Gardening trends are just the same as any other fashion. They come and go, new plants and design styles splash onto the scene, along with old favourites that just won’t go away. Here are a few to whet your appetite.
Roses never go out of fashion they will always be one of the most popular garden plants there are. With new varieties coming out every year it is hard to keep up. A great new collection of fragrant roses has arrived with two in the traditional style white with yellow cores , Alister Stella Grey and Big Ben and a couple of peach coloured one’s Coral Gem and Always You are my favourites. Grown in full sun with a fertile soil, roses will always put a smile on your face.
A large proportion of gardens these days have poor light conditions so not surprisingly, shade loving plants are increasingly sought after. Ferns are an obvious choice for a low light level situation. With a vast array of shapes, sizes and growing requirements there are ferns out there to suit all tastes and pockets. A complete layered canopy can be achieved using a variety of Tree Ferns for the main structure. Coming down with some of the larger varieties of male ferns for the midrange. Western Maidenhair, Hartstongueand Lady Fern all blend seamlessly to the floor. Many varieties of ivy exist and give year round body and compliment this style of the garden well.
While most people go for annuals in their pots such as Marigolds, Begonias, Petunias or Surfinias many are opting for perennial and evergreen plants for a more structured look. Japanese style gardens lend themselves very well to container gardening with Acers and Bamboos selling very well. A great favourite still is Acer Purpureum with wonderful colours and structure it will grow very happily in a large pot. Fargesia Robusta bamboo gives good height and its stripped stems contrasting very well with the purple leaves, means they go great together. Especially now that growing exotic plants in the UK is becoming a trend.
There are plenty of compact ways inveted by ingenious gardeners around the world, because free space is not a resource everyone has. Container gardening, for example lets you harvest tremendous quantities of crops relative to the area used. Moreover having your veggies home grown is a way to make sure you eat what you think you eat. Contrary to popular belief you don’t need a lot of space to be a successful producer of some very fine food, gardening experts say. Healthy eating is an option, and this doesn’t exclude tasty. When you grow your own crops at home you are doing it mostly organic which results in rich taste and delicious meals after! Summer, being the fruitful season it is, offers plenty of choices in terms of plants you can fill your table with later. For example potatoes, that old staple can be grown in a stack of old tyres. Pink Fir potatoes don’t even need that they can be grown in an old wooden fruit box and boiled, served with butter, they taste divine. Why not try growing Ruby Chard among your border plants, it looks great and tastes fabulous. Courgettes and squashes come in many varieties and can be very decorative. Popular at the moment are, Atena a compact yellow fruiting variety with sweet creamy flesh, Patio star a very compact plant idea for containers and Siesta a spineless yellow fruiting type with white striping to its leaves.
Spring onions and curly leaved lettuce and endives are high up the list with very little work you have an abundant crop all summer long. As most herbs are strong growers and have a lot of uses they have always been a garden great. Summer is the time of cocktails and barbeques and a few herbs are essential for both. Mint in its many forms can be used for those refreshing Mojitos as well as for the lamb kebabs. With so many to choose from it’s a good idea to have a few growing. As there is an abundance of variegated leaved types they can be decorative as well. Lemon mint and Pineapple mint add a different dimension to potatoes and I guess the old favourites spearmint and peppermint will always be with us. Rosemary is a must for lamb and roast potatoes and lavender is having a bit of a renaissance being used more and more in recipes once again. Thyme is used in so many things, including medicinal remedies, it has to be included. The smell of a rampant herb patch in summer warms the soul clears the mind and gives vigour to the body. Not to mention the beneficial impact it has on insect life.
Swathes of delphiniums and foxgloves mixed in with perennial ornamental grasses such as Spanish Oats are like a watercolour come to life. You can pack them in creating a riot of colour and scent daylilies, penstemons, verbena and chrysanthemums all sit well together, aesthetically improving your simple wood deck for the eyes of envious passersby’s.
Every year multitudes of new plants and garden ideas for refreshing uses for existing ones abound at the flower shows. For example at the 2014 Chelsea Flower Show the pink poppy Papaver dubium subsp lecoqii var albiflora used by Cleve West in the M&G garden to stunning effect and wowed the crowds. I am positive it will be sold out by now. As I mentioned before trends come and go but the old classics are here to stay for some time to come.