Diggin’ in: 2015 gardening trends are kind to the planet

Pollinator gardens benefit food crops and bring beauty — hummingbirds, bees and butterflies — to a garden.
Pollinator gardens benefit food crops and bring beauty — hummingbirds, bees and butterflies — to a garden. TNS

There is no wrong or right way to garden — only your way.

Your garden should reflect your personality, your style and your needs — and 2015’s gardening trends reflect that same philosophy.

“Now, more than ever, the garden is an extension of self,” says Susan McCoy, trend spotter and president of Garden Media Group, a gardening communications company. “What you cultivate and grow, either inside or out, reflects your personality and the healthy lifestyle you have chosen to live.”

In the 2015 trends report, McCoy adds that gardeners, as well as environmentally-conscious consumers, want to preserve the climate. Growing and buying organic and local food remains an important way to achieve that goal, but people are also taking it a step further with backyard chicken coops, beneficial beehives and even small goats in cities and suburbs.

One trend you may really like is the comeback of the common clothesline. Have you ever dried whites on a clothesline and then marveled at how pristine they look and how good they smell?

Trend spotters say that, in addition to clotheslines, goats and chickens, there’s a “bed head style” of gardening at play in 2015.

“Purposefully un-styled outdoor spaces are the result of intentionally working within the natural landscape,” McCoy explains. “This casual landscape style expresses an effortless personality with an ‘anything goes’ attitude.”

Thoughtful gardening

In 2015, gardeners will continue to grow more thoughtful and responsible in their plant selections, according to Diane M. Blazek, executive director of the National Garden Bureau (

“They are using more drought-tolerant plants that need less water, as well as disease-resistant plants that need less maintenance and products to combat diseases,” she says.

In 2015, gardeners can also expect to see more plants bred specifically for container gardens, especially among edibles, she adds. And multi-use plants will give gardeners more options to grow food in traditionally ornamental spots such as front yards, porches and balconies. Many of those multipurpose plants are All-America Selections like Lettuce Sandy, Eggplant Patio Baby and Pepper Pretty ‘N Sweet — all found on

Year of water

Rebekah Eastep, an environmental planner for the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission in Virginia says she hopes 2015 will also be the year of water — not watering, you understand, but waterways.

“Localities are working hard to reduce water pollution and to get our waterways back on track,” she says. “To do this, they need the help of citizens in each community. Gardening can do so much for reducing water pollution.”

Waterway-friendly gardening, she says, includes more flower beds and trees to soak up rainwater and filter pollutants, more native plants that thrive with less water and fertilizers, more rain barrels that catch runoff and provide free water, and more rain gardens and natural buffers that trap polluted runoff.

Roses still reign

Roses, once all the rage in gardens all on their own, now partner with other plants for lovely landscape looks. Experts note that many of the new hybrids are particularly fragrant, too.

“We see increased interest worldwide in planting roses in mixed gardens or landscape beds where the roses bloom amidst perennials and shrubs — a beautiful look, plus good for keeping roses naturally healthy and free of pests,” says rose expert Michael Marriott, senior rosarian of David Austin Roses in Shropshire, England, and the United States (

“Gardeners used to consider rose fragrance an extra treat, a bonus,” he adds. “That’s changed: Gardeners today expect a delicious fragrance when sniffing a rose, as much as they now expect repeat flowering all season.”

Maid Marion is a new English rose that meets all those expectations, according to Marriott. It produces pink fragrant flowers from early summer till frost, with a soft myrrh scent that becomes fruitier with a distinct clove character.

More thoughts

And aquaponics is on the rise, says Wendy Nicholson Iles, president of a Virginia nonprofit called Hampton Grows, which develops and plants community gardens throughout the southeastern part of the state (

Pollinator gardening is another trend gardening experts have highlighted. It involves using native ornamental grasses in containers as accents in garden beds and as turf replacements. In addition, ambitious and creative gardeners may explore edible mushroom gardening, using logs inoculated with edible mushrooms as an ornamental feature in their back yards.

Kathy Van Mullekom is the garden/home columnist for the Daily Press in Newport News, Va.