(BPT) - Gardening enthusiasm is surging thanks to our increased time at home — whether on a small-space patio or in a larger backyard. In fact, people spent 42% more time gardening in 2020 than the year before, according to Axiom Marketing’s 2021 Gardening Insight Survey, and it is estimated the pandemic contributed to creating nearly 20 million new “gardeners.” Many experts agree the trend toward nurturing flowers, plants and vegetables will continue into 2021 and beyond.

If you're looking to test your new green thumb or bring this year's garden to the next level, consider these top trends and simple ideas from the experts at Ball Horticultural Company:

The year-round fresh and healthy garden

Gardening can provide fresh access to produce that can help encourage healthy eating. You can feel confident knowing exactly where your food comes from and enjoy the satisfaction of growing it yourself. Plus, it doesn't get fresher than picking something from your own garden just minutes before preparing a dish.

You don't need an expansive garden to enjoy the many benefits of fresh, healthy vegetables and herbs. In fact, you don’t need a garden at all! Check out Kitchen Minis from PanAmerican Seed® and enjoy a variety of peppers and tomatoes that can be grown inside on a sunny windowsill, countertop or outside as patio tabletop plants. You can grow and harvest your own Kitchen Minis flavors most of the year.

The multi-purpose flower and herb garden

Don’t be afraid to mix your flowers and herbs. Trending in 2021 is bundling your plants together to save space and make a multi-functional showcase. Start with a tiered fruit stand, line it with coco liner cut to fit inside each bowl space, and then add soil and plants of your choice. The handle and lightness of the stand make it easy to hang as a basket or decorate a patio or table for a beautiful and functional addition wherever you garden.

Be sure to select plants that have a lot to offer in a compact space. For example, herbs from Burpee Plants are ideal for small gardens, so you can enjoy fresh flavors like mint, rosemary and parsley at a moment's notice. If you'd prefer a centerpiece or accent decor for entertaining, petunias from Wave® Petunias are low-maintenance and stunning, easily adding a punch of color to your container.

The beautiful garden for a bold and colorful outdoor living space

As people spend more time enjoying the outdoors from the safety and comforts of home, they are taking a new look at their exterior spaces. Colorful blooms brighten the outdoors and elevate the mood, which is why flower gardening is flourishing. However, people want this outdoor beauty without extensive maintenance, so ease is essential when planning your flower garden.

When it comes to pairing beauty and simplicity, Beacon® Impatiens are a great choice, especially for those whose outdoor spaces don’t get a lot of sun. Available in bright, bold colors, you can fill baskets, window boxes, patio containers and shade landscapes with Beacon to add vivid, dramatic color to your spaces and have confidence in their performance. These impatiens are low-maintenance and have high resistance to Impatiens downy mildew, a disease that has caused plant loss in recent years.

The fun family-friendly garden

Having a family garden comes with many benefits. Whether it's you and your partner at home or the entire family, gardening has proven to be a fun and safe hobby that people of all ages can do together. Enjoy spending quality time while breathing fresh air and learning important lessons from nature and the environment.

Gather everyone's input on a plan for your family garden and work together as a team to make it a success. One plant that's particularly fun for families to include is Lavender Primavera from Darwin Perennials. The rich purple color is visually stunning, plus lavender attracts pollinators like bees, butterflies and hummingbirds, so you're enhancing the natural world around you. Additionally, you're sure to enjoy the relaxing scent wafting in the breeze, and you can harvest your lavender to use in DIY craft projects around the house or as gifts to loved ones.

Start growing today

The ability to explore interests like gardening and plant care is a silver lining of spending more time at home. Gardening is a healthy activity for anyone, and there are many resources — from your local gardening store to online blogs and videos — to help you be successful. 2021 is your chance to dig in and grow!

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