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  • Writer's pictureJulie Bare

2019 Garden Trends Report Presented by Katie Dubow

On Thursday May 9th, 2019 Women in Horticulture members had the pleasure of hearing Katie Dubow, Creative Director at Garden Media Group, present the 2019 Garden Trends Report. The event was hosted by The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society at their headquarters at 20th and Arch St. in Philadelphia.

Katie Dubow, Creative Director at Garden Media Group

Before the lecture began members were able to mingle and browse the shelves in the PHS McLean Library. As well as, enjoy the gorgeous outdoor planters brimming with foxgloves, lupines, allium, and Delphinium.

Before we dive into the content of the lecture, I want to give you some background on Katie Dubow and the Garden Media Group. Dubow is the author of the Garden Trends Report and she travels the world scouting and presenting garden trends to audiences from Italy to Chicago. Dubow is a guest host on QVC for Cottage Farms, judge at the Philadelphia Flower Show, the inaugural recipient of the Emergent Communicator Award from the Association of Garden Writers, vice-chair of the Pennsylvania Landscape and Nursery Association, and an awarded member of the 2018 Forty Under 40 from Greenhouse Production News. She lives in West Chester, PA with her husband, two daughters, one dog, and six chickens. You can follow her on Instagram and Twitter @KatieGMG and on Facebook at KatieGardenGirl. Garden Media Group (GMG) is a women-owned and run public relations firm specializing in the home and garden industry. This year they are celebrating their 30th year in business. GMG uses their expertise in brand awareness, PR campaigns, product launch, social media, and more to help their clients grow their business. They help garden centers figure out how to be profitable and relevant in today's climate. GMG has been publishing the Garden Trends Report for almost 20 years. Previous titles include, Outdoors is the New Living Room (2001), Gardening for the Birds and Bees (2008), and Gardening with a Purpose (2011). Their annual report is debuted at Cultivate in Columbus, Ohio. Cultivate is the largest all-industry trade show and conference for the horticulture industry, so naturally it is the perfect audience for GMG to present their report. They will be releasing their 2020 Garden Trends Report July 13-16, 2019 at Cultivate.

According to the GMG website, "In Garden Media Group’s 18th annual Garden Trends Report for 2019, Rooted Together, we fall back in love with the natural world. The report lists eight trends that inspire us to reconnect in an emotional and physical way with nature and shows how a new generation is banding together to save the planet." Dubow walked us through the eight trends, providing entertaining and enlightening commentary the whole time.

Dubow started off the presentation by explaining trends and how to use them. Some of the highlights from GMG's powerpoint about trends are: trends drive consumers and consumers drive sales; trends help retailers select plants, products or services consumers want - well in advance; trends make you the gatekeeper, influencer, and trend-setter. GMG works to identify a trend and thinks about how our industry can help it.

The tag line of Rooted Together is the future of gardening looks joyful! Gardening connects us to Mother Nature and is birthing the 'new environmentalist' who just may be the saving grace of the planet. Here is some preliminary information from the report to get you ready for the eight trends. "There is a new global reality. Each passing year is the hottest on record, insects are rapidly disappearing, and we are buried in our technology. For years it was all about "ME". People climbing the corporate ladder and putting "self-care" above all else. Now we are seeing the trend swing in another direction, toward "SHE", Mother Nature." Now people are looking to nature to find balance and peace. Beginning to connect again with nature has numerous personal and societal benefits. "Horticulture is essential to solve climate change, biodiversity loss, and urban ecosystem services." We are beginning to see that the future is positive!

People are moving from "self-care to Earth-care". Whether you are growing plants and gardening inside or outside, the benefits are real. We are seeing a swell in interest around sustainable gardening and native plants.

Trend 1: Indoor Generation

People are generally disconnected from nature however, people are craving interactions with nature. "We" (gardeners and people in the industry) all know the benefits of being in tune with nature. Studies show that 90% of Americans spend 22 hours a day inside! Children spend on average less than one hour per day outside! Americans are interested in health and wellness, but we are doing things like riding stationary bikes inside instead of getting outside. Over the years our culture has migrated from working on farms to working in offices.

Indoors is the new outdoors. Bringing nature inside with houseplants is very popular right now. There is scientific evidence that houseplants make us happier. A major buzz word right now with millennials is "plant parent". Pinterest searches for houseplants are up 90%, with terrariums, cactus, and tropicals leading the way.

