Sally Benson — November 14, 2016

grow 365 report

There’s no escaping it; gardening is in 24/7, 365. That’s the word from The Garden Media Group (GMG), which released its annual trends report, called “Grow 365.” The report identifies key elements in the changing industry, marketplace and society that, combined, propel us in the direction of healthy choices in lifestyle and in industry practices.

How? By paying attention to the rising tide of health-consciousness among U.S. consumers – in particular, younger generations who see the value of healthy living, both individually and globally. Just as consumers are more concerned about their own well-being, they’re equally concerned with the health of their environment. Combine those passions, and ornamental horticulture can claim its rightful place as a leader in the movement.

So what, really, is Grow 365? As the GMG states, “Demand for clean food, clean water, clean air, clean medicine and clean environments is dramatically shifting how people buy plants and products, and garden both inside and out [my emphasis]. Challenges to gardening outdoors – severe climate conditions, contaminated water, soil infertility and pests – make gardening indoors a growing opportunity.”

Here’s a much-abbreviated summary of how the GMG’s Grow 365 report identifies the gardening and environment trends, giving us a bit of insight into how the industry can capitalize on this wave of interest and concern.

“Peak Season” is viewed, essentially, as a year-round phenomenon. With climate change presenting challenges and the housing trend leaning toward smaller footprints (many domiciles lacking outside space), we’re moving gardening indoors. Ornamental, edible or medicinal, plants are finding homes inside homes.

“Wellness Hotspots” encourages us to find healthy living opportunities in natural settings. From “forest bathing” (soaking up the power and tranquility of treed spaces) to “soundscape ecology” (buffering the din of daily life with sound-softening plants) to “workplace wellness” through indoor plants, incorporating green into our lives improves our overall well-being.

“Tidy Gardens” speaks to the notion that less is more. Decluttering, as we’re told time and again, simplifies our lives. (For some of us, however, the act of decluttering can be daunting.)

“Clean Gardening” sounds like it’s related to “Tidy Gardens,” but it’s really about growing plants free of synthetic chemicals, as well as growing indoor plants without soil. Hydroponic and aquaponic gardening are all the rage.

“Uber-izing Gardening” does not mean that plants are driven around town by strangers, although we’d love to see that. Think of it as plant subscriptions, similar to meal-in-a-box programs like Blue Apron and Hello Fresh. The demand for personalized, curated collections – do it for me, rather than DIY – is an opportunity waiting to be seized.

“Buzz Off!” embraces natural pest control to prevent the spread of insect-borne diseases like Zika. Welcoming bug-eating bats and birds to the garden accompanies the inclusion of plants that naturally repel vectors of rather frightening maladies.

“Golden Age” celebrates the “metal of the moment” by incorporating metallic elements in the garden. That means accessories as well as plants that shimmer and shine – and not to worry about a fleeting fad. It’s said that the color gold, like its elemental namesake, has lasting value.

“Gardening Love” is the overarching sentiment that helped to create two major organizations, developed by industry pros to help grow a gardening culture. The National Initiative for Consumer Horticulture and Seed Your Future aim to grow both the hort industry and consumer participation in gardening – for the long run.

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