Garden Trends for 2021: What Does Garden Media Group Say About the Great Reset

By Rachel Mueller, Marketing & Communications Coordinator

Each year, Garden Media Group puts together a Garden Trends Report for the upcoming year, which highlights major shifts and things to look for in the gardening, horticulture and nature areas of our life, especially those of us who work in these types of industries. With 2020 in our rearview mirror (but the events of the year still lingering in our minds), it’s safe to say that much of what we knew about the world is beginning to change. 

Here’s some of what they’re saying to watch for in 2021, which they’ve dubbed “The Great Reset.”

The Exodus

plants on window will
Succulents are a great choice for newer plant people.

Bigger cities like New York and Los Angeles, among others, were already seeing a number of urban dwellers leave for more affordable, mid-size cities, but the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have sped that up. With the shift to remote work for some corporations, leases for office spaces and construction projects for new buildings are being canceled. So what does this mean?

Mid-size cities and communities will thrive. Public spaces like parks and trails will be for day-to-day needs, not just for the occasional weekend outing. Remote employees who are permanently working from home will create office spaces and garden rooms, needing greenery and houseplants to bring nature indoors when they physically can’t be outdoors. Places that offer outdoor experiences, like botanical gardens, will be the hot spot for a while once the pandemic has officially subsided and people are vaccinated.  We’re gearing up to have a new outdoor summer exhibit at the Garden starting in May called Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea!

sculpture of priscilla the parrot fish sculpture - blue, orange and purple fish
Priscilla the Parrot Fish Sculpture in the Washed Ashore Exhibit

Backyard Aficionado

Speaking of the outdoors, 2020 saw a resurgence in new gardeners and plant enthusiasts. Stay-at-home orders (including Wisconsin’s own Safer-at-Home period) boosted the desire for people to find a way to get outside. According to this report, “16 million new gardeners [were picked up] during COVID-19, many of whom are 35.” Several of Wisconsin’s suppliers of seeds, plants and gardening items like Jung Seed, Dairyland Seed Company and more reported an incredible influx of orders, eventually making it difficult for anyone to purchase items for the 2020 growing season due to delays. But don’t worry, we put our orders in a while ago!

seeds in trays
The earliest we start our seeds is mid-January.

“Many of these suppliers are more prepared for the influx of orders compared to last year,” says Mark Konlock, Director of Horticulture. “Last spring was one of those really rare moments in the gardening industry, but I would still order your seeds and other supplies earlier than usual. That way you definitely won’t be waiting on your seeds to arrive.”

These new gardeners cared about growing food, as fears of shortages and supply line disruptions became more common. Garden Media Groups reports that “the term Victory Garden spiked on Google on April 5, 2020, reaching its all-time peak popularity as a search team.”

Reducing stress and focusing on health and wellness were also top of mind.

Tiny Plants

While gardening has once again become a hot trend, many newbies can get burnt out fast with the amount of work that a horticulture hobby can entail. That’s where miniature plants can help.

Siam tomato
Siam tomato PC: Ball Seed

Tiny veggies like mini Bell peppers, Micro Tom Tomatoes, Windowbox Mini Basil and more are the perfect option, along with herbs and other plants. They grow faster and can grow almost anywhere – “on windowsills, under glow lights, or under glass” – which is ideal for those that might be living in an apartment or in a place where space is limited. Check out a couple options for 2021 or a variety of other plants that work well indoors.

Co-Creating with Nature

The separation between nature and human space is breaking down in a good way. Ecological design is becoming more well-known and it’s clear that “nature” is no longer just the forests, deserts, oceans separate from our cities.

“Nature lives in our backyards, in our developments and parking lots or rooftops gardens – or it doesn’t live. That’s the reality,” says Claudia West, co-author of Planting in a Post Wild World.

trees in fall
Fall trees in the Garden.

West emphasizes that while we can’t manage the entire ecosystem, we can care for the ones in our own living spaces. One easy way to help the wildlife around you and your own home is to plant and care for big trees, which can be beneficial for a variety of species while also helping provide shade. We have a variety of trees and larger native plants around the Garden that are ideal to plant in your own backyard and community spaces. Make sure you come visit in the summer to take a look yourself.

Dim the Lights

The insect population is declining. A major cause is light pollution.

“White lights draw insects all night long, exhausting them and making them easy prey for bats and birds.”

While we need to turn on the lights at night to function as humans, there are a few things we can do to help alleviate this problem.

  • Replace white lights with softer, yellow LEDs instead. Insects aren’t as attracted to these and you’ll save on energy costs.
  • Use sensors on exterior lights so they only turn on due to motion. At the Garden, we use timers on our exterior lights around the building and in the parking lot.
  • Whenever you don’t need them, turn off the lights!

This was just a brief overview of the trends that Garden Media Group sees playing a big role this year. Check out their full report on their website for an even more in-depth look at how civilization is changing in reaction to our 2020 experience. Guess you could say that hindsight really is 20/20!