Friday, May 27, 2011 4:03 PM EDT
The Philadelphia International Flower Show is the go to place in North America to get a handle on gardening trends — indoors and out. This year the emerging trends I spotted have more to do with what’s going on inside than outside. Here’s my Top 5 trend alert:
Terrariums at The Philadelphia Flower Show
Terrariums are making a come-back in a big way. These updated glass-enclosed mini landscapes are natural tapestries composed of plants that love a humid environment. Terrariums were also popular at Terrain at Styers, a trendy new lifestyle retailer in near Philadelphia.
Here plants were in and under all kinds of glass enclosures — even clear glass globes that had previously enjoyed life as light fixtures were repurposed. I was smitten with beverage glasses turned upside down that were home to petite moisture loving plants like baby tears (Helxine soleirolii). This form of indoor garden is so popular that Terrain offers classes and workshops. For ideas on creating your own gardens under glass, check out these books:
Air Plants (Tillandsias)
Air planters, Michael McDowell
The vendor selling air plants at the Philadelphia Flower Show was swarmed with eager shoppers wanting to know more about these unique plants. When I visited Canada Blooms a couple of weeks later, it was the same story. The air plant booth was crowded and I couldn’t get near it. Air plants are perfect for people who want greenery with no commitments. These plants don’t need a pot and they don’t need soil. You can glue them to a piece of wood or anything solid. Or, for that matter, just sit them on a window sill. Air plants need filtered light and a dunking in water twice a week. Then, you just let them dry out and you are done!
A “Safe” Bouquet
Do you know where that bouquet of flowers you picked up at the grocery store came from? Bet you don’t. We are very conscious these days of where our produce originates and we all resolve to buy locally as much as possible. But, what about cut flowers? Chances are, the bouquet you admired on your kitchen
table this morning originated at a Colombian (or Nigerian) mega flower farm and was grown with mystery pesticides
tended by a worker covered head-to-toe in protective garb and literally wearing a gas mask and gloves.
We think nothing of handling and bringing these bouquets into our homes, displaying them on our dinner tables or giving them to a loved one. A recent article published in The Smithsonian called The Secrets Behind Your Flowers describes the scary origins of our blooms.
There are more earth-friendly alternatives. You can patronize a local grower, a farmer’s market or a floral designer who cares (Ecosystems in Toronto comes to mind). This fresh, safe flower trend is just waking up. I predict it will continue to pick up speed.
Vintage French Garden Furniture
French bistro inspiration at the Philadelphia International Flower Show
If you like old stuff, particularly stuff with a Parisian flare, your time (and mine) has come. Vintage garden furniture with a French influence is in — particularly little wrought iron and wire bistro sets. These little jewels can be tucked into a quiet corner of the garden or fit nicely on a small patio or balcony. A bottle of wine and what else do you need (maybe a good book)?
Vertical Expressions: Living Walls
Wall of colour at Canada Blooms, Living walls at Philadelphia International Flower Show
The new direction is up. At least that’s what everything is pointing to. For those with small spaces, vertical gardening is the way to go. If you are into edibles tomatoes, cucumbers, beans and squash can be trained to ramble on a fence or support. On a more decorative note, living walls were displayed at all the important garden shows. At Philly it was a massive green structure on pedestals. At Canada Blooms the wall was a colourful mosaic of kalanchoe blooms. These theatrical representations are designed to inspire and perhaps are too much to imitate, but you get the idea.