The Top Gardening Trends Expected to Take Over the Industry in 2017

Millennials are looking to bring the garden to the heart of the city.

A colder spring has slowed things down a bit this year at Fertile Ltd., an urban garden center in the Lakeview neighborhood of Chicago. But overall, president and owner Susan Zabel-Brandstetter has seen a renaissance of sorts when it comes to city dwellers and gardening.

“People in the city are fascinated by gardening,” said Zabel-Brandstetter. “Even though Chicago is a pretty green city, people are just now learning about gardening.”

Part of this upward trend in city gardening stems from more and more people moving downtown, but looking for a way to capture the green of the suburbs in a more urban environment- something that is requiring more creativity in the gardening space.

“In Chicago, we are seeing a real rise in vegetable gardens specifically,” said Zabel-Brandstetter. “These are mostly deck and rooftop gardens, but we are also seeing more and more vertical wall gardens and other creative ways of transforming the city into something more beautiful.”

Another big change in the gardening space can be linked to the rise in popularity of “clean” vegan or vegetarian diets, especially among younger people in the city. This has led to a big trend in the direction of growing proteins like peas, not just the traditional tomatoes and peppers one expects to find in a home garden.

“I used to never really carry those types of proteins,” said Zabel-Brandstetter. “Now we do a ton.”

Zabel-Brandstetter says she sees a real change among visitors to her store- a fascination that turns to relaxation when they walk among her flowers.

“It’s amazing what gardens do for the psyche, how positive and happy they make people,” she said. “No one comes to the store unless they are looking to buy a plant, they want something. When people come in the store you can see how relaxed it makes them.”

Despite the positive direction of individuals in the city adding more green space, Zabel-Brandstetter says she thinks the next step is for corporations and big office buildings to get more involved.

“People are doing their job in transforming the city, but the city-scape is dominated by huge skyscrapers that do not do enough to be more green,” said Zabel-Brandstetter. “It is time for corporations to catch up.”