First of all I must say that I think trends and gardens don’t really go together and I hope no one makes decisions based on a trend report. Still, it is quite fun to think about the direction things are going in and why, especially when there are so many positive changes happening in the way we act and think about gardening. With that in mind, here are my thoughts on what we will be seeing more of in 2021.
Who said you need acres to fit a sculpture into your garden? In fact it is a perfect feature to include in a smaller space as an all year round focal point. There is such huge interest in antiques and vintage decorative items for the home and of course this will extend into the garden. Luke Edward Hall put an antique bust at the end of a mown path in his garden and it looks brilliant. Flora Soames added a bright cobalt contemporary sculpture to the beautiful woodland. These plots are still quite big but I love the idea of using sculpture in a small courtyard style garden too. For the best inspiration look at Charleston house – long before Instagram was overflowing with images of bum shaped vases, this dianthus-filled lady was already doing her thing.
The idea that the right plant and design choices can increase biodiversity in our gardens is now thankfully well known. This way of thinking has become the norm and wildlife friendliness will be a top criteria for every plant choice, not just for a designated wildlife garden or area. Choosing a rose? Go for one with open flowers so the bees can easily get to the sweet spot. Looking for a lovely climber to cover a fence? Honeysuckle is beautiful and smells amazing, 19 different species of insects feed on it and birds like to take shelter and nest inside it. If you need to put a boundary in you garden, consider a hedge instead of a fence. Hedges offer shelter and food to lots of different animals and birds, and they look wonderful too.
The new generation of gardeners are more likely to have a small patio than a full sized plot. Lots of people are gardening in rented spaces. With this comes the need to be economical, both for financial and moral reasons – being wasteful is just not very 2021. A packet of seeds often gives you tons of plants but for a balcony or windowsill, you only need a few. Joining up with friends and sharing seeds is a great way to increase the number of different varieties you can grow instead of ending up with lots of seedlings of the same thing. Also, bulk buying things like compost is so much more cost effective than getting small bags from the garden centre, and it reduces the amount of plastic packaging needed. If you have a small garden, ask your neighbours if they would like to share and organise a joint delivery. If we are ever allowed to go out again and have meals with friends, then a rooted fig cutting in a vintage terracotta pot makes a lovely dinner party gift. And I can totally see a Hackney Seed Swap happening this year – I’ll be there!
ROMANTIC OLDY WORLDY VIBE
Out with the new, in with the old – literally. Looking at first home owners putting a stamp on their houses, it’s all about vintage and reclaimed furniture and fittings. By the time they get around to the garden they will want the same lived in feeling there. It takes a while to create a garden that looks as though it has always been there, but that’s ok. Being patient whilst sourcing the perfect vintage wrought iron garden seating feels much more appropriate than dashing to the nearest superstore for an instant fix. No more Changing Rooms-style rapid make overs, instead it’s about slowly letting the garden evolve into a lush romantic sanctuary full of soul. Nigel Slater’s garden is the perfect example.
Ok so maybe this isn’t a trend necessarily, more of a wish perhaps. But if I feel this way then it is likely that lots of other people do too. So, we all know that gardening is an amazing hobby, it helps keep you sane and grounded, you help wildlife and biodiversity by doing it and all those other wholesome things. And that’s all great of course but what I have really missed over the last year is all the FUN! After all, the whole purpose of a garden is to enjoy it! I can’t wait to invite a bunch of fabulous friends, let the drinks flow and have a PROPER party. Annoy the neighbours a bit with some loud music. Gossip behind the greenhouse. Put on a nice dress, laugh and be silly and dance among the roses as dusk falls. What do you say – who’s going to join me?