From the INTERNATIONAL garden media:

These are a few trends being broadcast or published by the international gardening media for 2018. Some apply directly to our local conditions, whilst others are perhaps more focused on colder temperate climates in the Northern Hemisphere. It’s always interesting to see what the experts have to say about the New Year that lies ahead. Happy Gardening 2018!!!

One of the main overriding themes is for gardens to create an environment that provides pleasure for people. They should be a place where we can spend time feeling healthy and good about ourselves. Fresh air, sunshine and healthy diets are all components of the lifestyle ideal for the year 2018.

This includes growing food and sustainable plants in the garden to enhance healthy diets and eating plans.  Veganism is one of the fastest growing followings around the globe, whilst more and more people are becoming flexitarians (vegetarians who indulge the odd bit of meat to supplement protein intake). Growing salad leaves and sprouts along with traditional herbs and vegetables are going to become even more popular amongst suburban gardeners. Protein rich edible plants like beans, green peas, sweet corn, brussel sprouts, spinach and broccoli will be important for people who change their dietary habits. Interesting lesser known plants are likely to feature in future vegetable gardens – asparagus, lima beans, artichokes, chia and edamame are some of these.

Eating outdoors will be as much a part of the pleasures of the garden as the actual joy of growing your own food. More and more people will see the outdoor living area as an integral part of the relaxation space created by plants and being close to nature. Terms that are used to describe this are “be in the moment” and “alfresco living”. More fire pits, barbecue or braai areas and tables with chairs creating comfortable outdoor areas. Enjoy the therapeutic value of both gardening and being in the garden.

Another element of relaxing outdoors is creating a refuge for lesser life forms. Being aware of the birds and the bees, insects, amphibians and reptiles and accommodating them in your garden with welcome arms. More and more gardeners are embracing the very real importance of being conservationists as well as plant lovers. These are people that want to create an entire ecosystem in their own back yard. It certainly adds further interest and value to your immediate outdoors.

The healing value and air purifying ability of houseplants is also big news in 2018. More plants will be used for indoor decoration – especially tough, easy to grow leafy green plants. A classic example is Sansevieria trifasciata or snake plant which is reputed to assist with a better nights sleep. This plant is better known locally as mother-in-law’s tongue! So yes, be prepared for the green revolution entering bedrooms and living rooms in the months to come.

The Fashion colour for 2018 is VERDURE – described as being the colour of a mass of lush green vegetation.  Companion colours include berry purple, red wood, duck egg blue and foliage green. Purple is set to make a major impact in the colour stakes with edible fruits and vegetables in shades of purples being top of the pops. Egg plants and brinjals, purple cauliflowers and chillies along with blue berries and plums are set to shine both in the garden and in the kitchen. Duck egg blue will likely be the colour used for painting pots and garden structures this year – fences, gates, arbors etc.

The ancient Japanese concept of ‘Wabi –sabi’ which embraces imperfection and the acceptance of natural cycles in life and in the garden is said to be hip right now. Overgrown masses of perennials and shrubs, moss covered rocks and ornaments, rusty gates, metal statues and age weathered pots are all valued in this culture. It’s fashionable to encourage lots of natural elements in the garden all aging and decaying unabated. So be happy with moss and lichen adorning plants and paving around the place.

Overall everything seems to be pointing towards simple, organic values and earthy colours with natural processes being the order of the day. Longevity and the “acceptance of the way it is” in the garden versus pull everything out and let’s start afresh is the message for gardeners right now. Perhaps this is not a bad thing in these modern times where technological advances are so fast and rapid. Gardening creates balance and harmony in these hectic times.

From BLACKWOOD’S : GERALD SCHOFIELD’S local trending forecast – brief overview

There will be a major shift towards making gardening simpler and easier without compromising high standards and expectations. Real value and long lasting solutions will be paramount for most gardeners.