By Jennifer E. Beaver
For 2011, gardening is the new black. It’s the trendy thing, the must-have skill, the proven conversation-starter. Gardening combines frugality with style, community with individuality, creativity with tradition.
And it goes with everything.
It seems that every new project includes a community garden, green roof or vertical planting on walls and fences. In front of offices and shops, skyscrapers and modest homes, no square footage is allowed to remain vacant. We festoon with pots, hanging containers, vines and groundcover.
So what’s this all mean to you?
Well, if you want to be a trendsetter, you can let everyone know you’re “in the know” by tossing around the vernacular. Instead of saying, “I planted a yellow flax in my parkway,” you’d comment, “Why yes– that is a Phormium Yellow Wave from Monrovia Plants.” If gardening is the new black, you’ll want everyone to know you’ve invested in the designer label.
But let’s take it in another direction. Embraceable trends trickle down and become affordable, available and accessible. Like the designer knock-off at Ross or Marshalls, world-class gardening products and knowledge are within our collective grasp.
We see it in the availability of items like the 4’x4’ raised bed gardening kit online at Home Depot for about $70. Less than two years ago, big box retailers didn’t carry such things. You had to build them yourself.
We see it in the accessibility of garden knowledge. Say, for example, that you want to learn how to design your landscape. Believe me when I tell you that you can spend lots of time and money on this and still not be happy with the result. But thanks to the popularity of gardening and the Long Beach Water Department, you can take a class in this– for free. Or perhaps all this brouhaha about saving water has you lusting for succulents. There’s a class for that, too. Just visit lbwater.org and click on “My H20.” From there, click on “Conservation Programs.” On the next screen, you’ll see a section on landscape classes.
We see it in the accessibility of good gardening practices. Thanks to the Los Angeles Department of Public Works, you can take a free class on composting and purchase bins at a discount. Our closest workshop site is Birney Elementary School in Wrigley at 710 W. Spring St. Check out smartgardening.com and click on “Workshops” to learn more.
Gardening is the new black. Wear it well.
Jennifer E. Beaver, a Wrigley resident, is a master gardener and author of Container Gardening for California.