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Gardening Trend for 2024: Naturalistic Planting and the New Perennial Movement

Functional Beauty

As we enter 2024, gardening enthusiasts and landscape designers are poised to embrace a new gardening trend that combines the beauty of naturalistic planting with the principles of the New Perennial Movement. This trend indicates a move away from meticulously maintained gardens towards more relaxed, ecologically friendly landscapes that imitate the beauty and diversity of natural ecosystems. In this article, we will delve into the critical elements of this trend, explore the role of some noteworthy plants such as hosta, Butterfly Milkweed, yellow trillium, and Solomon's seal plant, Bugleweed Plant, and provide tips on how to incorporate these elements into your garden.

Naturalistic Planting: A Return to Nature

Gardening trends constantly evolve, reflecting values, aesthetics, and environmental concerns. In 2024, one of the most notable trends is the resurgence of naturalistic planting, which harkens back to a more unstructured and wild gardening style. Naturalistic planting seeks to create gardens that mimic the beauty and functionality of natural ecosystems while minimizing the environmental impact and maintenance requirements associated with traditional gardens.

Vital Elements of Naturalistic Planting:

  • Biodiversity: One of the core principles of naturalistic planting is the promotion of biodiversity. Instead of relying on a limited selection of ornamental plants, gardeners are encouraged to include native and non-native species to support pollinators and other wildlife. This approach results in gardens that are not only beautiful but also ecologically vibrant.
  • Minimal Maintenance: Naturalistic gardens are designed to be low-maintenance, requiring less water, fertilizer, and pest control. This is achieved through careful plant selection, the use of drought-tolerant species, and a willingness to embrace the imperfections of nature.
  • Seasonal Interest: Naturalistic planting emphasizes using plants that provide interest throughout the seasons. This ensures that the garden remains visually appealing and dynamic year-round rather than having a brief period of peak bloom followed by months of dormancy.
  • Sustainability: Sustainability is a cornerstone of this trend. Gardeners are encouraged to use organic gardening practices, reduce synthetic chemicals, and create habitats supporting local ecosystems.

The New Perennial Movement: A Paradigm Shift

The New Perennial Movement, championed by landscape designer Piet Oudolf, has gained momentum over the past few decades. This movement reimagines gardens as dynamic and ever-changing compositions that celebrate the beauty of perennial plants in their naturalistic setting. The New Perennial Movement aligns perfectly with the naturalistic planting trend, and together, they offer a fresh and exciting approach to garden design.

Fundamental Principles of the New Perennial Movement:

  • Plant Selection: The New Perennial Movement prioritizes using perennial plants with visual appeal and ecological value. These plants are carefully chosen for their ability to thrive in specific climates and provide year-round interest.
  • Structured Chaos: Unlike traditional formal gardens, New Perennial gardens embrace a sense of "structured chaos." Plants can intermingle and self-seed, creating a more natural and less controlled appearance.
  • Seasonal Dynamics: The New Perennial Movement recognizes that a garden's beauty is not static but evolves throughout the seasons. This philosophy encourages gardeners to appreciate the changes in their gardens and find beauty in every stage.
  • Sustainability: Sustainability is a fundamental aspect of the New Perennial Movement. These gardens are inherently eco-friendly by selecting hardy, climate-appropriate plants and reducing the need for maintenance.

Noteworthy Plants for Naturalistic Planting and the New Perennial Movement

Incorporating a diverse range of plants is crucial to naturalistic planting and the New Perennial Movement. Here, we will explore four notable plants-hosta, creeping phlox, yellow trillium, and Solomon's seal plant-and discuss how they can contribute to this gardening trend.

Hosta (Hosta spp.):

Hostas are beloved for their lush, variegated foliage and adaptability to different garden conditions. They are a perfect addition to naturalistic gardens, providing texture, color, and structure throughout the growing season. Hostas are especially valuable in shaded areas, where they can thrive and create a rich, layered look.

Incorporating Hostas:

  • Plant hostas in groupings of varying sizes to create a naturalistic feel.
  • Choose hosta varieties with different leaf shapes, sizes, and colors for visual diversity.
  • Allow hostas to intermingle with other shade-loving perennials like ferns and wild ginger for a more natural appearance.

Creeping Phlox (Phlox subulata):

Creeping phlox is a low-growing, ground-covering perennial that produces a breathtaking carpet of flowers in spring. With its delicate blooms in pink, purple, and white shades, creeping phlox adds color to naturalistic gardens and is an excellent choice for edging pathways or spilling over rock walls.

Incorporating Creeping Phlox:

  • Plant creeping phlox in well-drained soil in full sun to partial shade.
  • Combine different phlox varieties to create a tapestry of colors.
  • Allow creeping phlox to weave its way among other ground covers and native grasses for a harmonious look.

Yellow Trillium (Trillium luteum):

Yellow trillium, also known as yellow wake-robin, is a native woodland wildflower with elegant, tripartite leaves and distinctive, yellow, three-petaled flowers. This plant adds a touch of understated beauty to naturalistic gardens, particularly in shaded or woodland settings.

