It’s late spring, and gardening season is in full swing! By now, lots of things are flowering, and lots more are getting ready to produce for the summer and fall months. Because lots of flowers are annual, it’s relatively easy to keep up with trends in a garden, since many plants have to be replaced every year; particularly if you live in an area with harsh winters. Other trends, you’ll choose because you love, and will continue to love for many years to come! For this week’s Fantasy Break, we’re taking a look at some of the 2017 gardening season’s freshest trends. Enjoy, and vote for your favorite in our poll!

1. Statement Plants

Raspberries in a pot

You’ve probably heard of or seen statement pots – big, beautiful urns with all kinds of flowers in them. The rule of thumb used to be “thrill, fill, spill” – i.e., you plant one plant in the center that grows tall (the “thrill”), shorter, bushier plants around the tall one (the “fill”), and yet another type around the perimeter of your pot that will trail over the sides (the “spill.”) This year, however, we’re doing statement plants in your large urns, which means filling the pot entirely with one big plant – especially an edible – for a low-maintenance patio beauty. Some suggestions: hydrangea, pomegranate, boxwood, berries, lemons. Imagine sitting on your porch and eating raspberries right out of the pot next to you! Yum!

This row of asparagus ferns is stunning!

2. Dwarf Shrubs

Dwarf hydrangea shrub

As houses are built on smaller and smaller lots, and people are downsizing their homes and garden spaces, dwarf shrubs are a great way to get that lush look, without all of the hassle of constant pruning! After all, if you only need a two-foot shrub, why plant something that grows to four feet and then spend the next twenty years cutting it back?! If you have a new garden you’re cultivating, or a small space to fill, dwarf shrubs are a great option. Plus, they look great as filler in the fronts of your larger flowerbeds that have taller plants toward the middle and back.

Dwarf roses – “Apricot Drift”

3. Color Chameleon Conifers

Photo courtesy of Monrovia.

Photo courtesy of Monrovia.

These are plants which change colors with the season! These definitely work best in climates with all four seasons. They start as spring and summery greens, then morph into a rainbow of hues in fall and winter – purples, maroons, silvers, coppery bronze, yellow, orange, and more. Some even display multiple colors on the same needles! Color-changer plants include certain varieties of juniper, arborvitae, pines, cypress, and more. Best of all, these types of plants require very little (or no) water once established, and are very low maintenance.

Andorra juniper throughout the year.

4. Naturalism

What is meant by “naturalism” or “naturalistic garden” is to use elements that you might find in Mother Nature’s gardens, rather than in hyper-curated or “planned” gardens. This means using boulders, overgrown hedges, and rocks for structure, rather than man-made structural elements like curbing, edging, fencing, and cement.

Notice the hedge as structure at the edge of the garden, and no real borders.

5. Lettuce in Your Flowerbeds

Lettuce planted in a criss-cross pattern with sweet alyssum.

This is the year to plant lettuce in your flowerbeds! Not only are edibles on the rise again for gardening this year, lettuce is pretty, low-maintenance if you have good drainage, and looks great planted in bold geometric patterns and interspersed with flowers. Southern Living recommends it as a “whimsical border.” Plus, you can make a delicious salad from it! Lettuce comes in a ton of different varieties, shapes, sizes, and colors, so it’s an extremely versatile edible statement!

Lettuce co-exists quite peacefully with tulips and other bulbs.

[polldaddy poll=9756446]


Emily Parker is a musician, writer, and avid reader who started Bucket List Book Reviews, the ‘1,001 Books to Read Before You Die’ project. For Sweatpants & Coffee, Emily hopes to inspire the reading of the classics by a whole new audience by only reviewing the really good stuff.

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