Gardening saw record growth in 2020 and experts expect many more people will be digging in the dirt again this spring. From “Victory” vegetable gardens to balcony containers, outdoor gathering spaces, and mood-lifting landscapes, gardening is providing an outlet during the pandemic.
Research conducted late last year found that 86% of homeowners plan to continue gardening in 2021. Nearly half of respondents say they’ll be planting more and expanding their garden spaces this spring. With all that expansion and enthusiasm comes the need for inspiration and advice.
Help for beginners
One source provides both inspiration and advice, with a goal of helping people feel more successful in their gardening endeavors. The National Garden Bureau was founded in 1920 in the wake of World War I, when an increasing number of suburbanites needed basic backyard gardening instruction. The nonprofit organization’s mission is to provide education to motivate people to enjoy plants, from indoor houseplants to outdoor gardens.
Try something new
How do they do it? One way is with their ‘Year of’ program. Each year the National Garden Bureau selects one annual, one perennial, one bulb crop, one edible and one shrub as their ‘Year of the’ crops. “Our ‘Year of’ program puts a spotlight on timely, interesting varieties,” says Diane Blazek, executive director of NGB. “Plants are chosen because they are popular, easy to grow, widely adaptable and versatile.”
One of the more popular picks for 2021 is The Year of the Sunflower. “If there was ever a time where we needed to add some sunshine to the world, it’s now,” adds Blazek. “Sunflowers add bright, cheery color to the garden, and they’re extremely easy to grow. They’re simple to start from seed, or you can purchase new potted varieties that promise multiple blooms throughout the season.” 2021 is also the Year of the Green Bean, Hardy Hibiscus, Hyacinth and Monarda.
A look into the future
“A big trend we’ve seen in our Future of Gardening survey is all about creating beautiful spaces,” says Blazek. “Planting sunflowers, hibiscus, hyacinth, monarda and other easy-to-grow flowers can help add color and curb appeal, but they also add natural beauty to outdoor gathering spaces, another COVID-19 world trend.” Food gardens are also hot, especially with newer gardeners. “History shows that when there’s a national crisis, there is an increased interest in edible gardening,” she says. “That’s why we’re including more info on growing vegetables.”
Learn from the experts
NGB’s members are horticulture experts who know gardening. The curated information the organization provides comes directly from those sources, offering new and experienced home gardeners advice they can count on to create great garden spaces. “The increased interest in gardening is great news,” adds Blazek. “Our goal as an industry is to keep people engaged in gardening even beyond this season. We feel an even greater need to provide quality information for new gardeners and exciting ideas for gardeners who want to take their experience to the next level. NGB is a great resource for everyone.”
New plants for 2021
A popular area of NGB’s website is the New Plants section. In addition to searching by name, visitors to NGB.com can search by plant category, type and height to find the perfect variety for their garden. NGB.com also provides inspiration for plant combinations, delicious new vegetable varieties and tips to keep plants thriving throughout the season.
Need more information or inspiration for your garden this year? Visit NGB.org.