Incorporating Yellow Trillium:

  • Plant yellow trillium in moist, well-drained, humus-rich soil.
  • Group them in clusters to create a striking display.
  • Combine yellow trillium with native woodland plants like bloodroot and wild ginger for a woodland garden aesthetic.

Solomon's Seal Plant (Polygonatum spp.):

Solomon's seal is a graceful and arching perennial known for its distinctive, dangling, white or greenish-white flowers and delicate foliage. This plant is well-suited to naturalistic gardens, as it can thrive in shaded areas and adds an air of elegance to the landscape.

Incorporating Solomon's Seal Plant:

  • Plant Solomon's seal in shaded to partially shaded locations with moist soil.
  • Use its arching stems to create naturalistic, layered effects.
  • Pair Solomon's seal with other shade-loving perennials like ferns, hostas, and astilbes to create a lush woodland garden.

Designing Your Naturalistic Garden

Now that we've explored the concept of naturalistic planting and the New Perennial Movement and discussed the role of hosta, creeping phlox, yellow trillium, and Solomon's seal plant, it's time to consider how to design your naturalistic garden for 2024 and beyond.

  1. Assess Your Space: Evaluate your garden's conditions, including soil type, sunlight exposure, and moisture levels. This will help you select appropriate plants and design your garden accordingly.
  2. Choose Native and Non-Native Plants: Embrace a mix of native and non-native plants to encourage biodiversity and create a visually dynamic garden. Native plants often support local wildlife and are well-suited to your region's climate.
  3. Create Plant Communities: Instead of planting individual specimens, group plants with similar needs and appearances to mimic natural plant communities. This approach enhances the overall aesthetic and reduces maintenance.
  4. Embrace Imperfections: Allow your garden to evolve naturally, embracing the occasional weed or self-seeding plant. These imperfections contribute to the authenticity of a naturalistic garden.
  5. Plan for Seasonal Interest: Select plants that provide interest throughout the seasons. Consider foliage texture, bloom times, and seed heads to ensure year-round beauty.
  6. Implement Sustainable Practices: Reduce your garden's environmental impact by adopting sustainable gardening practices. Use organic fertilizers, limit water usage, and minimize the use of synthetic chemicals.
  7. Encourage Wildlife: Include bird feeders, birdbaths, and bee-friendly plants to attract and support local wildlife. Creating a habitat for pollinators and other creatures adds depth to your garden.
  8. Garden in Layers: Create vertical interest by incorporating plants of varying heights, from ground covers to tall perennials and small trees or shrubs. Layering plants adds depth and complexity to your garden design.

In 2024, the gardening world is embracing the trend of naturalistic planting and the principles of the New Perennial Movement. This shift towards more ecologically friendly, low-maintenance gardens that celebrate the beauty of nature is an exciting development for gardening enthusiasts and landscape designers alike. Suppose you want to create a beautiful and eco-friendly oasis in your garden. Why not consider incorporating lovely plants such as hosta, creeping phlox, yellow trillium, and Solomon's seal? You can enjoy your naturalistic paradise while doing your part for the environment! So, get ready to embrace the beauty of nature in your garden as we embark on this gardening trend for 2024 and beyond.

Butterfly Milkweed - TN Nursery

Butterfly Milkweed

Butterfly Milkweed plants are known for vibrant orange flowers, attracting monarchs, and significant ecological benefits, making them a popular choice in landscaping. Beyond its visual appeal, this native North American plant offers numerous advantages to any landscape's overall health and beauty.   Butterfly Milkweed Has Vibrant Fire Orange Blooms The butterfly milkweed instantly captivates with its vibrant hues and delicate beauty. Also known as Asclepias tuberosa, this wildflower can be found in various prairies and grasslands throughout the United States and parts of Florida. Are you ready to transform your garden with this stunning flower, sure to become the crown jewel of your collection? Butterfly Milkweed Is Sure To Dazzle The charm of this plant lies in its dazzling array of bright colors. Fiery oranges are punctuated with bursts of sunny yellows that grow in small groups. The blossoms are supported by hearty green stems and thin, pointed leaves that ensure the flowers themselves take center stage. Though it may be in full bloom during spring and summer, this plant continues to enchant with its enduring beauty well through the fall. Because it is a resilient, robust plant, it makes an excellent choice for both seasoned gardeners expanding their collection and new green thumbs embarking on their horticultural journeys. Create Your Butterfly Garden With Butterfly Milkweed Is it any surprise butterflies are part of this wildflower's name? These plants are rich in nectar, which attracts many butterflies to the landscape. You can create your sanctuary with these adorable flowers that invite dozens of fluttering visitors to your lawn. The true beauty of this plant lies in how it harmonizes with the natural world around it. The fluttering friends it attracts go on to pollinate other flowers and support a healthy, happy ecosystem for everyone to enjoy. No matter where they are planted, these flowers create a ripple effect that nourishes the spirit of their beholder and the more fantastic world around them. Plant Butterfly Milkweed alongside others like the purple coneflower, black-eyed susan, and bee balm to enhance your garden's allure for butterflies, hummingbirds, and other pollinators. No matter where it is planted, this beautiful wildflower shimmers like a gem and adds an unmistakable beauty to the landscape. With irresistible colors, unwavering resilience, and a lovely connection to nature, it's no wonder that so many gardeners are instantly charmed by the brilliance of these wildflowers.

