Trends in gardening for 2016
Most of us in the world of gardening like to try and predict top trends for the coming year. What will we all be into? Will any major new trends emerge influenced by the media, garden shows or even the weather? Or perhaps current trends will remain strong, after all fashions rarely change completely in the course of a season, and gardening trends can take longer to unfold because of the timescales involved. Anyway here are my thoughts for the coming year and I welcome your suggestions.
Purple, mauve, blue and grey have dominated the colour palette for a few years and will undoubtedly remain safe favourites. Orange has become prominent in the fashion world in the past couple of seasons and it has gained popularity in the garden. Orange tulips, heleniums and rudbeckias are best sellers. Does this mean a trend towards yellow again? Yellow has been out of favour for some time, but we have seen rays of sunshine penetrate summer clothing, and I’ve seen more sunny yellows in plants like coreopsis. So maybe a good sunny summer will overcome our aversion?
Anything to attract bees and butterflies is set to remain popular. New varieties of scabious come thick and fast. Not all are long lasting garden plants, and they only really work on well-drained alkaline soil in full sun, but that won’t stop us planting them.
Daisy flowers: rudbeckias, echinaceas, leucanthemum are still at the top of the plant charts. As the boundaries between seasonal bedding plant and herbaceous perennial become more blurred anything that grows from a plug plant to saleable stock in a few months dominates the garden centre scene. Retailers want a compact, appealing plant that blooms well in a pot and many compact forms of prairie daisy fit the bill.
The popularity of foxgloves never seems to wane. They fit into naturalistic schemes and the “scruffy bits” of more formal designs. Gardeners always love something with a spike so lupins have also been enjoying a surge in popularity. Traditional varieties are still widely grown, but new ones like the West Country series may be stealing the show. They offer compact. Solid spikes and rich colours.
Violas or all shapes and sizes are likely to remain high in the popularity stakes. They suit the current affinity with nostalgia and shabby chic. Specialist viola nurseries were show stealers at last year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show, demand outstripping the nurseries’ supply. Violas successfully appeal across several areas, from the enthusiast to the novice gardener who wants something cheerful for pots and containers.
Hydrangeas tick similar boxes. The wealth of new varieties of Hydrangea macrophylla, Hydrangea paniculata and Hydrangea arborescens means these will remain our most popular flowering shrubs in 2016. Sold as pot plants, container plants and long term garden subjects they appeal to a wide range of gardeners.
Vegetables and fruit
I feel the enthusiasm for grow-your-own has grown up with a more rational approach to home production. The first couple of years saw gardeners diving in, encouraged by media hype to grow any kind of vegetables anywhere. Many of the products launched as ‘grow your own’ containers and aids were less than fit for purpose and coupled with selection of the wrong varieties must have produced disappointing results. With the wealth of information available on line in a connected world young gardeners have a more focussed, determined approach and the new generation of vegetable gardeners are more likely to succeed. The approach is far more holistic embracing respect for wildlife, organic methods and water conservation. Interest in flowers to grow with vegetables is a good indication of the attitude we will have to vegetable gardening in the coming year.
Flowers for Cutting
Our interest in grow your own has extended to ornamentals; producing flowers for cutting for the house. Houseplants may have declined in popularity, but they have been replaced by a wider variety of more sophisticated cut flowers. Style here reflects the popular garden flowers. Lots of cottage garden favourites, both annual and perennial and roses with a wonderfully nostalgic character.
The popularity of our courses on The Cutting Garden and The Fragrant Garden is indicative of the interest in home grown cut flowers.
A more relaxed approach to the patio has resulted in low level seating with the focus on chilling out and conversation, rather than dining. All weather cushions and the evolution of resin weave (synthetic rattan) has made this possible.
Firepits have taken over from the clay or cast iron chimnea and the gas patio heater. The best of the fire pits are amazing when working properly and not smoking out those around them, or showering them with sparks. I bet in most cases they are short-term novelties and become very redundant in the longer run. A bit like the charcoal barbecue they are kit for the committed.
Whatever the New Year brings here at MyGardenSchool we will continue to keep you up to date on all aspects of the world of gardening, here on the blog and through our courses. So keep visiting and reading and do join us in class. New courses are being added all the time, so there’s always something new in our wonderful world of gardening.