Garden Trends For 2008 All About Green

Before you start diggin' in learn more about some products and ideas that will make your yard, and you, environmentally friendly.


Garden for the greener good. "Thinking green" means a sustainable garden that needs little maintenance from you, relying on what Mother Nature delivers. To do that, look for tough plants like drought-tolerant Solcito zinnia by Simply Beautiful and disease-free Knock Out roses.

Chemically-needy yards are bad. Want your pet or child to play on a yard that's just been sprayed with a toxic chemical, even a product that stinks like rotten eggs? I bet not.

There are organic options that smell good. For example, Messina Wildlife Management offers a rosemary oil- and mint-based line of "stoppers" for deer, rabbits, moles, squirrels and even geese.

Buying local is in. Instead of paying for plants shipped hundreds of miles, buy locally at plant sales sponsored by local master gardeners. Companies like Pennsylvania-based Organic Mechanic Soil Company that substitutes locally made composts for Canadian peat and focuses its potting-soil distribution in the mid-Atlantic region so miles on the road are reduced.

Wasting water is out. Petite water pods and fountains are the economical and low-maintenance ways to enjoy a water feature in your yard. Big ponds that evaporate and take time to clean are passe.

Smart 'n' easy gardens are best. Plants that need minimum water and no chemicals are best for everyone. In '08, look for toughies like Hines Horticulture's new Black Flamingo perennial that grows outdoors or indoors. There's also the new "novice-proof" Thai Delight caladium collection that thrives in the poorest of conditions.

Corresponding color combos work. Instead of planting one basic color family, add foliage plants or succulents with variegated leaves as an accent. Let one or two of the colors in the variegated leaves pick up color from one of the other plants. Salsa Asian Jasmine is a new shade-loving variegated perennial red, orange, green, yellow and white that can play that role.

Square gardens are far from hip. Circular brick patios, curved walkways and statuary lead the eye around the garden room in a way that is much more visually stimulating than traditional boxy designs.

Lighted gardens are essential. People are out and about all hours, even in their yards. Stylish table lamps, fountains equipped with submersible lights and pathway lights are just some of the ways to illuminate outdoor spaces. Amish Country Gazebo makes it easy by offering an "electrical ready" option, meaning you can hang chandeliers or instantly plug-in outdoor floor lamps for immediate use.

Think birds and bees. You help restore balance to nature when you create shelter and feeding spots for birds. Place flowers in a container so bees, ladybugs and beneficial insects have fruit and nectar to eat. Simply Beautiful's new Aztec Dark Red verbena attracts hummingbirds while Star Plants' Grand Bleu caryopteris is a haven for bees and butterflies.
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