Gardening trends 2013
What are the trends for 2013? Telegraph kindly used a potted version of this on 5 January. Amateur Gardening used one late last year. There’s 15 here…
Outdoor lighting as an antidote to 2012’s sodden BBQ-free year. LED lighting for urban food production. From the cheerful bestseller Bright Eye Happy Hens which light up your garden to extend garden use when it’s dark but not raining, to serious moves towards the brilliantly Tomorrow’s World-style mobile racks for multi-tiered crop production, LED’s are transforming gardening into a 24-hour activity, be it for leisure or serious growing. Coming your way soon (as TW would say) Philips Lighting LED lights at Stockbridge Technology Centre for horticultural research in North Yorkshire enable light spectrum adjustment and flexibility, for growing a range of low level crops such as herbs, leafy salads, flowers, strawberries and plants in propagation. Alnwick Garden has also installed ‘Sparkle’, a permanent lighting installation designed to attract visitors during ‘shoulder months’ in spring and autumn.
Garden centre cafes
Garden centre catering – people will notice that almost everyone eats at garden retailers. There were 55m visits to garden centre cafes in 2011 according to Ipsos Mori surveys, up from 36m in 2008. Going to a garden centre café may be deeply unfashionable, but if you see the rustic charm of Michelin-starred Petersham Nurseries, you witness another story.
Secondary school gardening
Secondary school gardening – now most primary schools are covered by the RHS Campaign for Schools Gardening scheme launched in 2007 and with more than 10,000 schools involved within three years. Few secondaries do horticulture but breaking the trail are schools such as Wilmington Academy in Kent, Alan Titchmarsh’s favourite, the Oathall community college in Hayward’s Heath and Carshalton Boys Sports College, a school Jamie Oliver and Prince Charles visited recently to see how they get students to eat better through learning how to grow. With increased tuition fees putting people off going to university, horticulture may be one of the things that can benefit.
Visiting gardens with a serious eye
Rory Stuart’s new book What Are Gardens For (Frances Lincoln), and Anne Wareham’s thinkingardens.com website are getting garden visitors to look more seriously and critically and what they see. Stuart asks: “What do we expect of gardens – when we make them and when we visit them? Could we get more from them, if we thought harder about what it is we want and why we make gardens? This book approaches the experience of being in a garden from many different angles, questioning many of our easily-adopted assumptions and suggesting ways of getting more from any garden, whether it is our own or one we are visiting.”
After a poor season caused by endless rain, and with the grow your own boom dying out, gardeners who got into GYO in the last few years may be running out of inspiration. Time to look outside the box. Camping, socialising, competition veg growing, even joining the dreaded committee could re-invigorate your love of allotmenteering.
Ahead of nationwide celebrations of the tercentenary of Capability Brown’s birth in 2016, garden history is beginning to take a more prominent role.
There’s the Garden Museum with its Floriculture Flowers, Love, and Money from14th February to 28th April 2013, an exhibition telling the story of the cut flower trade from the 17th century until today. And there’s the British Museum’s blockbuster exhibition Life and death in Pompeii and Herculaneum (28 March – 29 September 2013), which has a strong emphasis on domestic life in AD 79. Everyone will want their own hortus (garden) after seeing this show. The hortus was a place for rest and relaxation for Romans. Objects on display include frescoes decorating a garden room, marble and bronze statues of people, gods and animals and fountain spouts.
Women in gardening
Women now run the RHS, Horticultural Trades Association, and the National Trust, chair the Society of Garden Designers and edit more gardening publications than before. This may lead to changes in how garden attractions, gardening media and garden bodies work. On the other hand, it might not.
Children’s attractions and gardening
Britain’s biggest garden centre chain The Garden Centre Group now has more than 40 soft play areas in its outlets. Tamworth garden centre Planters has a new Sky Trail adventure course in its plant area. While retailers are installing shamelessly colourful attractions that have no link to gardens, bodies such as the National Trust and RHS prefer ‘natural’ play areas, such as those recently built at Morden Hall, Box Hill and Gibside and Wisley. More controversially, the Trust also wants a privately-run BeWILDerwood ‘imaginative adventure park’ to cover 125 acres of Tatton Park.
A jardinière boom could be prompted by Monty Don’s new series on French gardens, due on the BBC in March. Think parterre, broderie, allee, Patte d’Oie. The series follows Don’s Italian Gardens shows of 2011 and his Around the World in 80 gardens (2008).
Peruvian Tree Lilies (Alstroemeria), reaching 6ft plus by the end of summer and great for cutting. Also for patios, Crazytunia Mandevilla, which are mounded and weather-proof petunias in new colours and patterns. Both from Thompson & Morgan.
Meadow, meadows and more meadows and the rather wild and weedy look of Olympic designer Sarah Price. Everyone will want a wildflower meadow post-Olympics when Nigel Dunnett (also back at Chelsea’s) beautiful planting stunned millions. A plethora of products and seeds are on the market. Replace your lawn (or a bit of it) to get the Olympic golden (or multicoloured) look with an April sowing. Properly prepare the ground first of course.
Next year is year of the sweetpea, says just about everyone else who has ever sold or bred Britain’s most popular annual. New breeding has reinvigorated the cottage garden favourite. Pale lavender multiflora Lathyrus ‘Chelsea Centenary’ could be big during the RHS show –it’s one of 25 new varieties from Mr Fothergill’s. Suttons, Unwins and Kings have followed suit with revamped ranges for 2013. Thompson & Morgan’s new two-tone purple bloom ‘Erewhon’ is unusual because it inverts the usual colour pattern for sweet peas, with its lower petals darker than the ones above.
Are you a lazy gardener who wants to grow flowers from a bottle at the shake of a wrist? Flower Magic shaker from Scotts Miracle-Gro(£12.99) is a colourful follow up to the company’s Patch Magic lawn seed shaker. The product includes flower seed and fertiliser in coir. Westland has launched a similar product in a pouch or clip strip – GroSure Easy Flowers (from £2.99).
The poor economy and the RHS Chelsea Flower Show centenary will trigger vintage plant and equipment sales. In tough times people try to hold on to what they feel is safe and comforting. Things from the past or from your childhood generally give you a reminder of good times, a time when you don’t have the stresses of adult life. Replica items include Victorian terracotta pots, fruit crates, sieves, string and line, buckets, glass cloches and seed boxes. There is also an edge towards old logos – tea-light holders that have a vintage seed packet design on them. Also bottle gardens and terrariums. And watch out for 100-year-old trees at Chelsea.
Young royals at Chelsea
At Chelsea Flower Show, the big news is that Prince Harry is set to attend on behalf of his Sentebale charity, which helps the deprived of Lesotho. Prince Charles’ favourite designer Jinny Blom has designed the Sentebale show garden. At Chelsea, also look out for heavyweight designer names Christopher Bradley-Hole, Ulf Nordjfell, Michael Balston, and, inevitably, Diarmuid Gavin. And of course, the ultimate ‘name’ at the show, The Queen, who will visit for a 49th time.