7 Top Gardening Trends for 2024 - Ritchie Feed & Seed Inc.

7 Top Gardening Trends for 2024

 Patrick Langston, All Things Home 

The top gardening trends for 2024 have something for everyone, including a special place for pollinators, drenching rainstorms and lovers of minimalism. Here are seven trends to help you plan your outdoor space.

Where have all the flowers gone?

I’m seeing a lot more vibrance in plants without flowers,” says Lana Doss, a gardening planner with Ritchie Feed & Seed. Instead of just traditional bright floral displays, homeowners are gravitating toward darker red and even purple-leaved plants as well as contrasting lime green, yellow or variegated foliage, often with textured leaves. These plants, which do typically flower briefly or subtly, fare well in shady areas that many brightly flowering plants don’t like and, when the colours are mixed, they create dramatic contrasts. Perennials like hostas and coral bells are available in an array of colours.

Pollinators in the spotlight

It’s no secret that pollinators are being hammered by the onslaught of climate change, habitat loss and disease. Without pollinators, crops are in serious trouble and so are we. Besides, the buzz of bees and the whirr of hummingbirds hard at work is one of the great pleasures of a summer afternoon. Nectar-rich plants like coneflowers, marigolds, cosmos, columbine and lavender provide food for pollinators and add a splash of colour to your garden, balcony or deck.

Drought resistance

Ottawa typically endures a dry spell each summer. Yarrow, hostas, ornamental grasses and sedum (often used for green roofs) are growing in popularity because they require minimal water and maintenance and add elegance and colour to your property.

top garden trends for 2024
A rain garden helps protect against flooding and pollution of waterways. Photo: depositphotos.com

Summer downpours

Intense summer rainfalls seem on the upswing, bringing soil erosion, flooding and pollution of waterways as rain courses over roofs, pavement and other contaminated surfaces. Rain gardens — using plants that don’t mind a good soaking such as native grasses, black-eyed Susans and some shrubs — absorb the excess water, including pollutants.

“It could be as simple as redirecting a downspout into a garden with river rocks and plants that can stay wet,” says Doss. For more information, check the City of Ottawa’s Rain Ready page, which includes rain gardens.

Going minimal

Too busy to spend all your spare time gardening? Go for minimalism, one of the top gardening trends for 2024. It demands less maintenance, gives your backyard a refined, contemporary look and creates a calming ambience — exactly what’s needed after a hectic day.

A simple colour palette, ornamental grasses and lots of uncluttered space typically characterize minimalist gardens. If you have room, anchor the space with a single tree, one that’s not too tall and has subtle colour or texture.

MORE: Environmentally friendly gardening is on the rise

Trees

As backyards have gotten smaller, so have their trees, according to Doss. She’s seen an increased demand for “urban” trees that grow no higher than 20 feet, yet offer shade and cool an outdoor space by releasing water vapour that brings down the temperature. Trees also sequester carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas. Look for trees like hornbeam, serviceberry and pagoda dogwood, but check with a nursery or a site like ecologyottawa.ca for recommendations on planting conditions.

Grow your own

Doss says climate change is really hitting home and that’s showing up in top gardening trends for 2024. “It all has an ecological component. I’ve seen more interest in using environmental methods in the past three years than in the last three decades.” That includes younger homeowners growing their own, nutritious organic food, a skill new to many of them because their parents didn’t garden.

Growing herbs, vegetables and fruit is astoundingly easy once you get the hang of it, and the maintenance (weeding, for example) is a relaxing, if endless, task. Check with your garden centre about soil, light and other conditions when choosing seeds and plants.