According to the Washington Post's Scott Vogel and his well-chosen local sources, here's what's IN in 2006:
--Dwarf and unusual evergreens
--Foliage color - think caladiums, coleus and for the adventurous, alternanthera
--New varieties of petunias and hydrangeas for "all-season color"
--And the most interesting trend of all: MEN in the garden. We're told that "more and more men are finding a kind of tranquility" in the garden and "the trend threatens to become a full-fledged movement."
My comment: Let's see if enough men stop obsessing over and dumping toxins onto their lawns and become real gardeners to make a difference, environmentally speaking.
Now here's what's OUT in 2006:
--Rectangular and square gardens, in favor of "smooth, scalloped beds"
--Large shade trees, sadly, as fewer lots have room for them
--Ornamental grasses, which are "becoming passe, although if you went around Washington you'd be hard-pressed to say it's over"
My comments: See, guys, lawns aren't cool anymore, so get over it. More good news are English ivy's decline in popularity, and the growing preference for naturalistic design. The loss of large shade trees is a hot topic in my area and the conversation always ends with lots of head-shaking and no answers. The reference to ornamental grasses is a tad confusing and probably reflects designers being sick of them, although they're still loved by their clients and thus, they're all over town.
The article also offers some sound advice from Mark Viette of Andre Viette Nursery in Virginia, who's pretty philosophical about gardening failures and successes. "If it lives, it lives, and if it dies, it dies," and we shouldn't blame ourselves over it. "In the end, you must dig it up and throw it out, and do so without the slightest thought of beating yourself up." Excellent, but I'd go even farther in the spirit of Tough Love Gardening - possibly my theme for 2006 - to suggest ripping out plants that haven't actually died but have been on life support for longer than you'd like to remember.
[The photo is just in from family therapist-avid gardener Rebecca Weinberg in Tucson, Arizona.]