Old-fash­ioned plants back in style


It would seem a re­turn to the favourite heir­loom plants of old is one of the emerg­ing gar­den de­sign trends this year.

Plants that evoke a sense of ro­mance and nostal­gia as well as moody fan­tasy are said to be re­turn­ing even to mod­ern designs.

It is a trend that has evolved from the sus­tain­able fo­cus of re­cent years and as a re­sponse to the un­cer­tain fi­nan­cial times the world has found it­self in. A case of es­capism in the gar­den and warm fuzzies per­haps but what­ever the rea­sons, flow­ery and self­ex­pres­sive gar­dens sim­ply make you feel good.

Amer­i­can land­scape de­signer and blog­ger Thomas Rainer has ob­served ro­man­ti­cism re­turn­ing to our gar­dens and pre­dicts that af­ter all our well thought out sus­tain­able designs we are now go­ing to let loose and gar­den with our hearts.

Creative hedge de­sign, top­i­ary and quirky sculp­tures are some pre­dicted ways that will add fun to oth­er­wise sleek lay­outs and al­low for per­sonal ex­pres­sion. In­spi­ra­tion can come in many forms and a re­cent look around the fore­casted trends in fash­ion re­veal some el­e­ments of de­sign that could be trans­ferred to our phys­i­cal en­vi­ron­ment.

Just as we clothe our­selves for not only prac­ti­cal but also ex­pres­sive rea­sons, so too can our gar­dens be not only use­ful, ie grow­ing food, but also an ex­pres­sion of what pleases our eye.

You can ex­pect ro­mance to be ap­par­ent in some of next sum­mer’s cloth­ing col­lec­tions and the colours to com­mu­ni­cate this mood could be grouped in gar­dens too. These in­clude shades of laven­der, mauve, rose pinks, sky blues and deep blues. Swaths of one or two colours with var­i­ous heights grouped in a curved bed help give a sense of soft­ness and ro­mance.

Nowa­days, there is room for sev­eral trends and even a mix of some­thing from each one.

In Europe five trends have been listed, in­clud­ing in­spi­ra­tion from the 1920s, where struc­ture, sim­ple lines and bold pat­terns pre­dom­i­nate. How would you in­ter­pret this in a gar­den de­sign – with square clipped greenery or bright pat­terns of colour­ful an­nu­als maybe?

Masses of flo­rals are the essence of the up­com­ing ‘‘ gar­den party’’ fash­ion trend in fab­ric. This one would be eas­ily in­ter­preted with beds filled with colour­ful an­nu­als and peren­ni­als wher­ever there is a gap.

Bright gar­ish blues, or­anges and greens will be seen in trop­i­cal pat­terned cloth­ing and it’s not hard to see how a bunch of canna lilies, ba­nanas, stre­litzia (bird of par­adise) and even bright cit­rus grouped to­gether will give this ef­fect.

If plant­ing en masse is be­yond your bud­get but you are still a keen fol­lower of fash­ion, why not have large pots at your front door? Here you can more eas­ily ac­com­mo­date the fick­le­ness of change and have fun plant­ing within a theme or your in­ter­pre­ta­tion of an el­e­ment of cur­rent de­sign.

At the world’s pre­miere fab­ric show in Paris, ad­jec­tives de­scribe the up­com­ing trends for the 2013 sea­son.

‘‘Un­com­pro­mis­ing’’ in­cor­po­rates bold­ness, rad­i­cal lines and colours ( black mondo grass, sin­gu­lar colour dra­matic plant­ing maybe?).

‘‘ Mod­estly’’ has un­der­stated lux­ury with a del­i­cately aged and cosy soft­ness ap­peal, (hy­drangea, gar­de­nia, lambs ears per­haps?). ‘‘Frivolously’’ de­picts a play­ful or sexy per­son­al­ity, a blend­ing of codes (sage, poppy, cacti might be fun) and ‘‘cross­over’’, a con­nect­ing of worlds, of break­ing through borders: in the gar­den per­haps a mix of tex­tures and styles, like a for­mal top­i­ary shrub amid a group of wild­flow­ers.

If you are bored with your gar­den or feel­ing dar­ing then why not take in­spi­ra­tion from the world of fash­ion or other sources and in­ter­pret it how­ever you can for an up­dated and re­fresh­ing change.

Helle­bores: The win­ter rose, one of grandma’s favourites, is tagged for a come­back in fash­ion­able gar­dens.

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