Spring is here

Exotic plants and simple colors are popping up
Wednesday, April 7, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 6:12 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 15, 2008

It seems like green is in the air this time of year. Spring is a season of renewal, when flowers are in bloom and nature boasts beautiful colors. Before you dig out your gardening gloves and shovel, check out these trends that gardening experts forecast for spring 2004.

Garden Trends

Amy Craighead, manager at Columbia’s Superior Garden Center and Gift Shop, 3100 Old 63 S., says simple color schemes are “supposed to be the ‘in’ thing for this year.” To keep your gardens in this simple and chic manner, choose one color or a few colors in the same palette. Try 10 to 12 of the same plant: This keeps the garden from becoming overwhelming and is appealing to the eye.

Another trend Craighead has noticed is that her customers are buying tropical varieties to plant in their gardens, such as hibiscus and lantana flowers and the foliage Hawaiian Ti.

Dress your garden in red and yellow

Red is an appropriate color for spring, a season with love in the air, and this year, red will be a big color in spring gardens.

Mare-Anne Jarvela of The Old Farmer’s Almanac Gardener’s Companion gives gardeners some tips on new red varieties, including the Luna Red hibiscus. This flower, as well as other red flowers such as the Disco Red marigold were mentioned as two among the many red flowers that will be stealing the show.

“Red and yellow will dominate” in gardens this year, says Jim Groene of Groene Villa Lawn and Garden Equipment.

If you like native flowers, Joan Penno of Green Horizons Garden Center in Jefferson City says coreopsis, a lovely red-maroon or yellow wildflower, is a good option and has been popular in her store lately because it is low-maintenance.

Water Gardens

For an even more extravagant statement, try adding a fountain. Fountains with clean, simple lines instead of lots of ornate detailing will go nicely with the trendy monochromatic gardens this season. Jarvela says the fountain trend is popular because people are looking for something fun and creative to do with their gardens.

Water gardens can have different types of designs, she said.

According to Craighead, water gardening was a huge hit a few years ago, and it has started coming back.

Groene attributes this rise to water gardens’ “natural quality of peace of mind.”

Low maintenance gardening

For some lower-maintenance gardening and some color in your windowsills, try petunias that don’t need the dead heads removed. Good ones to look for are the Easy Wave and Double Wave series, according to the Gardener’s Companion.

Jarvela adds that hanging baskets are another good place to use these varieties.

Local nurseries like Superior Garden Center and Green Horizons Garden Center have sold a lot of trees. Both Craighead and Penno say this is a good time to plant them. Popular varieties include maple, ash, river birch, oak and dogwood.

Garden Fragrance

To add to the color and fragrance of your garden, try herbs mixed in with your garden or bouquets displayed in your home. The Gardener’s Companion lists Oriental Breeze basil as a great choice for bouquets because of its nice fragrance. For low hedges and flower beds, try Orange-Scented thyme.

Gardening magazines can be a great source for ideas on how to complete your spring gardening projects. Midwest Living, for example, includes articles in its April issue about the trend of lavish gardens and the move toward organic or “green” gardening.

Craighead agrees that organic gardening is becoming more popular. This includes things such as using fewer chemicals on plants and using biodegradable pots.

Groene says gardening can relieve some of the stresses we have in life. He says gardening is about people “getting back to basics and creating their own little worlds. There’s nothing like Mother Earth.”

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