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The top eight gardening trends for 2010

The hottest trends on our radar for 2010

Although the snow may be flying outdoors and summer blooms seem a long way off, plant breeders and growers—as well as the manufacturers of garden-related equipment and accessories—have been hard at work all year in order to tempt us with new plants and products.

While annual shifts in gardening trends may not be as pronounced as what we see on the runways of Paris and Milan, each new calendar year brings its own changes, some of which are more conspicuous than others. Here's what Canadian Gardening has on its radar for 2010.

1. Two-tone colour schemes are de rigueur for flower beds and containers this year, with one tone usually being white (for example: white with blue or white with brilliant yellow flowers). This approach creates a super-clean, bright appearance that never looks tired or cluttered.

2. Large chemical companies scramble to find better, more effective, environmentally-friendly alternatives to toxic agricultural poisons as municipalities continue to ban traditional pesticides. For their part, gardeners become increasingly savvy when it comes to monitoring for pests and diseases—caught early, they're much easier to control!

3. Boring blobs of evergreen foundation shrubs—overgrown junipers and yews, for instance—are removed in favour of deciduous shrubs with interesting growth habits (corkscrew hazel), colourful winter bark (redosier dogwood) or berries (winterberry), and over-wintering flower heads (Hydrangea paniculata cvs.). This will lend a lighter, airier look to your home, while blending in more readily with existing perennials and trees. They're also easier to prune!

4. Planting large, non-native tree species will become a major gardening faux pas. There are hundreds of terrific native species to choose from—suitable for every situation—so that Canadian gardeners never need to opt for an "exotic alien." This stricture applies primarily to big trees that will dominate the landscape for decades or even centuries; non-native shrubs and perennials (providing they aren't invasive), like Japanese maples, Eurasian rhododendrons or peonies, remain perfectly acceptable.

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