As Baby Boomers continue to retire and downsize, a new generation of gardeners – the much-maligned Millennials – is poised to pick up where the Boomers have left off. They’re ready and able to grab a shovel, to grow their own food, and to decorate their own spaces – be it a backyard garden in the burbs’ or a studio apartment in the city – with funky and functional plants. They just don’t know it yet.
With this in mind here are a few of my top inspirational tips for young gardeners, designed to help you give the millennial in your life a gentle nudge into the great outdoors.
Learning in groups can be a fun and inclusive way to get younger people involved in the garden and attending hands-on events and workshops that provide information and socialising simultaneously can be a great place to start.
Millennials want to stand out from the crowd and express themselves in unique ways, so they are likely to value ideas for the garden that allow them to personalise their spaces to match their individual quirks.
Current trends for indoor gardening (vertical gardens, terrariums, hanging baskets etc) would certainly appeal to young inner-city professionals who may not have a lot outdoor space and therefore want to grow indoors, under lights or in water year-round.
Millennials appreciate a less-is-more aesthetic, so they want big impact in small spaces. Dwarf plants that produce crops of healthy, flavourful food (blueberries and herbs, for instance) allow Millennials to grow their own while also maintaining tidy spaces.
Millennials are driven by opportunities to create memories that can be shared. And as they build their own families, they will hopefully view gardening as a shared experience with their kids.
Easy plants to grow
Ok, so that young person of yours has caught the gardening bug (and who can blame them?!) but just like anything – practice makes perfect. Here are some of my favourite plants for a rookie green thumb. These easy-care varieties are just some of the hard-working wonders that landscape designers rely on year after year.
Mother in Law’s Tongue is one of the easiest plants to grow. It is a vertical accent plant for a pot indoors or to grow massed in dry areas of the garden where nothing else grows.
Aloes are reliable, tough and undemanding succulents that produce candles of orange and red flowers from autumn to winter. Birds love them. You can grow aloes in full sun in well drained and also in a pot. Water to establish but then only occasionally.
Peace lilies are popular indoor plants as they flower in low light and can be very resilient if needed. They can also be grown in a warm, shaded garden or in a vertical garden
Crepe Myrtle is a pretty summer-flowering deciduous tree or tall shrub that’s a lot tougher than its delicate crepe-like flowers suggest. Select hybrids from the Indian summer or Magic Series for trouble-free growth. Smaller varieties can suit sunny courtyards and large pots.
Nasturtium is an easy to grow trailing annual with orange, yellow or bicolour flowers. It grows in the sun or shade but flowers best in the sun. It won’t last forever but when it dies, new plants will grow from the seeds left behind.
Penstemons offer range and reliability, and provided they remain unpruned through winter and are mulched in particularly cold areas, will keep coming through.
Baby Sun Rose is the perfect ground cover for sun-drenched slopes, soaking up the searing summer sun whilst keeping the soil cool and weed-free.