Captivating Garden Trends

September 30, 2018

Captivating Garden Trends

Brian Minter on Garden Trends

Brian MinterI was delighted to hear Brian Minter say that “it can't just be a pretty plant anymore.” He said that plants need to add value to people's lives and the trend of ‘gardening with a purpose’ continues unabated.

He mentioned a number of purpose-driven values that connect plants with people:

  • Growing healthy food
  • Growing flavourings, like the popular mojito mint
  • Offering health and well-being benefits of spending time in green (and blue) spaces, whether indoors or out
  • Reducing the heat island effect
  • Regenerating soil
  • Creating pollinator habitats
  • Offering sensory connections: “smell is the most powerful sense we have.” (The gardenia fragrance really was intoxicating! See photo above.)

Of forest bathing (taking in the atmosphere of the forest), he said, “When you actually look and see, you’re in a whole different place.”

Karen Chapman on Creating Captivating Gardens

Karen Chapman, Garden DesignerKaren Chapman talked about garden design elements that “make people stop and look... and gardens that are experienced, not just observed.” Her goal is to design gardens that create a sense of peacefulness, well-being, and a connection to family and to nature.

Karen's design examples used light and shadow, movement and sound, portals, garden art and architectural fragments.

I found her language captivating:

  • “inviting interaction… engaging… mysterious… intriguing”
  • “a detail that catches our eye”
  • “makes us stop and look twice”
  • “invites us to look a little closer”
  • “suggests a story”
  • garden elements that “invite conversation and inquiry”
  • encourages us to get “caught up in the moment”
  • “engages the imagination”
  • “a childlike sense of fun”
  • “purely magic”

About a portal she said, “It drew me over. I had to go and look through those holes. It brought my focus down so I could see more clearly what I was looking at.” Like framing a picture, “it invites you to stop, to ignore ‘all of this’ and focus on what you see.”

Garden portal sculpture

About a kinetic sculpture that turns above water, reflecting and refracting light, she said: “It held me there for several minutes looking at how it changed.”

The gardens she showed us were “purely magic,” allowing me to forget my cares and be present in simple sensory enjoyment.

Joy in Nature

Brian's and Karen's talks at the 2018 CanWest Horticulture Show affirmed the importance of my Garden Activity Signs, since they spark joy by encouraging nature engagement. Likewise my teaching and writing about noticing nearby nature in our daily lives for the joy it can bring. 

You can download the 2019 trend report that Brian talked about from Garden Media Group. I did a happy dance when I found my deepest purpose represented: “Finding joy in nature will help save the environment, and in turn, save us.”

Joy in Nature Trend

I'm delighted to discover that my work fits into the exciting larger trend of gardens and nature capturing our attention and sparking joy!

Next time you look at a plant, garden, or nature scene, I invite you to notice what sparks joy for you

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