FRONT OF SHOW
With social media making it easier than ever to show off the fruits of your labour, there’s never been a more popular time to put your gardening skills out front for everyone to see. Brits are striving to stand out in their street, and are utilising every visible space to maximise their curb appeal – adding value to their property at the same time.
City-dwellers are also three times more likely to feature window boxes to make the most of their smaller spaces, with specially selected climbers, roses, shrubs and vegetables. Did you know you can grow cherry tomatoes and strawberries in a hanging basket or pot? Hanging baskets have seen a 32 percent increase in growth since 2016, while 45 percent of gardeners now use shrubs or trees to make their front door the star of the show.
Traditional, old-time favourites are returning to our beds and borders more and more, and gardeners are gaining greater awareness of the benefits of UK-grown produce and plant health. Tried and tested classics are having a resurgence, as are rockeries, with alpines accounting for 15 percent of all perennial sales last year.
The most popular varieties were: geraniums, winter primroses, begonias, petunias and marigolds in bedding plants; orchids, succulents and cacti, and foliage plants in houseplants; hydrangeas, magnolias and lavender for shrubs; and heathers and rhododendrons among alpines and ericaceous varieties. Edible gardens also witnessed a boost, with more and more species coming from the UK now that consumers are more aware of the need to champion native species.
Brits are now looking beyond technique and expertise in the garden towards fun, innovative displays of light, colour, texture and fragrance, bringing their gardens to life throughout all the seasons. The younger generation of gardeners are being inspired by fashion and interior trends, with the internet and social media having a huge influence over shopping habits – 21 percent of Brits now use social media as their main source of gardening inspiration.
Planting by colour is now a popular trend, and Pantone’s 2019 Colour of the Year, Living Coral, has even filtered down into gardeners’ shopping habits, buying roses, peonies and petunias in the pretty colour. Fragrance and texture are also important, meaning lavender, rosemary, ferns and ornamental grasses have seen a surge in sales, with gardeners favouring plants that are both fragrant and offer a unique, architectural look.
Lighting is another important aspect in the garden, with searches for ‘shade tolerant shrubs’ up 110 percent last year, and nearly one fifth of gardeners listing shade as their number one concern in the garden.
HEALTH AND HEALING
The wellness trend is set to grow even further in 2019, with more people wanting to reap the mental and physical health benefits of gardening, as well as enjoying healthy, home-grown produce. Gardening can offer a myriad of health benefits, so it’s no surprise that there was an increased interest in getting the little ones into the garden last year too.
According to Wyevale, 22 percent of us claim wanting to grow our own produce as the number one reason for pulling on the garden gloves, with the growing interest in vegetarianism and veganism having a further impact on this trend. Air-purifying plants are also popular, with the top five being peace lilies, spider plants, fiddle-leaf figs, ferns and aloe vera.
While interiors are transforming into veritable jungles, garden designs are now reflecting the layouts of interior spaces, with separate areas for dining, entertaining, relaxing and getting active. Houseplant sales were up 31 percent last year, and the top trends are still tropical and botanical styles for furnishings.
Outside, more people are dividing up their gardens, with upright grasses and evergreen bamboo offering privacy from prying eyes, as well as creating a calm and cool atmosphere. The gifting of outdoor plants has also become more popular, as people are more aware of the need to avoid single-use items, and the most popular varieties are hydrangeas, lavenders, rhododendrons, azaleas and camellias.
GIVING BACK IN THE GARDEN
Discussions around climate change and new policies on sustainability are creating a new generation of savvy gardeners who are doing all they can to do their bit to protect the earth – whether it’s eco-friendly gardening products or caring for wildlife. Nearly 60 percent of British gardeners leave out food or provide homes for wildlife, while 70 percent grow plants that increase biodiversity.
There has also been a new interest in pollution-tolerant plants, which are better at withstanding smog in built-up, urban areas. Some of these varieties include camellias, buddleja (or butterfly bush), Charles Lamont, berberis, Japanese quince, and escallonia ‘iveyi’.