2014 is all about big planting schemes, perennials doubling up as annuals and falling in love with shrubs again. Here are our top gardening trends…
Lots of gardeners are starting to get wise with their planting schemes and choosing plants that give you “more bud for your buck”! Not only are these plants better value than some other choices, but they always cover more ground in the garden. Why grow a few, shy bedding plants when you can grow lovely, big, lush specimens that will act as a natural weed suppressant?
Some examples are huge Begonia ‘Lotto Mixed’, with giant leaves like water-lily pads and lovely big, clear flowers, twice the size of traditional begonias. Sunpatiens is also one to look out for – a mildew-free Busy Lizzie, which is 3 times the size of usual Busy Lizzies in plant size, root system AND flower size!
Thompson & Morgan has also started a bit of a trend in using perennials as bedding. Penstemon ‘Wedding Bells’ Mixed is a perfect example – traditionally known as a cottage garden plant, penstemons actually make an excellent substitute for antirrhinums, they’re free of rust, extra long flowering and available in almost every colour you can think of! Coreopsis and gaillardia also make brilliant ‘double annuals’ with superb drought resistance, tolerating long, hot summers and surviving the coldest of winters too.
Bulbs that last for years
An occasional complaint with bulbs is they don’t come back reliably each year. With this in mind we had a good hard look and came up with some ‘perennial bulbs’ – specific mixes of tough varieties that come back as reliably as any border perennial. Tulip ‘Everlasting Mixed’ is the perfect example, as is the ultra colourful lily ‘Forever Mixed’. Each of these can last more than 10 years in the ground, unlike many other varieties!
Shrubs are making a comeback
For many years, shrubs were seen as the tired old relatives of the border, but now they’re experiencing a revival. They’re so reliable and almost create the backbone of your border, supporting the perennials and annuals that you choose to grow alongside them. Even those shrubs which are seen as ‘parks and gardens shrubbery’ specimens are now being used in gardens – think hebe, philadelphus (for its sticky orange scented blooms) and the colourful, shimmering patchwork of euonymus.