K-State Research and Extension News
February 04, 2010
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Gardening Trends for 2010: ‘Smart and Green’

LAWRENCE, Kan. – Jennifer Smith starts each new year raking around and digging up what’s likely to be “hot” in landscapes and gardens during the months ahead.

“We’ve always got a few new plant releases and a few new tools for every growing season. One or two items may gain popularity through an infomercial. This year’s trends, however, are also indicating some real culture shifts,” said Smith, horticulturist with Kansas State University Research and Extension.

Her predictions for what will be “in” in 2010 include:

1.  More fruits and veggies -- even if that requires adding some edibles to existing landscape beds, planting them instead of annual flowers, or plowing up and gardening part of the lawn. Fresh-picked taste, money saved, self-satisfaction and food safety will all drive this on-going change.

Spurring it along will be last year’s upside-down tomato planter, as well as Topsy Turvy containers for strawberries, hot peppers, and a combination of tomatoes and herbs. To help gardeners grow lettuce and basil year-round in their home, the market will be offering tiny indoor gardens with their own grow light.

2. More green – a rapidly building trend toward more eco-friendly yards, which this year will bring more containers made from recycled materials, more electric-powered equipment, and more native or near-native plants that need few to no chemicals to thrive.

3. More gadgets – tools for today’s technology junkies, ranging from robotic lawn mowers to gardening applications for smartphones.

4. Tropical foliage plants in the landscape – which in Kansas may mean moving houseplants outdoors for summer, using tropicals as annual plants, and/or planting more tender bulbs (e.g., giant elephant ears, caladiums, calla lilies).

5. Moving-water sounds without pond maintenance -- bubbling fountains and/or pondless waterfalls. The fountains will also provide water to attract pest-controlling songbirds.

6. Smarter irrigation controls – whether person- or technology-driven. For the latter, weather stations that work with irrigation systems are becoming both smaller and more affordable.


K-State Research and Extension is a short name for the Kansas State University Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension Service, a program designed to generate and distribute useful knowledge for the well-being of Kansans. Supported by county, state, federal and private funds, the program has county Extension offices, experiment fields, area Extension offices and regional research centers statewide. Its headquarters is on the K-State campus, Manhattan.

Story by: Kathleen Ward
K-State Research & Extension News

Jennifer Smith is at 785-843-7058.