Summer is well and truly here! How do I know? Well it’s been sunny for more than three days in a row, the salad section in Lidl is perpetually empty and Bloom Festival has been and gone. We were kindly invited along this year by Ken and Ruth at the Kildare Gallery, who asked Ivan to paint in their onsite sculpture garden. So once he was up and running I had plenty of time for a look around and to get a sense of the biggest trends this year. So here are the top five trends that you can incorporate in to your own garden , whatever the size and whatever your budget.
The Pantone colour of the year for 2018 is Ultraviolet, so I expected to see plenty of vibrant purples throughout the showgardens and beyond. I wasn’t disappointed. And although purple has always been a popular colour within the garden, the use of it this year was noticeable. There were wonderful varieties of alliums, lupins and delphiniums dotted in amongst many of the show gardens, with a particular nod toward rich jewel tones. Softer hues were provided by lavender and hydrangeas.
Copper is another big trend this year, not only the material itself but the colour accent, as seen through planting. All garden centres and nurseries offer copper coloured plants, whether it be grasses, shrubs or trees, so it’s an easily achieved look. Incorporating copperwork in to the garden can bring a warm hue, and the texture is nicely offset by soft planting. Plus as it ages and weathers it only looks better. Win/win!
Our poor run of Irish summers doesn’t stop us as a nation getting outside to eat, and it’s a trend that continues to grow. What we are seeing recently however is a move away from putting the table and chairs a short hop from the kitchen to dining areas within the body of the garden. This position gives you the full experience that your garden has to offer, whatever the season. Outdoor living areas have become fully functioning rooms in their own right, with pizza ovens, fire pits and outside lights a regular feature in the special buys of Lidl and Aldi. And if you don’t have the room or inclination to potter off down to the back of garden, how about some strategic planting around your dining spot in pots and window boxes? Try planting some night scented stock, which will give a heady scent in the evenings, and tall grasses for a real holiday vibe on a balmy night.
Bear with me, I am not talking about planting mighty oaks and chestnuts, but about low level planting. If you have a bit of a shady spot , whatever the size, think about some woodland plants, they will generally thrive. Present at Bloom were a variety of ferns, across a wealth of the showgardens, and I can understand why, as they are so varied in colour, texture and shape and they perform really well. I was also delighted to see favourite woodland flowers, foxgloves, lily of the valley and cowslips among others. All are readily available at garden centres.
5. ECOLOGICAL GARDENS
Or as I like to call it ‘stop mowing the lawn’. There has been a massive shift in the past number of years in gardening, a move towards an ecological approach. That is an all encompassing title but realistically it can be as simple as banishing the use of weedkiller or slug pellets, planting flowers that encourage bees and insects, or some native planting. And the cheapest and easiest ecological change of all is to leave a patch of the lawn untouched. Even an area 2 metres square will quickly transform itself and become a haven. There was an abundance of ox eyed daisies, poppies, buttercups and clover at Bloom, and these are plants that will probably pop up in your postage stamp habitat too.
So there you have it, now it’s time for me to get out in to the garden and put some of these suggestions in to practice!
Thanks for reading x