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.