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Garden watch: Top 6 gardening trends for 2011

Jessica Padykula is a freelance writer and editor in Toronto, Canada covering a wide range of  topics for several online lifestyle publications. She is a regular contributor for SheKnows, covering travel, style, relationships, health and...

Latest, greatest gardening trends

Gardening season is around the corner, which means it’s almost time to get your hands dirty! But before you start planning your green space there are a few considerations when it comes to what you plant and how you plant it. We'd like to share some of the latest gardening trends to incorporate into your yard this year.

Spring garden

According to the Garden Media Group, which puts out a yearly trend report, there are several trends to watch for as you get out your green thumb and spruce up your gardening space this spring.

1Sustainable containers

No space? No problem! Container gardens are nothing new, but this year look for containers planted with perennials rather than annuals (which need to be replaced every year). Try daylilies, roses and ornamental grasses, which will re-bloom year after year, or opt for aromatic herbs (basil, rosemary) and add vegetables for a colorful, practical and tasty combination.

2Edible ornamentals

More and more gardeners will be focusing on plants that are not only beautiful but edible, too. That means more vegetables and small fruit-bearing shrubs like raspberries and blueberries. After all, who wouldn't want to grab a handful of delicious berries every time they head out into the garden? Mix things up by combining fruit and vegetable plants with grasses, small shrubs and flowers to create a colorful and sustainable space.

3Eco-scaping

The shift to a more eco-conscious approach to landscaping is something we'll be seeing more of this year. Rather than gardening only for aesthetics -- which is, of course, an important part of the process, novice and professionals alike will be using native plants -- greenery that is meant to grow in your state or part of the world, plants that use less water and don't require pesticides to grow well, and plants that attract wildlife and important pollinators such as bees and butterflies.

4Succulents

Drought-resistant succulents are shaping up as another big gardening trend this year. Not only can they thrive in a variety of conditions (making them virtually foolproof), they produce unusual and lovely flowers, come in a spectrum of shades from subtle to vibrant, and add interesting texture to gardens when mixed with other plants.

5Vertical gardening

Why stick to traditional gardens when you can go vertical? This year, gardens are growing "up" to save space and give a splash of green to walls and trellises. Vines, vegetables and other climbing plants will be used in a whole new way to create living walls (literally -- a wall brimming with plants), or simply new and interesting looks for backyard gardens.

6Indoor gardening

If you love your green space (like we do), then it probably makes sense to bring some of the outdoors in. Another trend picking up steam this year is increasing the number of houseplants, including plants that require some effort to keep looking great, such as orchids. Other options include ferns and palms, which can brighten up your home and even help clean the air.

More gardening tips

How to make compost

This how-to video by the nonprofit group Kitchen Gardeners International shows you step-by-step instructions for successful organic composting.

More on home gardening

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