Taking Your Gardening Dollar

A trendy wish list for 2017

These salvia came in inexpensive 4-packs from a benefit sale.

These salvia came in inexpensive 4-packs from a benefit sale.

Not having even looked at any of the usual predictions or surveys regarding general gardening behavior, here is my wishful thinking for the coming year:

More six-packs, fewer pricey branded pots
I am lucky enough to be able to order interesting new cultivars from the yearly sale our botanical gardens has—and they actually come in 4- and 6-packs for $4. Such packaging is becoming ever more rare. At the garden center, I know I’ll be seeing the usual 4.5-inch (sometimes already root-bound) pots of branded annuals for as much as $6-7. Sure, they have 6-packs, but they make sure they’re the most boring, has-been plants in the joint.


No more Plant Nite emails from Groupon
These are killing succulents for me. Most of the promotional shots show  fishbowl-type containers with lurid hues of colored sand layered below a few plants and maybe a couple of those rocks that have words on them. I’m assuming the wine must make these seem more attractive, because the women holding them look really happy.

Better solar lights
We have a set of six small traditionally powered spotlights that have been working well without incident for over ten years. We also have a set of eight really expensive solar lanterns that only work (for a while) if we remove and charge their panels for hours each day. I’ve given up on them, but most lighting experts I talk to agree that small solar units generally suck. The light isn’t that great even in optimal conditions.

More tall plants
Even though I’ve gotten rid of the enclosures that made these a necessity, I still love verticality. Unfortunately, everything keeps getting “dwarfed,” or “’lil’-ed.”

hydpanquickfire04More great hydrangeas
Breeders seem to have moved beyond the Endless Summer madness and are now offering some really beautiful hybrids in all the species. I have high hopes of my new ones, Paraplu and Quick Fire.

A video promoting the upcoming conference.

A video promoting the upcoming conference.

More gardening travel and gardening get-togethers
I have been slacking in recent years, but this year, I will be joining fellow bloggers in DC (in June) and welcoming garden writers to Buffalo when the GWA meets here in August. Hope to see some of you!

Posted by on January 17, 2017 at 9:34 am, in the category Taking Your Gardening Dollar.
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11 responses to “A trendy wish list for 2017”

  1. Eric S says:

    My impression is that the trend toward small/short plants comes from the reality that consumers buy whats in bloom at their garden center. Taller and larger plants, especially perennials but shrubs as well, are harder to transport and market during bloom. And those taller perennials often bloom later in the season when garden passions have cooled as summer really heats up.

  2. Susan Sweigert says:

    I hate the trend to short, short, shorten normally tall plants as well. I feel like a child again, in a magical place, when I look UP at the stems of Verbascum olympicum, and the sweet flowers of Nicotiana sylvestris are just at nose height. Tall plants also can be used to help create “rooms”, even on a smallish property like mine (0.11 acre lot).
    My feeling is that the “short” is driven by the need to be “tidy” all the time, and by people whose only experience of gardening was helping grandma put in a row of petunias or violas.

  3. Deborah Banks says:

    I also mourn the death of small and cheap perennial plants. Bluestone Perennials used to have 3 packs priced at about the same price as what they now ask for a single slightly larger plant. And now my favorite source for clematis, Brushwood, has gone to a gallon size for all their plants with a corresponding price doubling to approx $30 (depending on variety). What next? Will Schreiner’s stop having sales on irises? Will the Ithaca April garden fair end (gasp)?

  4. Ruth Rogers Clausen says:

    Cut off at the knees, short and dumpy (look at Teddy Bear sunflowers!) apparently suits some people. . .but NOT in my garden!

  5. Steve Yahl says:

    Interesting read. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Your article now has me thinking about a few things I’d like to have for my
    vegetable garden- like a 365 day growing season, more time to enjoy it and fewer weeds.

    Please check out my blog: http://www.ohiogardenblog.org. Don’t forget to leave a comment and/or subscribe. Thank you!

  6. Sandy Lentz says:

    Another reason might be that more folks who have very little space to garden in are deciding they want to try, and are looking for things that will fit.

  7. Martha says:

    What is with the demand for short plants? Has it been created by plant breeders introducing shorter and shorter hybrids? I sell natives and 2 feet is a short native. Still customers ask what I have that is shorter. (Geum triforum and Sedum ternatum) I suspect that they are planting these short short short plants in front of a McMansion.

  8. Pam/Digging says:

    See you at the DC Garden Bloggers Fling, Elizabeth!

  9. Eliz says:

    Well, I skimmed it. Good stuff. I think most gardeners are not even aware of these movements.”

  10. Ian Lumsden says:

    The hydrangea “Miss Saori” won the 2014 RHS Chelsea Flower Show here in the UK and has justified its award in my garden. It should appear somewhere in a trendy wish list. Chelsea is a very trendy place.

  11. Garden Rant Garden Rant says:

    Eliz, did you see Tony Spencer’s take-down of 2 recent trend reports, on either side of the Atlantic? I agree that trend reports are mostly bogus.