Gardening trends for 2021

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Balcony garden using a monochromatic colour scheme Image by alusruvi from PixabayBalcony garden using a monochromatic colour scheme Image by alusruvi from PixabayWith all the mayhem going on in the world today, more and more new gardeners are discovering the rewards and peace of mind that gardening brings, and seasoned gardeners are putting their skills to full use, while experimenting with new gardening techniques with great enthusiasm. Read all about the latest gardening trends below.

The colour trends for gardens in 2021 are monochromatic, meaning simply “Choose one colour and go for it!” It can be any colour, so select your favourite colour and use it throughout the garden, together with all its various hues to add interest. Tints are achieved by adding white, and shades and tones can also be achieved by adding a darker colour like grey or black, which can be incorporated in the colours of paving or painted surfaces as well as with other ornamentation like pots. For inspiration, search images of “monochromatic garden ideas” online.

No matter whether you wish to use a monochromatic colour scheme or not, my article: “Using colour effectively” in the garden gives simple tips on how to select and use colour well in the garden.

Even a small garden can have an oudoor lounge. Picture courtesy Garden WorldEven a small garden can have an oudoor lounge. Picture courtesy Garden WorldMore so than ever, in 2021 gardeners desire safe backyards which are private and beautiful, but also functional and sustainable. They are focusing on creating open-air living rooms with outdoor kitchens, lounge corners, and long dining tables, selecting stylish furniture which stands up to wind and weather and which captivates with its sophisticated design. Also, look out for trendy hanging chairs and hammocks. As with the indoor colour trends for 2021, the colour grey dominates, and the beauty of using grey is that it goes perfectly well with almost any colour, and especially with green.

People are shifting away from ‘dead’ landscapes filled with mulch and only plants for decoration to co-creating with nature. They may still want some grass for their children to play on, but they want the rest of the garden to include a variety of both edible and ornamental plants. Major concerns include eliminating the use of toxic chemicals and making the space safe for family, pets, and pollinators.

Spending more time at home has resulted in a resurge in the popularity of indoor pot plants, and houseplants have become the background of choice for virtual meetings. As people become aware that often the quality of the air inside their homes is more toxic than the air outdoors, and what a vital role plants play in cleaning the air indoors, the demand for indoor plants will continue to rise.

Raised beds are beautiful and practical. Picture courtesy Garden WorldRaised beds are beautiful and practical. Picture courtesy Garden WorldRaised beds are still a popular gardening trend because not only are they a pretty eye-catcher in the garden, but also because they are ‘back-friendly’ and can be used to grow almost anything from vegetables and flowers to small trees. If you own your property is is well worth investing in building permanent raised with bricks etc, but if you are renting, there are many beautiful ones available at retail outlets, not only in the classic rectangular shape, but also in many other shapes and colours. If you are the DIY type you can easily make your own raised beds at home which fit your garden to perfection.

Due to an increase in cooking at home and a growing concern about food scarcity, more and more people are starting their own kitchen gardens. And although raised beds are great, you don’t need raised beds in a dedicated vegetable garden to grow food at home, and gardeners are coming up with innovative ways of growing edibles in many places, including mixing edibles into existing ornamental beds and borders, growing them in containers, and even growing them vertically.

They are also growing plants that provide big yields in small spaces such as herbs, tomatoes, peas, beans, cucumbers, and more. It just takes a little creative thinking - a vertical or rooftop garden, along a driveway or down and alleyway, on a balcony or front porch, any spot that receives sufficient sunshine is a viable spot for growing vegetables. The keys to success are careful planning and making the most of what you’ve got.

Tomato 'Little Sicily' Picture courtesy Ball StraathofTomato 'Little Sicily' Picture courtesy Ball StraathofWhen growing edibles in pots, choose patio or dwarf varieties and shallow-rooted plants such as lettuce, radishes, garlic, and leeks. For containers, you can use almost anything that holds soil - from fabric grow bags to old metal wash buckets - as long as you provide good drainage, and remember that container plants need more water and feeding than those growing in the garden.

Herbs of all kinds are trending, but especially unusual herbs, so why not try ones like the real curry leaf tree, it grows beautifully in a pot or in the ground and smells and tastes like curry - perfect for all your Indian recipes. My advice is to start off by planting herbs which your family actually uses - you can always branch out later with more unusual ones. I am totally passionate about herbs, and my latest e-book “Growing Culinary Herbs in South Africa” covers everything you need to know about growing them, their health benefits and culinary uses, plus a whole lot more. Click here to order or read more.

Bee gardens are huge and gardeners worldwide are seeking out plants to attract them to their gardens. There are many plants to attract them and one of their favourites are herbs, so include them in your garden, together with a variety of flowering plants.

