In the Garden:
Middle South
January, 2008
Regional Report

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These Oriental poppies and Siberian iris show off the 2007 and 2008 Colors of the Year.

What's "In" for 2008

Every year around this time, "experts" announce the trends in design, color, and attitudes for the upcoming year. It's fun to read about what's in and what's out, and I especially get a kick out of the lyrical language used to describe simple ideas. Here's a sampling.

Color Trends
The Color of the Year for 2008 is "Blue Iris, a beautifully balanced blue-purple," according to Pantone, Inc., a leader in providing professional color standards for various design industries. "Combining the stable and calming aspects of blue with the mystical and spiritual qualities of purple, Blue Iris satisfies the need for reassurance in a complex world, while adding a hint of mystery and excitement."

And in case you missed it, the Color of the Year for 2007 was "Chili Pepper, a deep, spicy red... a reflection of exotic tastes both on the tongue and to the eye," according to Pantone.

If you overlooked red in your garden last year, don't worry. "In 2008, red tones take on a decidedly soft, warm feel, such as watermelon or a carrot orange.... Fruit colors such as lime yellow, kiwi, and tangerine will be very popular in 2008.... But blue will continue to be the number one color choice for homeowners," according to IKEA design team spokeswoman Janice Simonsen in an article by Associated Press Business Reporter Sean O'Driscoll.

Minimalism is Out
Austere, sparse homes and landscapes will give way to more ornate and elaborate design. O'Driscoll's article quotes Claire McGovern of McGovern Design House: "I predict that we might even been moving into a design age that recalls Baroque more closely than ever before." Baroque? Think layers of rich texture and opulent color. Think drama, exuberance, and grandeur, with complexity and ornamentation bordering on the excessive -- the opposite of minimalism.

Garden and Landscape Trends
Below are the trends in gardens and landscapes for 2008, according to the public relations firm Garden Media Group.

-- Concern and heightened awareness for the environment

-- Eco-chic landscape products -- colorful, trendy, and environment-friendly accessories

-- Buying local, especially food, but this may extend to plants, crafts, etc.

-- Small-scale water features, including recirculating fountains, that promote water conservation

-- Low-maintenance landscapes for busy homeowners

-- Using colorful foliage plants to spice up monochromatic plantings

-- More organic or free-flowing designs as opposed to formal, geometric plantings

-- Dramatic landscape lighting

-- Plants that attract and feed wildlife

Plants of the Year for 2008
Herb of the Year: Calendula (Calendula officinalis). Calendula produces abundant yellow, orange, or red flowers, depending on the variety. This native of the Mediterranean region is commonly grown as an ornamental, as well as for its culinary and medicinal properties. The dried flowers are used in tinctures, lotions, and ointments, and are especially helpful in soothing minor burns, bruises, and cuts. The petals of calendula flowers are edible and can be used in salads or as a garnish. Sometimes called the poor man's saffron, the petals have a tangy, peppery taste and add a golden hue to foods.

Perennial Plant of the Year: Geranium 'Rozanne'. Notable for its large flowers and long season of bloom, 'Rozanne' is a low-growing, clump-forming perennial geranium that produces cup-shaped, sky blue blooms. It is adaptable to a range of growing conditions but prefers sun or light shade and well-drained soils.

And Just for Fun
According to Wikipedia, 2008 has been declared the International Year of the Potato by the United Nations, noting that the potato is a staple food in the diet of the world's population.

Research firm Basex has chosen information overload as its 2008 Problem of the Year.

Zoos, botanical gardens, and aquariums will celebrate 2008 as The Year of the Frog with a campaign to generate public awareness of the amphibian extinction crisis.

What will YOU be celebrating in 2008?


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