January 4, 2020
Denis FlanaganAs we leap into a new year, it’s always wise to collect your thoughts and do some planning for the year ahead. According to the Chinese zodiac, 2020 is the year of the rat. Legend has it that a wise rat was once competing in a race and spent most of the course riding on the back of an ox. Then, just before the finish line, the rat leapt off the ox and crossed the line in first place.

Before we get too far into our own rat race this year, now is the perfect time to be wise and reflect on the past and consider the future. According to Garden Media Group, the following are some of the the main trends in gardening which also happen to reflect our association’s own goals.

Green collar jobs

About 50 per cent of the world’s population live in cities. This number is expected to rise to 70 per cent by 2050. These expanding urban areas will place an importance on green infrastructure, including parks and the creation of recreational districts.

Garden spending is expected to reach $49.3 billion dollars by 2023. This urban growth will create a massive demand for green collar workers, and yet we all know that horticulture jobs already outnumber grads by 2 to 1. Today’s generation does not want the burden of massive student loans. We need to be think about diversifying education. Many careers in our profession require higher learning, but many green jobs require less education. We need to be more creative about how we train future generations. Are you providing on-the-job training? Have you considered using the Apprenticeship Program? Apprenticeship has been a big help in Europe.

Circular economy

Using nature as a template, minimizing waste, making the most out of resources and replacing planned obsolescence with restoration is forecasted to generate $4.5 trillion in new output by 2030. This new ethos is not just for dreamers anymore. Large corporations such as Unilever are jumping on the circular bandwagon. Its sustainable brands grew 40 per cent faster than the rest of its business. What products do you sell that could be circular instead of being trashed? Could this impact the number of products you sell? Would you focus on plants that provide multiple services to the environment?

Speaking of plants...

Vertical gardening will continue to be very popular for the next few years, ranging from a simple staghorn fern mounted in a recycled window frame, to a fully-irrigated herb wall integrated into an outdoor kitchen space. Talk about a houseplant revolution! The African violet generation will make way for a new breed of tropical plant fanciers that create dramatic architectural patio planters while at the same time realizing that our well being and moods can be enhanced by a well-planned interior planting plan.

It’s predicted that indigo will be the colour of the year in 2020. Plants such as hydrangea, lavender and salvia will be in demand. There’s no need to change your entire business model — just use the colour in marketing materials and on social media to promote the plants you already sell.

And for more trends in plants and the profession this year, be sure to pick up a copy of our Garden Inspiration magazine that will be distributed at Canada Blooms, March 13-22.
Denis Flanagan CLD
LO Manager of Membership and Public Relations