By Carol O'Meara, Boulder County Extension
As a little girl, I thought the ornaments in my grandparents’ garden were old-fashioned to the point of being fogey. The ceramic squirrel perched majestically on the lamppost, the horsehead gripping a never-used tying ring in its teeth, or the green gazing ball nestled in the roses didn’t inspire my preteen mind to anything other than an eyeroll.
Now that I’m older I have more appreciation for garden tchotchke, although not to the point of immortalizing a squirrel in statue. The disembodied horse’s head isn’t fully appreciated out here in the West, either. But the gazing ball has made a comeback, and I admit, I can see why.
Gardeners always want to peek into the future to see if their flowers will bloom, vegetables thrive, or rain is on the way. We check almanacs, weather reports, fuzz on caterpillar’s backs, and moon charts to get an edge on Mother Nature. We have many reasons for wanting to know how 2021 will shape up, especially in the garden.
To sleuth it out, I talked with a person wise in the ways of gardeners, one who runs a business on gauging trends and what new seasons will hold. And while Curtis Jones can’t tell us if we’ll have a wet season or drought, the co-owner of Botanical Interests Seed Company has some solid advice for 2021.
“This past season, 2020, was an unbelievable year; the U.S. had 19 million new vegetable gardeners. People are thinking about where their food comes from and self-sufficiency,” said Jones, who shares ownership of the seed company with Judy Seaborn. Across the country, seeds packets sold out rapidly and many seed companies ran out of their stock. “We were the only seed company to ship throughout the year, because we time shipments for seed throughout the season.”
Michael Lowe, General Manager for Lake Valley Seed, agreed, saying that they have a high demand for seed in 2021. Their company is busy supplying retailers plenty of stock to meet gardeners' needs. Experts tracking garden trends are all predicting strong interest in 2021, although a few claim that this is a fleeting interest brought on by the pandemic.
Asked if the interest in gardening was a flash in the pan, as some prognosticators predict, Jones didn’t think so.“A lot of people that started gardening find that they really enjoy it. A lot of younger people tried it and many are already into houseplants. People are psyched up for it; fall seed sales were very impressive. People were buying for spring.” Flowers as well as vegetable seed sales were strong, not surprisingly. People staying closer to home wanted to surround themselves with beauty.
So what does next year have in store for us? Jones says gardening in 2021 will be just as strong as it was this year, so plan your garden now. “If we can get the seed in, we’ll increase the amount we’re offering,” Jones said, commenting on source and supply during the pandemic. He doesn’t expect a seed shortage, but to get the varieties you want, buy them now.
“If we can get the seed in, we’ll increase the amount we’re offering,” Jones said, commenting on source and supply during the pandemic. He doesn’t expect a seed shortage, but to get the varieties you want, buy them now. "Even though last year taxed our inventory, we are in good shape for the upcoming season, but if I didn't own a seed company and I was planning my garden, I would get my seed sooner than later."
Those of us who have been around the vegetable patch a time or two should dive into catalogs to find coveted new introductions; the key to success is planning and preparation, so get shopping gardeners.