Irene Virag's Garden Party

I'm Irene Virag -- a writer, a gardener, a cancer survivor. I think ideas are like plants. They need nurturing to grow. And gardeners share both. So welcome to my blog. It’s all about what’s happening in my garden and beyond.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

What's IN, What's OUT

Traditionally, the New Year is a time for trend-spotting. What’s in and what’s out. Where we’ll be living and vacationing. What we’ll be eating and wearing and watching and otherwise doing with our hard-earned dollars. Well, gardens are no exceptions. But it takes an expert to go out on a limb – or at least a stem. My trend-spotter of choice is Suzi McCoy whose Pennsylvania-based Garden Media Group is always ahead of the botanical curve. Here’s her list with my two cents thrown in.

Outdoor Living is IN. Indoor Living is OUT.
I’m all for outdoor living. When I bought a new patio set a couple of summers ago I made sure the market umbrella and chair cushions were just the right shade of green so they didn’t clash with my just-painted house. I haven’t gone so far as to add a chandelier or working kitchen but I do have a leaky outdoor shower and my container plantings complement the color scheme.

Escape Gardens are IN. Everyday Gardens are OUT.
Which means that even if you can’t get the time off to fly to Turks and Cacos you can turn your garden into a tropical haven. Just add some banana plants or cannas or bougainvillea or hibiscus. Suzi suggests the Bahama Bay hibiscus collection featuring varieties in 12 colors that bloom from spring through fall. I’ll check them out this season. And for added inspiration, you should take a trip to the tropical garden at Farmingdale State University.

Streamlined Gardens are IN. Shabby Chic Gardens are OUT.
Down with kitsch and cute. When it comes to pots and plants, sleek and sophisticated will rule. Let’s hope.

Eco-Chic Gardens are IN. Chemical-Needy Gardens are OUT.
I’m a breast cancer survivor. Need I say more? Of course, my garden is organic.

Small Space Gardens are IN. Colossal Landscapes are OUT.
Everybody keeps talking about down-sizing and scaling back. But all I see in my neighborhood are monster houses swallowing the land. But in the garden, small is indeed BIG. Plant hybridizers make it easy with everything from tomatoes to roses that are just right for growing in containers. Even clematis has been brought down to size, thanks to Raymond Evison, who introduced his line of Patio Clematis a few years ago.

Larger-than-Life Accents are IN. Peek-a-Boo Accessories are OUT.
If small gardens are in, does it make sense to super-size the plants and pots?

Foliage is IN. Flowers-only are OUT.
Bring on the elephant ears and ornamental grasses. Suzi is touting Simply Beautiful’s Isolepis cernua Live Wire coming this spring.

Multi-tasking Gardens are IN. Time-consuming Gardens are OUT.
If you ask me multi-tasking is time-coming. It will be the downfall of civilization. On the other hand, if you can get a plant to do a little extra in the garden, well, that’s a good thing. So let your ruffle-leafed lettuce double as an edging plant in your perennial border and use chili peppers to spice up your containers.

Fancy Plants are IN. Basic Plants are OUT.
Suzi says to forget about classic cars and vintage wines. Luxury plants may be the next big collectible. I’m happy with my Toyota and I don’t down anything stronger than Starbucks triple lattes. She says to keep an eye out for plants like Deinanthe bifida Pink Kii.

Designer Veggies are IN. Store-Bought Veggies are OUT.
I’m not sure the world is ready for a Donna Karan tomato or a Ralph Lauren eggplant. But specialty vegetables like purple potatoes and chocolate peppers are certainly in vogue. Suzi likes the mild-flavored White Satin carrot from The Cook’s Garden and the Napa Tomato, a sweet-tasting grape variety from W.Atleee Burpee.

Masses of Color are IN. Colorless Masses are OUT.
What’s to argue?

24-hour Gardens are IN. Day-only Gardens are OUT.
It’s a nice thought but I sleep during the night. Of course, I do have moon flowers.

In or out, up or down, it’s up to you. Whatever trends you embrace, just keep gardening.


Blogger Where fibers meet mud said...

You may sleep at night but some night owls read about gardening at night... of course I have been known to garden by light of a latern!

1/03/2007 12:48 AM  
Anonymous sarah said...

Trends in the garden -- interesting. I agree about multi-tasking but maybe it's alright here!

1/06/2007 5:44 AM  
Blogger Irene Virag said...

Dear Fibers...
You sound like a gardener I'd love to chat with. Why don't you drop me an email.

1/07/2007 8:52 AM  
Anonymous Maureen said...

I predict all things edible will rule in 2007. Lucky for me I have an edible nursery! If any of you want a special edible you can't find, please let me know and I'll try to propagate it. Although I'm located in Northern California, I ship all over U.S. (even citrus plants to Wyoming--now there's an optimistic gardener.

I'd love to offer a contorted jujube I saw last summer in Califoronia's Central Valley. If any of you know of any sources, please let me know. It was the most beautiful shrub I've ever seen, and the fresh jujubes were better than Pink Lady apples.

1/18/2007 10:12 AM  
Anonymous Steve Nowotarski said...

So glad to see your top res. is to grow more dahlias!! This year starting a "grow organic" section of my dahlia exhibition garden will keep you advised. Also doing a section of Planting Fields dahlia garden "the organic way"
Check my web site for some great low growing(no stake required) dahlias.

1/23/2007 7:36 AM  

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