In an ever changing gardening world, everyone is looking for both short term and long term drivers which we use to shape the way that we British gardeners use our outdoor spaces.
We took a look at what we at T&M thought would be the top 10 trends for 2019:
1. Hot colours and cold hardiness
Our customers are increasingly looking to add the tropical or temperate touch to the garden. Perhaps as a result of tightening purse strings and less foreign holidays, we’re seeing more interest in both seasonal summer exotics and hardy plants with an exotic feel to them. Perhaps it’s just the hot weather this summer.
• Great examples of seasonal summer display plants that may need to be brought indoors during winter, or protected from frosts – thunbergia, mandevilla, cobaea, glory lily, palms, banana, jacobinia (Brazilian Fuchsia).
• Other plants that have an exoctic look or feel to them but actually hardy in our British climate – lewisia, Campsis ‘Indian Summer’, Fatsia japonica, bamboo, palms, alstroemeria, gerbera.
• Houseplants that always feel exotic year round – Bird of Paradise and Parrot Plant (Impatiens niamniamensis), citrus.
2. Extending summer
With cold starts to the past few seasons, our customers are looking to make the most of warm weather moving into autumn. Many of our recent summer introductions look to tackle this by having much longer flowering periods, to maximise garden enjoyment for our customers:
SunBelievable™; new rudbeckias; renewed focus on dahlias – all flowering into November or the first hard frosts of autumn.
3. Wabi sabi
Wabi sabi is the art of imperfect beauty; appreciating imperfections in life and the ability to age gracefully (shabby chic). In the garden, this translates as a delicate balance between nature and nurture – a natural feel in the garden yet with a design edge. Thompson & Morgan’s seed scatter boxes work well in this concept as whilst there is a “random” element to the seed distribution, there is also a uniformness in the fact that the varieties have been carefully chosen to suit the desire effect. Our Perennial collections have a similar, though slightly more formal feel to them, giving a wider range of heights, colours and textures in a flower bed.
4. Grow your own protein
The vegan movement has gained momentum on social media and in wider media in the past 12 months, becoming more widely recognised as a way of living in the mainstream society. This, alongside the issue of how we sustainably feed the world’s fast-rising population has led to a shift to high protein veg as an alternative to meat.
Good examples of veg that are high in protein are: Peas, spinach, kale, broccoli, sprouts, mushrooms and globe artichokes.
5. Purple reigns
The health properties of purple vegetables continue to appeal, usually being higher in anti-oxidants and vitamins as well as having “plate appeal” in restaurants too.
Varieties to look out for include:
6. Generation rent
With more and more people now choosing to live in rented accomodation, we’re seeing an uplift in houseplants and ‘take-away’ garden containers that can easily be transported to a new property, conatinerised plants are also much easier to rearrgange according to colour schemes, seasonal changes etc
• New this season we have introduced is a full range of house plants to help our customers that are looking into indoor gardening
• Alongside this we have increased the number of pre-planted pots and baskets we have available to our customers, alongside our garden ready plants, which are ideal for planting straight into pots and baskets too
• Shrubs and perennials ideal for containers have also been on the rise, again these can be grown in a large pot and transported easily to a new home without the risk ofloosing an established plant grown in the ground and uprooting it.– more compact forms of garden favourites are; Lavatera ‘Barnsley Baby’ and Buddleja ‘Buzz’™.
7. Climate gardening
David Wolfe, Department of Horticulture at Cornell University said:
“We are in the unfortunate situation of being the first generation of gardeners ever, who cannot rely on historical weather records to tell us what our climate is, or what to expect in the future.”
Our customers are increasingly realising that we need to work with what we’ve got and are asking for planting solutions for;
• Wind-swept gardens
• Longer periods of heat/drought
• Extended periods of wet/rain
• Extreme cold/frost
Summer bedding needs to withstand drought, but also be able to bounce back after summer down-pours – deeming it “weatherproof”
Spring bedding must be able to cope with increasingly poor winters.
Our hardy nursery stock has to cope with all these factors.
As such, all our new T&M plant introductions are tested for their suitability to variable UK conditions, with the above four factors in mind.
8. Under cover gardeners
Again, off the back of more unpredictable weather patterns, we at Thompson & Morgan are seeing increased use of greenhouses, cloches and cold frames in our customer gardens to help level out climate and environment. These help regulate temperatures for crops such as tomatoes and cucumbers an make pleasant environments to garden in too!
9. Stress relief
By 2030, anxiety will be the number one health issue, outranking obesity. A recent survey by Ypulse shows 81% of 18-34 years old are making mental health a priority, looking for new ways to balance physical and mental wellness via ‘digital detox’. Switching off the technology and getting outside.
Gardening and plants can play a big part in mental wellness. Being surrounded by air-purifying plants, creating a quiet tranquil space, eating a plant-based diet are all reflections of wellness trends that have become status symbols for people who make health a priority.
10. Living Social Network
The concept of companion planting (eg. growing marigolds with tomatoes to keep whitefly away) has moved on from plant pairing to viewing planting schemes as a living ‘social network’ rather than a collection of
individual plants. Creating symbiosis between plants puts the focus on garden design and management rather than time-consuming garden maintenance.
• Low-growing evergreen grasses being grown as a green mulch to reduce watering and weeding.
• Planting nitrogen fixing plants such as lupins to fix nitrogen and feed soil (and using green manures in general).
• Planting taller plants in gardens to create shade and shelter for smaller additions.
• Growing scented flowers to keep pests away and others to attract beneficial insects and also to help the environment by encouraging bees and butterflies.
• Further symbiotic link with the use of mycorrhizal fungi, with research now showing ‘communication’ and transfer of nutrients, plant to plant, carried by fungi.
Kris Collins works as Thompson & Morgan’s quality control manager, making sure customers new and old are kept up to date on the latest plant developments and company news via a wide range of media sources. He trained in London’s Royal Parks and has spent more than a decade writing for UK gardening publications before joining the team at Thompson & Morgan.