Gardening in January 2018

Gardening in January

And that was 2017! The year that saw Robert Mugabe lose his grip on Zimbabwe, Jacob Zuma clinging with all he has to keep his grip on SA, some big traditional companies losing their grip on stock exchanges and our government losing their grip on handling drought, famine, disease and spending. But it was also the year that saw the people rise. Alternative currencies are shocking the establishment with their unprecedented growth. Disruptive technologies are disturbing almost every industry there is. Governments around the world are getting scared, and rightly so. More reason to find peace in the soil, allowing the smells, sounds and touch of nature to rejuvenate, refresh and replenish our tired souls.

January is the month where I try to gaze into the green crystal ball and forecast some trends for the new year. Let’s quickly reflect on last year’s forecast. I have seen many exciting projects where art not only becomes part of the landscaping, but where the landscaping become the artwork. My forecast of a 70’s comeback was maybe a year early, let’s watch 2018 for this one. Unfortunately, my forecast of a move towards fake did become reality. Fake lawns, fake plants, fake rock and fake people are the order of the day. Big drilling rigs have become a daily sighting in upmarket suburbs – where a green lawn is still a status symbol. Fortunately, I have also seen my forecast of natural lines, flowing forms and living with the lay of the land become true. More and more landscapers are no longer fighting nature, but rather embracing her.

So, what about 2018? Let’s keep an eye on the 70’s trend. Colourful bell bottom pants, handmade knitwear, disco, black metal and dark wood, decoupage, macramé, paper mache, sea shells and indoor plants might just make the comeback us wannabee hippies were waiting for. With this comes the colour purple. I see purple being the new black in fashion; and the new green in gardening. Even in the kitchen we’ll see more purple – cauliflower, broccoli, kale, asparagus, artichokes, carrots, blue berries, plums and tomatoes all come in purple varieties that are not only eye catching, but also extremely healthy. Purple heliotropes, agapanthus, lavender, pansies, pelargoniums and many more will add grace to our gardens. I can’t wait!

This might well be the year of permaculture. This holistic approach to farming, gardening and life in general can make the world a better place for all. As more people are starting to embrace themselves within their space in nature they are observing the natural systems around them. These are often directly opposed to the restrictive and destructive unnatural systems thought up by humans. Permaculture is a natural systems approach to landscaping with a major emphasis on water management. Water harvesting, the use of swales and retention ponds to slow down storm water, dew capturing, food forests, herb spirals, zoned garden spaces, alternative energy sources, sustainable building methods and a whole systems approach to town planning are all important aspects of the permaculture way.

I coined the term “healthscaping” a few year ago. This will become big in the years to come. People are not only growing their own food and medicine, but are also learning the benefits of forest bathing, immersing in nature, embracing the microbial life around and inside them and living in and wearing natural materials. Living a healthy natural lifestyle as a means of preventative healthcare will be a trend; not only for the wealthy, but also for the masses.

In the kitchen I see fermenting, raw food, vegan cooking and slow food as still trending. But we will also start to see a world-wide movement that will embrace the value of animal husbandry as part of holistic farming systems. Honouring the animal in the kitchen will put emphasis on a nose to tail approach; utilising the entire animal while making sure the animal was humanely raised, had a good life and were respectfully slaughtered and prepared.

That’s my story for this month, next month we will get back to some practical stuff. A blessed and prosperous 2018 to all!