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Gardening Columns

Exotic flowering plants, such as this tibouchina,
are all the rage for 2007.

Garden Style 2007

First published on on January 4, 2007, by Suzanne DeJohn

As your official NGA regional reporter, I feel compelled to keep you abreast of the latest and greatest gardening trends. After all, those of us gardening in the Middle South region must set an example to the rest of the country by showcasing the hippest and most trendy plantings, right? I searched far and wide, and here's what I found.

The Color Marketing Group is an organization of professionals whose major focus is to identify the direction of color trends. Their forecast for 2007? Colors are "coming down to earth" and are driven by concern for the environment. "Green rules" -- green as it relates to earth-friendly products as well as the color. Green is the new red, white, and blue.* Other "In" colors are nature-inspired blues, neutrals (especially medium to dark browns -- "the colors of rock and stone and soil"), and rich, ethnic accents (especially deep reds and warm oranges).

Other sources generally agree that the trend is toward rich but elegant colors. Think burgundy with a hint of raspberry, as opposed to bright fuchsia. Seafoam-green (think spa) will also be a hit. Color names will reflect nature: black currant, plum brown, marine, emerald, coral, goldenrod, ginger.

Extending the Living Space
"Luxury landscaping" sums up the trend: outdoor fireplaces, media centers, water features, fancy grills, full-function bars, statues, and other garden art. Patios, gazebos, and pavilions will be furnished with elegant tables, chairs, and rugs, with decorative pillows strewn about. The trend spills over into the front yard, too, with homeowners expanding beyond broad expanses of lawn and simple border plantings to more sophisticated installments, such as courtyards and fountains. A few lonely pots of petunias just won't do.

Year-round outdoor living requires supplemental lighting, and manufacturers are ready, with a dazzling selection of decorative and task lighting. No more leaving last year's Halloween party lights to guide your way. You'll need spotlights to highlight architectural and garden features, low-voltage lights to illuminate pathways, and high-intensity lights over your grill so you know when your steak is done to perfection.

Adding Style
Benches are back in vogue. (Were they out?) Solar-powered fountains and birdbaths will be big. Oversized, unusually shaped, richly colored containers take center stage, nudging out plain terra cotta. Planters will overflow with lush tropical plants. Mandevilla, bougainvillea, brugmansia, passionflower, tibouchina, canna, and hibiscus will provide oversized blooms in luscious colors, complemented by the striking foliage of banana, agave, and palms. Fragrance will once again become a focus; gardens will be perfumed with the likes of jasmine, gardenia, heliotrope, stock, tuberose, and, of course, the heady scent of old-fashioned roses.

Of course if you're like me you won't necessarily change the essence of what you're doing in your garden and landscape. Most of us can't afford -- and may not want -- the fanciest outdoor bar or teak gazebo. But I may be enticed into spending a few extra dollars on an oversized tropical vine or particularly fragrant rose. And I'll smile when I hear that "green is in." We gardeners know that green is never, ever "out."

*Thomas L. Friedman, The New York Times, January 6, 2006: "Green: The New Red, White and Blue."

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