Last week I attended ProGreen Expo, Denver's annual trade show and conference for members of the "green industry". The show features five full days of classes and seminars, and a three day trade show with hundreds of suppliers introducing new products and selling their wares. I always learn something new, and enjoy seeing old friends---many of whom work in other parts of the region and only come to town for this event.
I particularly enjoyed a couple of lectures by Panayoti Kelaidis, rock garden curator and horticulturist extraordinaire at Denver Botanic Gardens. Panayoti travels the world to find new plant introductions for dry, high altitude gardens like our own. He advocates creating a truly regional garden style that echoes our native high plains and foothills aesthetic. His comment that the typical xeriscape or water smart design is merely "Midwestern light" stung a bit, I'll admit. But I strongly believe that my role as a professional garden designer is to help my clients create the landscape/garden that reflects their vision, not mine. I think it's far more important to promote regionally appropriate plants than a regional design style.
This environmentalism is a key landscape trend now. Tagged "Eco-Chic" for it's broad appeal, the other buzzwords that reflect this movement are sustainable and green. Site appropriate plants, water conservation, organic fertilizers and pesticides, and recycled building products all fall into this trend. This will be a huge shift in the way we create and maintain our landcapes.
Other landscape trends are more ongoing: outdoor retreats, entertainment/kitchen areas, container gardens, and water gardens.