Gardening trends Part one: The cost of Water

Gardening trends Part one: The cost of Water

What are the trends in modern gardening?

The dominant trends in gardening today revolve mostly around water, using less of it to be specific. This trend now informs the design and layout of modern gardens. It is not only changing the shape of gardens but also the plants and the materials that define them.

Throughout the developed world lawns areas are shrinking in size, whilst planted beds, courtyards, patios and paved areas are increasingly more popular as we demand more functionality and practicality from our gardens.

Further trends as a result see us looking for outdoor furniture, garden pots and funky off beat art to deck out these spaces.

The garden is changing and all this is being driven by one thing – water.

Twenty years ago the indigenous section in all nurseries was the smallest and least frequented. It was a place for the fundies and nerdy plant specialists. Today gardeners have an ‘indigenous consciousness and the floor space being given to these plants is much greater. This trend is creating a change in planting habits which is slowly changing the environment around us.

Planting indigenous is considered being ‘water wise’, and this more than anything encourages us to view plants differently. This trend is also linked very much to the price rather than the perceived scarcity of water. It is curious irony that the consumption and expenditure on bottled water increased to levels unknown in history whilst at the same time that we started turning off the garden tap.

It is important to know that not all indigenous plants are suitable for a water wise garden. We live in country with different climate zones. When it is raining in the Western Cape it is dry on the Eastern Seaboard.

The cost of water is changing gardens

There are indigenous plants that like to be dry in the winter as there are those that look their best during summer rainfall. Those plants will not be suitable for the gardener trying to save water in the Western Cape.

The secret to indigenous gardens is to plant those species that thrive in our local climate conditions and to mix them with those plants that have adapted throughout South Africa.

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