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Written by Linda Langelo   

Gardening trends for 2013

This year the Color of the Year is designated as emerald. It is also the year with annual plants showing off tropical bright hues such as melon, tangerine, turquoise, guava and yellow.

If you like bold colors, 2013 is the year. Look for many of the new plant introductions to be in these fantastic colors.

For some of the new introductions there are two new Supertunias. One is Supertunia Picasso in pink with fabulous pink flowers and a compact mound with bright green foliage. The second is Supertunia Watermelon Charm, a vigorous grower that forms a nice mound and has a long season of growth. The flower has the deep rich color of the inside of a watermelon.

If you prefer Superbells, which have a smaller flower than Calibrachoa Superbells, Lemon Slice is a superior Superbells over others because of its performance and disease resistance. The flowers have a yellow/white pattern.

If you prefer the colors of Coleus, there is a new introduction called Solenostemon Keyston Kopper which has a copperish coloration. This annual tolerates some varying light conditions and has an upright habit.

The next biggest trend for 2013 is growing more edibles in our containers and doing it more vertically. Do you grow herbs, vegetables or berries in your containers? If not, this is the year to start. There are a variety of containers on the market that allow for longer periods between watering times. They are called “self-watering,” but you get the idea. It may be two weeks before the next time to water.

The colors of containers today are trending toward metallic and black. With the bold hues of annuals, I would choose black or some other earthy color.

Within this trend of edibles is a whole other aspect of this trend, which some say is not a trend at all. Here goes ... people are interested in foraging for food. They are called “wildcrafters,” “pickers” and “back to landers.” They wish to hunt for wild edibles.

This wild edible trend is one, in my humble opinion, which does not make any sense. Our urban cities, including Denver, are growing and growing, plus land developers are building on what used to be native landscapes with no end in sight. Where will we find the wild edibles? With the downturn in keeping our national parks open and even our open spaces open, what then? Will this “trend” turn things around?

Believe it or not, the next latest trend is rooftop gardening. Whether this is the roof of your garage, home or another building, it is simple and inexpensive to do.

Before you consider a rooftop garden, make sure you follow local ordinances, rental property rules or home owner association regulations. Then call a contractor or architect to be sure that the roof is able to hold the weight of a rooftop garden. Then start to choose your plants. Take into consideration that a rooftop garden will be windy and plan windbreaks. Also plan on it being hotter, so add lots of succulents into the design.

Rooftop gardens actually benefit the environment. They cool the temperature of the building below, thus reducing the cost of air conditioning and less pollution. Rooftop gardens also improve the quality of air by storing CO2, thus reducing the building’s ability to trap heat and contribute to global warming.

The next latest trend is sensory gardens, particularly gardens that show off texture in plants. In our area, we are talking about plants such as coneflower, torch lilies, cactus, coleus, succulents, lamb’s ears and grasses. By the way, these plants are also plants that have much lower water requirements. This brings me to the next permanent trend—reducing our water footprint.

Reducing our water usage means for some of us making radical changes with the plants in our landscapes. Colorado State University has a program that will assist you in making better plant selections. The program is called Plant® Select.

This is a program that tests several plants a year to be sure that these plants withstand our weather extremes in Colorado. Out of the several plants tested, only seven are selected for the Plant® Select program each year. There are brochures in your nearest Extension office.

If you have access to the Internet, then go to http://plantselect.org and search their plants directory. The website also lists nurseries where you may find those plants. Also remember to ask your local area greenhouses and nurseries to order these selections. Remember, you are the consumer. You drive the market.

Last but not least, if we could only know exactly what the weather trend is for the 2013 season, we would have it made. I can tell you that the Canadian Geese are flying north in huge flocks. So winter is over.

These snows may be considered spring snows, and after they are gone will we have a wet spring to follow? I certainly hope so. I would caution against over planting and overwatering. Make use of the container gardens. You have more control over the watering, the soil and the fertilizing. Good luck gardening in 2013!

For more information, visit www.ext.colostate.edu.

 

Holyoke Enterprise March 28, 2013