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Bugleweed Plant - TN Nursery

Bugleweed Plant

Bugleweed is a ground-covering perennial plant known for its low-growing, spreading nature and attractive foliage. It is often used in landscaping for its vibrant leaves and small spikes of blue, purple, or pink flowers. It will quickly fill empty spaces, making it an excellent choice for areas with poor soil or where other types struggle to thrive. It is a versatile and attractive perennial with numerous landscaping benefits. Its unique characteristics and adaptability make it popular in various garden settings and design schemes. Bugleweed Plant Comes From A large Family  Bugleweed, called carpet bugle, ground pine, bugle, or ajuga, includes 60 related species of flowering perennials. The different species are found in the wild in Australia, Africa, Asia, and Europe. Because of their impressive attributes, they are also introduced in yards and gardens outside these areas. With a closer look at the many benefits of introducing bugle to your space, it is the perfect new addition to your landscaping. Bugleweed Plant Is A Fast-Growing Ground Cover This creeping type grows up to 20 inches tall, although some species are as short as two inches. It proliferates by shooting runners on top of the soil. These runners create a fascinating look, and they quickly sprout new stems. In the wild, it blankets meadows and other open spaces, so it is well-suited for putting in areas of your yard that need ground cover. Notably, the plant is often used to prevent soil loss from erosion because of its ability to spread rapidly across steep slopes. Weeds are a nuisance that inevitably requires frequent attention. They can overtake your yard and leave it unkempt when not tended to regularly. As a fast-moving ground cover, bugles crowd out the weeds. As a result, their growth could be improved, and they will quickly become less of a nuisance in your space. You can start enjoying your yard more rather than worrying about keeping up with the weeds.  Bugleweed Plant Has Stunning Blooms The Bugleweed Plant is a fascinating species with dark, shiny leaves that grow in an opposite pattern. During the flowering season, usually in the middle or end of the spring months, spikes shoot up that may be as tall as 10 inches above its base. These spikes produce purple, violet, or blue flowers. The flowers have long, flowing petals that some people describe as looking like a woman’s skirt. Most rodents and mammals do not like the morsel of it and stay away from it. As a result, it is ideal for yards where deer and other animals forage and cause damage. At the same time, insects are attracted to its pollen. You may spot moths, butterflies, and bees on the blooms during the flowering season. As essential pollinators, these insects are crucial to maintaining a healthy ecosystem in your yard.

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Solomon's Seal Plant - TN Nursery

Solomon's Seal Plant

Solomon's Seal Plant is a graceful woodland perennial plant known for its arching stems, dangling pairs of bell-shaped flowers, and distinctive, alternate leaves, making it a charming addition to shaded gardens. They offer a range of benefits when incorporated into landscaping projects, contributing to outdoor spaces' natural charm, versatility, and ecological value. With its distinctive arching stems, elegant foliage, and adaptability, this plant brings unique qualities that enhance various aspects of landscape design. Solomon's Seal Plant, also known as Polygonatum biflorum, is an herbaceous perennial with three distinct color stages: greenish-white, blue, and gold. Its green leaves comprise most of its total size. The Solomon's Seal Plant Color Stages When this perennial initially springs to life each May, it has small, greenish-white flowers. Thanks to its arching stems, each flower hangs down. Later in the summer, blueberries appear. Finally, once it's autumn, the leaves turn a spectacular gold. Although the entire flower is beautiful, the flowering stage is revered and has recently become a favorite in the floral world. This Solomon's Seal Plant's Growth It can reach up to four feet tall, which provides collectors with plenty of its dainty, greenish-white flowers. Due to their uniqueness, these specialty cut flowers are always in high demand. Whether you enjoy brightening up your home occasionally or regularly, you can't go wrong with this plant! Solomon's Seal Plant's Uses Although it grows naturally in forests, it is also explicitly planted for the floral industry. These perennials and their unusual appearance have quickly become highly desired. They've been used in various floral arrangements, including unique wedding bouquets. Between their stunning appearance and fragrant scent, which mimics lilacs, this flower deserves your attention! What does the name of these flowers symbolize? Unfortunately, there is no conclusive answer. However, one theory is that the flat, round stalk scars on its rhizomes were once believed to look like the ancient symbol of King Solomon. Nowadays, people are typically drawn to its dangling, greenish-white flowers and graceful arching stems. As a bonus, they can add an unusual structural appearance to any shade garden. Solomon's Seal Plant fits the bill if you're looking for a unique flower to give someone! It also has just the look you need if you're planning to build a shade garden. Either way, this perennial won't soon be forgotten!

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