Container gardening is still trending hugely and continues to rise in popularity because anyone can do it, no matter the size of your space, and people are growing in smaller spaces like balconies and patios. Gardeners are also getting more creative with container combinations, and no matter whether you are planting flowers, succulents, trees, herbs or vegetables, you are encouraged to experiment. Try planting flowers with your vegetables for a pretty display - even a miniature fruit tree with a trailing groundcover around it can look stunning. And if you only have a window with a view to the outdoors, find ways to improve it by adding a hanging planter or a climbing vine - it’s amazing how only a few plants can lift your spirits and clean the air indoors.

Vertical wall bedroom garden. Image by Maciej Cieslak from PixabayVertical wall bedroom garden. Image by Maciej Cieslak from PixabayVertical gardening is here to stay, both indoors and outdoors, and especially in the cities where there is often a lack of space to plant. Gardeners are embracing this trend of ‘growing up’ and bringing more ‘green’ back into their cities or towns. Get creative and design your own vertical garden using whatever is available to you, or if you prefer, vertical gardening kits are available from retailers and online.

As the sustainable gardening movement continues to gain traction, gardeners are searching for information on how they can make their gardens more environmentally friendly by using organic gardening methods which include companion planting, and safer ways to deal with pests, diseases and weeds in the garden. Gardening in South Africa has always believed in these safer ways of gardening, because they just make common sense. In my vegetable and herb section on this website, and in my e-books: "Growing Vegetables in South Africa” and “Growing Culinary Herbs in South Africa” I include tips on companion planting and safer ways to deal with garden pests and diseases.

Part of this sustainable gardening trend also includes making your own compost – it’s better for the environment, your garden, and your wallet. There are various types of composting bins available to suit all lifestyles, so do some research to find the perfect system for your needs.

Vertical gardens are still trending in 2021 Picture courtesy Garden WorldVertical gardens are still trending in 2021 Picture courtesy Garden WorldMulching garden beds is also huge as it regulates soil temperature, thus preventing soil from drying out. It also suppresses weeds, adds nutrients to the soil, and prevents soil erosion. Click here to find my article on the ins and outs of mulching, and other frugal gardening tips.

Hydroponics is the technique of growing plants and edibles in water and many gardeners have embraced this technique with great success, but now Aquaponics has become a growing trend, especially with homesteaders. Aquaponics is a combination of Aqua culture and Hydroponics and refers to the simultaneous cultivation of crops combined with the breeding of fish in certain pools. Aquaponics is already successfully practiced in various German cities, and is also popular with the hobby fishing community.

In South Africa, water conservation should always be top of the list, and it is trendy to add more water-wise plants to our landscapes. Zoning plants according to their watering requirements is also trendy and frankly just common sense. Zoning is simply grouping plants together according to their watering requirements, grouping plants that need plenty of water away from those which require less, or no extra watering.

Adding sections of drought tolerant plants, which, once established can survive on local rainfall, will go a long way in conserving water. Collecting rainwater and re-directing water from downpipes into the garden will save you on water bills and adding a water tank to the garden is a wonderful investment. Click here to see my section on water-wise gardening.

Zoning drought tolerant plants. Picture courtesy Garden WorldZoning drought tolerant plants. Picture courtesy Garden WorldThe planting of indigenous plants, and especially those native to your region is becoming more and more trendy all over the world as gardeners realise the benefits of growing plants which thrive in their natural climate and rainfall, thereby reducing the need to water and spray, while attracting local wildlife to the garden. On this website you will find many gorgeous indigenous garden plants and trees which are sure to inspire you to plant indigenous.

This year we are encouraged to plant trees wherever we can, even if it’s in pot on a patio or balcony, not only for their beauty and ability to absorb CO2 and give off oxygen, but also to provide food and shelter for wildlife. And, when strategically planted, the shade trees provide can cool your home, saving energy and money. See my articles on selecting trees for your garden.

The planting of fruit trees is once again gaining popularity, together with new pruning techniques to keep the trees smaller, and old practices like espalier are once again gaining popularity. There are many innovative ways of shaping fruit trees to keep them smaller, and gardeners can even grow their own ‘fruit salad trees’ using simple grafting techniques. And if you learn the art of espalier you can utilise the perimeter walls around your property to grow fruit. This article will inspire you to take a fresh new look at your garden and the spaces available to you to grow your own fruit. Click here to read my free article “So you say you don’t have space to plant fruit trees?”

Apples are great for espalier. Image by Pixaline from PixabayApples are great for espalier. Image by Pixaline from PixabayDuring these trying times people are looking to save a buck wherever they can. Make the most of this time by researching sustainable living to meet your needs, save money, and help preserve the environment at the same time. Click here to read my free article on homesteading.

With the shift in staying home more, gardeners have figured out ways to learn and get their gardening ‘fix’ online, and they are also buying buy more plants etc. online. Knowledge is power, especially for gardeners, and taking time to plan your garden and to research each plant online before purchasing anything will save you a lot of time and money in the long run, and a good reason to sign up as a member of Gardening in South Africa.  My plant index and article section includes invaluable information for you and we keep on growing our information, so sign up today and grow with us.

There is nothing quite like gardening to bring joy and rewards in 2021