Trend 2: Screen Age

We are addicted to technology. Spending too much time in front of a screen can cause physical and psychological problems. Mobile time for 0-8 year-olds has tripled since 2013 to 48 minutes a day. Adults spend 11 hours a day looking at screens and check their phones every 10 minutes! Gardening and connecting with nature can be a solution to these problems. Gardening teaches children patience, nurturing, responsibility, and healthy choices, not to mention how to care for the Earth. Try something simple to get kids interested in gardening. Plant seeds together and grow fruits and vegetables with kids. One idea to get kids engaged is to try growing an all purple garden.

Trend 3: Golden Hearts

All generations are uniting for good causes and to make the world a healthier, better place. The changes we have seen taking place in the environment and with policies are impacting people's engagement. Generation Z and Millennials have been given the nickname, "golden hearts". They have grown up learning about climate change and with the 24 hour news cycle. The Sierra Club says teens are selecting school brands based on their sustainability. Statistics are showing an increase in the amount that this age group volunteers as well.

Trend 4: Root to Stem

This is upcycling, zero-waster, conscious consumption, trying to reduce the amount of waste that is going to landfills. One-third of all food globally is wasted each year. Last year, Google saw a 700% increase in the search term Zero Waste. People are picking brands based on environmental and social reasons. Our expectations of brands are changing. Customers are more conscious and want products that create less waste. The Espoma Company, makers of organic fertilizers and other products, has begun using alternatives to plastic for their bags.

The EPA says that food is the largest waste in landfills, more than diapers, Styrofoam, and tires combined. A solution to this is to make soil, not waste! Composting reduces household waste by almost 40%.

Trend 5: Silence of the Insects

Beneficial insects are declining while invasive insects are thriving. A German study published last year shows that in the past 30 years the population of flying insects plunged by 75%. The UN warns 40% of pollinators, particularly bees and butterflies, risk global extinction. New invasive plants and insects are threatening our ecosystems, like the spotted lantern fly and allium leafminer. However we can use defensive gardening as a way of dealing with invasive species. We need to educate ourselves and use early detection and rapid response tactics. We also need to change our habits. We, as trend setters, need to encourage people to plant things because of the pollinators, not necessarily because it is a bigger, new and improved cultivar. 'Buglady' Suzanne Wainwright-Evans says to breed and buy plants for pollinators, not aesthetics. Plant more native trees and shrubs. White oak supports over 500 pollinators. Try to avoid pesticide use and consider adding a water feature for additional habitat. Margaret Roach suggests we intervene less, relax, and enjoy nature more.

Trend 6: RoboGardening

With the rapid decrease in insects and increase in human populations, the garden industry is going to rely on technology more in the years to come. GPS mapping, 3-D modeling, drones, devices that read weather and soil moisture, and battery powered or low emission equipment are examples of technology that is already widely used in our industry. Garden designers and arborists are using drones to get bird's eye views of landscapes and tree canopies. There are now Roombas for lawn mowing and weed wacking. Walmart has filed six patents for a robotic bee, that can do anything from identify pests attacking crops to spray pesticide to pollinate crops.

Trend 7: Moonstruck

Moon-phase gardening, an old idea popular in folklore, but now with new concepts and scientific ideas. Lunar planting is the belief that planting by the phases of the moon affect plant growth. This is also a design trend, using lighter colored plants (white flowers and silver foliage), night fragrant plants, and plants that attract nighttime pollinators. It's popular among people who entertain at night and people who work long hours and can only enjoy their garden by moonlight.

Trend 8: Get Minted

A mint green color scheme is the trend for home decor and the garden. It can pass as neutral and is a gender neutral color. The fact that mint is an actual plant too, is helpful to garden centers when marketing and creating displays.

The 2019 Garden Trends Report is available to download for free from GMG's website! I highly recommend downloading it and taking a look. It has almost been a month since the presentation and my brain is still churning over some of the things Katie presented. Stay tuned for the release of the 2020 Garden Trends Report. If you're interested in a sneak peak of 2020, check out this post from the GMG blog.

On behalf of all of the Women in Horticulture members we want to thank Katie Dubow for her passionate and very informative presentation! Katie is an engaging and funny presenter! I can see why she has been so successful in her career. Thank you to Garden Media Group for the work that they do to help advance our industry and for providing their Garden Trends Report to the public to download. Thank you to PHS for providing us with a great space to host this event!

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