I’ve never been very trendy. I didn’t like bell-bottoms as a teen in the early '70s, and I thought the large macrame plant hangers suspended from ceilings in the corner of most living rooms looked clumsy. Although those fashions never held much personal appeal, trends in the world of gardening fascinate me.

The following are the gardening activities that are expected to be popular during 2021, according to national gardening magazines and marketing analysts.

  • Gardening, period, is trending — and not just vegetable gardening. Planting colorful flowers for mood-boosting, turning shady corners into bright spots and simple yard beautification will be emphasized in 2021.
  • Many employees will continue to work from home, at least partly, which might become a permanent trend. Spending time in a home workspace will encourage people to beautify their surroundings, including outdoors.
    As more employees continue to work from home, beautifying yards with flowers will be an increasing trend. Forum file photo
    As more employees continue to work from home, beautifying yards with flowers will be an increasing trend. Forum file photo
  • Creating your own garden getaway gives a means to escape. Backyard corners are being developed for cozy private areas, such as Japanese-style gardens with hedges for privacy.
  • Open expanses of lawn will become less popular. The areas are being designed instead with trees, shrubs and flowers for enjoyment, or converted to vegetable gardens.
  • Balcony gardening will expand, as apartment dwellers develop their own small oasis, creating a miniature backyard designed with flowers and vegetables in planter boxes and containers.
  • Houseplants are riding a wave of popularity projected to continue.
  • Newer gardeners are seeking basic information on soil, planting dates, adapted plants and pest control in an easily accessible format.

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  • Sustainable gardening is a trending concept, which involves using gardening practices that enhance the environment while causing no harm. It’s similar to the idea that was previously termed “being good stewards of the land.”
  • Landscaping with native plants is newly popular, because they thrive in existing soil, moisture conditions and winter temperatures, and might cause less work and worry for gardeners.
    Native plants will be popular for 2021, such as potentilla, which is native to North Dakota and well-adapted to its soil and available moisture. Forum file photo
    Native plants will be popular for 2021, such as potentilla, which is native to North Dakota and well-adapted to its soil and available moisture. Forum file photo
  • Creating covered outdoor living areas has been trending for years with gazebos, pergolas and other structures.
  • Mulches applied without weed fabric are increasingly popular. Mulches save water, regulate soil temperature, suppress weeds, prevent soil erosion and improve soil as they decay by adding nutrients and organic material. Wood product mulches are increasingly being laid directly onto the soil of flower beds and landscapes, where they can decay naturally, nourish the soil and be replenished as needed. Mulch must be at least 5 inches thick for optimum weed control without an underlayment.
  • Landscaping for all four seasons is trending, including creating beautiful winter views, as seen from indoors.
  • Gardeners are experimenting more with vegetable and fruit varieties and trying both heirloom types and innovative new hybrids.
  • Pollinator gardens remain important to gardeners who understand the plight of bees and butterflies. Even small spaces can assist the native bees and pollinators on which our food system relies, if everyone does a little.
  • Gardening is going vertical. Growing vines, flowers and vegetables on fences and trellises maximizes available space.
  • Keeping pests out is a major trending online search topic. Brief, easily accessed insect and disease control tips are needed.
  • An increased focus on detail, as flat and uniform surfaces are being highlighted by adding ornamental touches.
  • Food gardens are moving out front, literally, as front yards are being increasingly utilized for vegetable gardens, especially if backyards are too shady.
  • On-site water collection will become more essential in areas that are drought-stricken. Rain barrels and water-collecting gardens can sustain plants when outdoor watering is restricted.
  • Predicted color trends for 2021 are optimistic yellows, warm golds and serene blues, which can be echoed in annual flower choices.
  • The front porch is returning as a functional gathering space, complete with flower-filled container gardens.
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Don Kinzler, a lifelong gardener, is the horticulturist with North Dakota State University Extension for Cass County. Readers can reach him at donald.kinzler@ndsu.edu.