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bumblebee on flower

I need to throw more shade on my garden. My own shadow, that is.

I didn’t spend as much time in the garden, or give it the care it needed this year. A once-in-a-lifetime vacation kept me away during crucial late spring days, and I spent the summer and autum falling behind on playing catch up. My garden got the best of me, instead of me getting the best out of my garden.

So, what better place to make a fresh start in 2019 than in my garden? Garden Media Group’s 2019 Garden Trend Report suggests finding joy in nature is the overall direction for gardening. Among the latest trends:

1. Pruning screen time to learn patience, how to nurture ourselves and others, make healthier food choices, learn confidence and good stewardship of the earth. We’re tech addicts basking in the blue glow. Let’s get out under the beaming sun. Teens spend almost 7 hours a day tethered to their tech. Adults spend 11 hours a day looking at PC and tablet screens and check their phones every 10 minutes.

2. Having a “golden” heart through “responsible tourism” – reducing environmental, social and economic impact, which is expected to increase 350 percent by 2020, along with volunteering and sustainability movements. The Collegiate Plant Initiative connects students to nature by dropping plants on college campuses. The Million Pollinator Garden Challenge numbers doubled in 2018.

3. Expectations are rising for sustainable solutions to reduce global food waste, recycle more plastic and encourage composting as “the new recycling.”

4. Scientists are worried about the loss of pollinators such as butterflies and bees, which has a direct impact on food sources, livelihoods and ultimately, the animal kingdom. Yet invasive insects are thriving — emerald ash borers, mountain pine beetles, spotted lanternflies and allium leafminers, for example. Defensive gardening can help — early detection and rapid response, as well as planting more insect-friendly gardens and more native trees, shrubs and plants. Intervene less — “unmow” some areas treated as lawn to encourage insects, and be judicious with pesticides.

5. Robo gardening. Horticulture technology mixes together 3-D modeling, GPS mapping, laser technology, drones, robotics, devices that read soil and weather moisture and battery-powered and low- or no-emission equipment. Tertill is a new solar-powered robotic weed whacker, while smart phone apps like PlantsMap can document, map, tag and share about plants.

More trends in next week’s column.

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Arts/Special Sections Editor

Special Sections Editor for the Courier

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