vertical garden

What’s Growing in the Garden?

Sue Hamilton
Sue Hamilton

By Elizabeth Davis

Sue Hamilton, director of UT Gardens in Knoxville and associate professor of horticulture, shares her top five gardening trends.

1. Marsala Color
Delta jazz creep myrtle
The 2015 Pantone color of the year is the shade of red wine and is found inside the home and out in the garden. The color follows a trend the last several years of darker foliage on plants such as the new Delta Jazz crepe myrtle with burgundy leaves.

2. Dwarf Edibles
multi-colored pepper plant
Edible gardening has overtaken ornamental gardening in popularity. Gardeners enjoy the nutritional quality of fruits and vegetables that liven up pots and plots with bright colors. New pepper plants are bred so that fruit grows on top instead of under leaves. The BrazelBerries brand includes a thornless dwarf raspberry.

3. Portable Containers
vertical garden
Gardeners who are not homeowners are known as “nonowners,” and they are at the front of a trend in flexibility of garden design and personalization. Examples include planters on wheels, small and whimsical plots like fairy gardens and vertical gardens growing on a wall.

4. Succulents
succulent variety
These plants are an update of the hens and chicks with a wide variety of sedum, echeveria and kalanchoe. They are easy to care for, low maintenance and come in a variety of colors and textures. This trend is attributable to California growers promoting drought-tolerant plants.

5. Narrow Trees
narrow evergreen tree
Stemming from the portable trend, narrow trees allow people with smaller garden spaces to have fruit trees and evergreens that do not take up as much room as regular-size trees. Oak, sweet gum, ironwood and sugar maple are other varieties now available in columnar shapes.

What’s Coming in 2016?
Vincas with bigger blossoms were planted in the trial gardens in Knoxville for the summer, meaning they most likely will be available for mass market in the next year or two. These Vincas come in many colors and are very showy.