GARDEN & OUTDOOR LIVING New and experienced gardeners of all ages are expected to continually upgrade gardens that were revamped during last year’s lockdowns, while a strong trend towards indoor plants is also expected to continue throughout this year’s garden season. Garden sector invigorated by new 'green thumbs' Mt Alexander H Hardware has created an inviting green-life space that its customers continually re-visit. A lthough the indoor plant space has steadily grown for the last five years now, COVID has again accelerated this segment as consumers continue to create inviting, green spaces within their homes as they wait out the pandemic, HBT Business Manager, Marcella Indries said recently. “Just some of the trending plants in this space currently include Spotted Begonia, Zanzibar Gem, Monstera, Philodendron’s and Fid- dle Leaf Figs which are all proving to be very popular at the moment. Bolt on accessories are also complementing this space. I believe stores can do so well in this area by adding in decorative pots, as well as products such as the Coco Fibre Sticks that are also on trend. The Coco Fibre Sticks are not only pretty to look at but they create a very Chique and stylish space with any vine indoor plant,” she said. “Australian plants are becoming on-trend this year and I have already jumped on this trend myself, trying my hand at growing lemon myrtle and finger limes. In saying this, there is no doubt that spring is the perfect season for growing veggies. The tomato season is approaching so there is plenty of opportunity to try out new heirloom varieties.” “Companion planting is also an amazing way to keep veggies safe especially against garden pests. Basil and marigolds planted next to tomatoes not only make delicious food but are won- derful to look at. The humble radish is also now making a comeback and there are many varieties that can be planted,” Ms Indries said. One trend that is also making a comeback this season is compost and worm farms, which are an excellent way of creating healthy composts for the home garden. “Incredibly, compost bins are not an eyesore anymore. The increasing trend of composting is helping consumers convert their waste and save dollars. Tumbleweed is one particular brand that has introduced a great range recently,” she said. Products expected to be particularly popular this season include those that are targeted specifically towards the indoor plant category, including potting mixes and fertilisers, accord- ing to Ms Indries. “Yates has a range that has made it super easy for gardeners to care for their indoor plants. Another supplier to watch in this space is WOLF-Garten Australia which not only has an amazing tool kit range, but users can also change out all of the heads on the tools - so they can have one handle and multiple tools. It is a good quality, versatile system which is set to do well in Australia, because it is such a quality, multi-change system.” “I have also been finding great success personally with the GROlife range of products as well as the Charlie Carp products. Consistent watering will be a theme for my garden this year so hav- ing a go at setting up an irrigation systemwill no doubt be a lot of fun,” she said.