BY ANNIE HUSTON
Garden trends for 2021 will not exclusively center on the outdoors. Instead, they are migrating indoors and everywhere in between, like the balcony and window sill. The garden is now an active part of our lives and we spend time, energy and money beautifying it. Let this serve as a warning to start purchasing what you will need early in the season: we have good reason to believe there might be a rush to adopt plants, stock soil, and gather all the needed tools, containers, and other décor accents as soon as weather allows, which will more than likely lead to low availability and long wait times.
So many trends are ready to bloom this year! Some started last year and will expand with or without social distancing: they are here to stay as a new way of life and updated homeownership. The multi-generational interest in gardens, both inside and outside, may be the 2021 social link for families, neighbors, friends and co-workers.
Gardening in the yard is the best activity when the gym is temporarily closed. No need for a mask if we’re raking leaves out in the fresh air. Remember: 350-450 calories burned per hour when raking and bagging leaves, 200-400 when pulling weeds and planting flowers. It is easy to spend 3 to 4 hours over the weekend in the backyard, with or without company. Gardening is exercise for introverts but can easily be shared with others for efficiency and encouragement. Part exercise, part hobby, part creative outlet. Not all gardening is hard work when it comes to choosing plants, designing with containers and picking the last detail for the outdoor living room.
HOME OUTDOOR PLAYGROUND
All of us have had to stay home a lot more than we ever anticipated in the past year and we have found ways to make it fun and enjoyable. Our mental health perked up when we found outdoor activities in our backyard: we are Coloradans after all! We decorate our garden with bird feeders and birdbaths to help our feathery friends and give us the opportunity to take out our birdwatching binoculars.
Yoga mats are commonplace on the lawn or terrace with the support of our online classes. My neighbors have an extra-extended farm table to host dinners with the appropriate social distancing. Dogs have play dates like never before. Far from getting demoralized with the new normal, we are building our own playground, right there in the backyard. We now have a garden getaway.
For those without a backyard, balconies are perfect for a little corner of nature right outside the door. A miniature landscape where every detail counts and space has to be maximized is a great design challenge. Be mindful of the hot sun reflecting off the building, or the wind howling through plants. Bringing indoor plants out to the balcony is an easy project and will contribute to their overall health. Nothing like a summer vacation outside! Larger containers for annuals, perennials, dwarf shrubs, herbs and vegetables make the watering less demanding and fertilizing with a fish and seaweed plant food once a week will grace the balcony with a jungle.
ENCORE ET ENCORE HOUSE PLANTS
This is no longer a trend, but a lifestyle. There are so many beautiful textures and colors to work with. Take the Sansevieria, which has been reclassified in the genus Dracaena, and explore all the different varieties available now. If you have low light, that is, of course, your plant of choice. Pick a darker leaf (Whitney) or variegated (Golden Hahnii)), tall and thin blades (Fernwood) or short and twisty (Twisted Sisters), exotic (Gold Flame) or old fashioned (Laurentii), structural (Cylindrica) or unusual (Masoniana), and you will literally design with plants. Potted plants are now part of the furniture. No longer the monopoly of the millennials and their fascination of indoor plants, large statement house plants are now integral elements of interior design. Every room in the house can claim a plant, no matter the light, size and color scheme.
Succulents held the stage for many years as the favorite house plants. Tropicals are so lush looking that they are the epitome of a garden gateway. Enjoy them inside and transfer them to the outdoors for the warm season. Colocasia, Alocacia, and banana plants will go a long way in outdoor containers as center pieces and surrounded by blooming annuals.
WATER GARDENS/CUTTING GARDENS
News flash: small tropical plants can be grown just in water. Grab a glassware vase, throw some gravel in the bottom (or not), place a cutting in the water and watch it thrive. Go on vacation and do not worry about their care. Nothing prevents you from going all out and doing an arrangement with different cuttings. You end up with a bouquet arrangement that will never fade and wilt. The roots growing over time will become part of the display. Call it a water garden or plant propagation; no matter, it will delight your friends when they are at the receiving end. If you are lucky enough to have a fountain in your garden, delight yourself with a handful of water plants: throw in a couple of water lettuce or water hyacinths and watch them bob around. Who needs to go to the tropics?
Luxurious simplicity is the best description for this interior design style. It accommodates potted plants perfectly since light is an important part of the décor. Rich looking yet comfortable for a family, the linen and earthy furniture colors are perfect scenery for large plants. Natural materials envelop the home in a biophilic orangerie, welcoming the outdoor through wide windows. I picture an olive tree in a rustic terra cotta urn.
PANTONE COLORS FOR 2021
We all know what they are but it is worth repeating: Ultimate Gray and Illuminating, which translates into gray and warm yellow. Pantone calls it “a marriage of color conveying a message of strength and hopefulness that is both enduring and uplifting.” I call it brilliant. All plants will look good in a yellow toned container. All plants with yellow variegation are sublime: think Sansevieria Yellowstone, Croton Banana, Dracaena steudneri sol (my favorite plant of the week).
So let’s go and be trendy this year. It won’t take much and we’ll feel so good!!!