Gardening trends come and go, and garden designers can have strong convictions about why the latest style is absolutely the right thing to do, and why prior trends were wrong, unattractive or somehow ruinous. I'm guilty as charged: I've looked askance at marigolds, rolled my eyes at foundation plantings, declared garden rooms "so yesterday". I've been a garden fashionista. But no more. I appreciate everyone's love of plants and flowers and efforts to make a garden. An exuberant love of flowers can only lead to good things. Sedate, flamboyant, native, tropical, it's all glorious, isn't it?
Now, gardening practices are another story. Scientific, evidence-based ways to create sustainable gardens and landscapes do result in more gardening joy. A lovely garden has to start with the plant surviving the winter and mustn'tbe destroyed by bugs or wildlife. Plants have to get along with their neighbors. Claudia West and Thomas Ranier are doing exciting work in the area of functional plant systems to assure that whatever is planted in whatever environment has a strong chance to succeed. It's a new way of thinking about planting design, but I believe it's a game changer, not just a a trend. If you haven't heard about Claudia and Thomas, do check out "Planting in the Post-Wild World: Designing Plant Communities for Resilient Landscapes" (Timber Press, 2015).