Apr 8, 2023 - Things to Do

Pollinator gardens, Xeriscaping surge in popularity

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Hobbies like gardening and bird-watching have only grown more popular since the pandemic forced us to turn our attention homeward.

Why it matters: Hobbies bring us a lot of joy, and about 60% say they picked up new ones during the pandemic.

What they're saying: "We had a lot of new gardeners … and it hasn't really slowed," Hannah Lucey, a department manager at City Floral Greenhouse and Garden Center, tells us.

  • Lucey has been in the business for 10 years, and City Floral has been in Denver for more than a century.

Be smart: This year, Lucey says a few trends stand out.

🌻 Color is in. Especially flowers that can be cut and brought inside like roses, sunflowers and dahlias.

πŸ₯¬ Herb and vegetable gardens are hot right now, as people are increasingly conscious about where their food comes from.

πŸ”₯ Outdoor fire pits and lounge designs have surged in popularity.

🌡 Xeriscaping, which reduces or eliminates the need for watering, and crevice gardening, a type of rock gardening, are on the rise.

Zoom out: Landscape professionals say demand for contracting outdoor features exploded during the pandemic as homeowners embraced open-air living.

  • Clients across the country are increasingly seeking outdoor kitchens, fire pits and patios to transform their backyards into lush retreats, Britt Wood, chief executive of the National Association of Landscape Professionals, tells Axios.

Between the lines: The breadth of outdoor remodeling work has also grown. Now people want more from their landscape contractor, Wood says.

  • Almost 80% of landscape pros found project scopes increased in size from pre-pandemic, per a new report from the National Association of Landscape Professionals and the National Association of Realtors.

🐝 How to make a pollinator garden

Pollinator gardens have become a lot more popular, too. There's an entire section of City Floral dedicated to this style of gardening.

What to know: If you're new to the pollinator game, here are Lucey's tips.

1. Different plants attract different species. If you're trying to attract bees, you could buy bee balm, a hearty perennial plant. Monarch butterflies like milkweed and black-eyed Susans. Hummingbirds love red, bright florals that they can stick their beaks into, like trumpet vines, salvia and honeysuckle.

  • Lavender, echinacea, butterfly bush, daisies and snapdragons are all good for pollinator gardens, too.

2. You can create a pollinator garden on your balcony. Annuals do well in the ground or pots. If you put perennial plants in containers, make sure there's insulation around the roots.

  • You can do anything on a balcony as long as you get enough sun (four to six hours).

3. Plant a mix of perennials and annuals so you always have color blooming. You can add more perennials as you go to keep your garden vibrant all summer. Annuals should last until the first frost.

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