As we plan for new beds, borders, patio plantings and hard landscaping, it’s a good time to find out what followers of fashion will be doing to their gardens in the New Year.
But does the average gardener really follow trends? Well, we no longer see the sky blue fences that once graced many a garden in the classic makeover show Ground Force, and the popularity in certain annual bedding plants has diminished in favour of more low-maintenance, permanent planting - but do true gardeners follow fashion?
“I think fashion in gardening is a fallacy because people will buy their favourites and it’s wildly influenced by what’s in production,” says Andy McIndoe, plantsman, lecturer for www.my-garden-school.com, writer and blogger, who won 25 consecutive Gold Medals at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show as managing director of Hillier Nurseries.
However, certain trends will continue in the New Year because of people’s awareness of the importance of protecting the planet.
“People are growing fewer bedding plants and more and more seed-raised perennials, opting for varieties that are single flowered, naturalistic and attractive to bees and butterflies. Wildlife planting will continue to increase in popularity,” he says.
The recent news that more than three-quarters of the UK’s butterflies have declined in the past 40 years should only encourage this trend, with more people planting varieties including scabious, buddleia, Michaelmas daisies, thistles, wild rocket and catmint, along with other insect-attracting plants. All of the shaggy, natural-looking plants are popular, along with any of the single daisies such as leucanthemum.Gaillardia (a great nectar source) used to be a rather zinnia-like subject but it’s still very popular,” says McIndoe.
“Anything to do with bees has become cult, which has had a huge influence on the garden chemical market. People are really wary of anything that isn’t nature-friendly and organic.”
People are not as enthusiastic about having immaculate lawns as they once were, McIndoe observes.
“People aren’t as fussy about having a perfect green sward and unfortunately those that have small gardens and want a perfect lawn are increasingly using artificial grass, while others opt for alternative landscaping surfaces such as gravel or paving.”