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Flowers, Fruits, and Frass

2022 gardening trends and emotional resilience

pollinator on oregano flower

With a new year comes new gardening trends we can all get excited about. Each year, predictions are made about types of plants, colors, containers and how we utilize them. Experts use last year’s gardening purchases to make these predictions.

Yet, in a world full of constant stress, this gardening columnist can make a prediction without using any data or spending trends: gardening will continue to grow as a therapeutic practice to ease the mind and soothe the body for people of all ages. Backyard and community gardens are more than cultivating tomatoes and onions for dinner but make you more emotionally resilient. Emotional resiliency helps you think more positively, become more spiritual, be more confident and have better relationships. All these benefits from engaging in gardening should make this hobby a practice for all. Whether, you have a community garden, a landscape, a plastic pot, an old strawberry bin just grow and it will make you happier.

This winter, watch less news and rather explore seed catalogs, read gardening books, plan your dream garden/landscape, follow nature blogs, buy houseplants and think about trees. In a few short months, one of my favorite flowering trees will sing. Despite, Saucer magnolia's large and spreading branches, the tree goes mostly unnoticed but in spring its beautiful song makes me feel hopeful, closer to nature, more confident, and closer to my family. Now with my plea to adopt gardening as a life trend, here are two of my gardening predictions of 2022:

  1. Herbs
    Home cooking and cottage foods have emphasized the need for fresh herbs. Recipes are using fresh herbs in larger amounts than ever before. Because of this, I grew and purchased more fresh herbs in recent years. Some gardeners grow herbs for the tiny little flowers that are coveted by pollinators. For instance, oregano is commonly used as a blooming perennial in a butterfly garden and an excellent tool to engage the senses in children. Did I mention they were super easy to grow? Start with planting oregano, chives and sweet marjoram plants in the landscape and seeds of basil, cilantro and parsley in a pot by the door.
  2. Native Shrubs
    Gardeners and non-gardeners are realizing native shrubs planted in the right place can do wonders for curb appeal, add to creating the backyard oasis and contribute to the wildlife of Illinois. These plants are just as easy to grow as our typical industry standbys like yews, barberry, boxwoods and arborvitae but have a greater influence on the ecosystem we live in. Read my blog 9 Illinois native shrubs for sun and shade. These native gems will provide the beauty you seek.

PHOTO CREDIT: Pollinator on oregano flower; Dennis Bowman, University of Illinois Extension

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Kelly Allsup is a Horticulture Educator for University of Illinois Extension serving Livingston, McLean and Woodford Counties. She meets the educational needs of her community, including local chapters of Master Gardener and Master Naturalist volunteers, through expertise in home horticulture and entomology. Her passion for ecologically-friendly gardening and all things plants makes her a dynamic speaker on topics that range from beneficial insects, growing vegetables and fruits, to urban trees.