not only for cutting but also for attracting pollinating and beneficial insects and birds.

Examples: sunflowers, nicotinia, sweet peas, moonflower, morning glory, gardenia, marigold.

Gardeners really seen to like their annuals old or new- in containers, especially ones that are already planted at purchase. They are interested in the ready- to – go pots to change out through all the season.

Indoors Gardens. Foliage Plant For Home And Office

After being out of favor for years, houseplants are making a come- back.

The idea of purifying indoor air- which many houseplants do apparently is a key factor for raising this renewed interest.

People are adding palms, ferns, orchids, philodendrons, and other leafy plants to both surround themselves with air-purifying plants and to help create a place indoors that is calm to relax.

The so- called “air plants” – tillandsias and other species that can live in the open air without soil- are also trendy again.
Garden As A Get- Away.

Low- maintenance gardening has gone from a trend to an established norm, but a new twist is how many gardeners now regard their gardens as a place to relax and unplug.

People are seeing their gardens as a place to disconnect from technology and reconnect with nature, with self-gardening for physical health, mental wellness, and stress relief.

The young upwardly mobile age group- is the most stressed generation yet. This age group is making mental health a top priority and looking for ways to balance mental and physical wellness- nature is the answer.

Active Space For All Ages

Turning gardens into multi-purpose spaces is a hot trend in 2018 and Meditation Spaces are some of the most popular options. Use flowing curves rather than straight lines to lend a sense of the natural grace to your garden, and consider Zen gardening techniques to add symmetry and poise to your planting.

Incorporate a peaceful spot such as a meditation bench, yoga space or even a small reflecting pool to turn your garden into restful sanctuary. There should be a play area for active kids as well as space for entertaining and socializing.


You can cultivate succulents. Not too long the gardening public environmentally thought of succulents as cactus and dismissed the entire category as too spiny or common. Today, its possible to cultivate any kind of succulent.

The plants like the same conditions you do: warmth, fresh air, sunlight, and dryness. Even potentially immense succulents stay small and manageable in pots, which are portable and can be moved and sheltered when the weather turns too hot, too cold, or too wet for their liking.

Hydroponics And Aquaponics

These may not be household words to home gardeners yet, but they soon will be. Simply put, hydroponics refers to growing plants in water.
Aquaponics is an intergraded system of fish, plants and water.

Both are growing in popularity- in commercial settings as well as among home gardeners, where smaller, affordable home systems are available.

Soil is not necessary for either method and the need for weeding and fertilizing is eliminated. These types of growing systems can produce a much large yield in a very small space.

Seeking Inspiration

Whatever you garden plans in 2018, there is a trend to help guide you to new and exciting opportunities. imagine touring both private and grand public gardens such as villas and palaces with like- mind travellers who share your passion for gardens design and nature.

Consider essential destinations such as the United kingdom, Ireland, France, Italy, South Africa, New Zealand. Or you can expand your interest to include- nature trips to biodiversity hotspots such as Cape Town, South Africa, Seychelles, or Costa Rica.

Not only will you have an experience of a lifetime, there is no better way to get inspiration than visiting world renowned gardens in person.

Each year incredible trips are planned specifically for garden enthusiasts and 2018 is sure to be a great year for of planning gardeners near and for when you return home to your own garden, you will see it with new eyes.

You will have discovered unique plants to grow and garden design ideas and surely have a garden project or two in mind to try.

If travelling abroad isn’t an option, you can experience the transformative power of gardens much closer to home, visit your local garden centers, horticultural research centers to see newest options, botanical gardens, local parks and conservation parks.

If none of them turn you green with envy, consider your own unique garden desires and start your own trend for others to love.

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Imperfect gardening
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