Top gar­den trends for 2019 Poly­tun­nel vi­sion

The Herald Magazine - - etc GARDENING - DAVE AL­LAN


WE’VE had a year of green­ing up the ur­ban land­scape, cacti crazi­ness and work­ing out how to re­duce plas­tics in gar­den­ing in 2018, but what’s go­ing to be trend­ing for the New Year?

Louise Golden, head of gar­den at Dob­bies Gar­den Cen­tres, pre­dicts the Afrique trop­i­cal look is go­ing to be big next year.

“Peo­ple are go­ing for a big, lush feel to their gar­dens, de­pend­ing on where they are liv­ing. If they’re fur­ther south, they can do that in their gar­dens, while in the north they can plant in pots and pull them into shel­tered places.

“Big dra­matic plants, such as cordy­lines, canna lilies and hardy palms, are go­ing to be on-trend, and richly coloured fo­liage bed­ding plants, such as coleus with amaz­ing leaf pat­terns, will give gar­dens that wow fac­tor.”


Liv­ing walls are still pop­u­lar for those who have lit­tle space and need to grow plants ver­ti­cally, says Golden.

“They’re re­ally easy to in­stall and you can buy self-wa­ter­ing units,” she adds. “You can use them out­side on bal­conies or to green garage walls.”

Put out­side lights above them to add em­pha­sis, and grow herbs in them, which you can add to bar­be­cued foods and sal­ads in sum­mer. Self-wa­ter­ing con­tain­ers and win­dow boxes will con­tinue to gain pop­u­lar­ity in 2019.


Use care­fully po­si­tioned light­ing to pull your fo­cus to a spe­cific area in your gar­den, turn­ing a tree into a prom­i­nent fea­ture, sug­gest land­scape de­sign­ers the Rich broth­ers, Harry and Dave, who work on BBC1’s Gar­den Res­cue and have teamed up with Sig­nify light­ing.

They sug­gest us­ing colour to trans­form your out­door space for any oc­ca­sion, whether it’s a warm white light for a cosy evening or some bright tones to ac­cen­tu­ate a fea­ture.

Golden says: “One trend that we saw last year was upcycling – peo­ple tak­ing an item such as a chest of draw­ers that they’d painted, and then open­ing the draw­ers at var­i­ous lev­els and plant­ing it up. That’s set to con­tinue.

“I’ve also seen a trend with up­cy­cled enamelled con­tain­ers used for plant­ing things like chillis.”


The Riches say that cre­at­ing “rooms” or di­vi­sions in an out­door space has be­come a trend in its own right, adding struc­ture and a sense of com­plex­ity to any gar­den. The broth­ers of­ten match the same tex­ture and tone of a low wall to the house, us­ing the same or sim­i­lar stone.

Low walls can de­fine and act as bound­aries to cer­tain spa­ces, or they can dou­ble up as seat­ing. They pro­vide struc­ture and height, zon­ing dif­fer­ent sec­tions for var­i­ous uses, and, if they are sub­tly lit, can show off form and struc­ture, the broth­ers say.


“This is where the gar­den is a lot more calm­ing,” says Golden. “It’s green, with glossy fo­liage and is mainly ever­greens, so it’s quite tidy, with clean lines.

“It works re­ally well for peo­ple who don’t have much time, as it’s low-main­te­nance,” she adds. White hy­drangeas could be added for cool colour.

“Large-leafed plants such as Fat­sia japon­ica and lush green ferns work re­ally well in these schemes,” Golden says.

APOLYTUNNEL is my life­line to a longer grow­ing sea­son and ten­der sum­mer veg. It opens up pos­si­bil­i­ties I could never en­joy when liv­ing in higher, more mar­ginal ground.

In warmer shel­tered parts of the coun­try, a tun­nel acts just as a green­house does for me. But, in a balmier spot, you’ll need to be sure the tem­per­a­ture or hu­mid­ity isn’t too high.

Ide­ally you’ll have a dry­ish at­mos­phere that re­duces the risk of blight de­vel­op­ing on tomato fo­liage and guar­an­tees a fine ripe crop of pep­pers, chill­ies and aubergines.

At 200 me­tres, I grow fast-ma­tur­ing bush toma­toes, sweet­corn and cu­cum­bers which I’d find im­pos­si­ble out­doors. And over­win­ter­ing en­dives, let­tuce and chard stand a much greater chance of pulling through an icy spell.

My beds are never empty: they’re the only ones that give me two or three crops a year. So, wher­ever you live, if you’ve the space, start the year by plan­ning for a new tun­nel.

You may not have much choice about where to put your new toy but, ide­ally, look for a shel­tered, sunny place.

Tun­nels can and do take some bat­ter­ing, but se­vere gusts will dis­tort the sup­port­ing ribs, thereby putting pres­sure on the poly­thene skin.

The struc­ture gets best pro­tec­tion when the nar­row en­trance di­rectly faces the pre­vail­ing wind, and plants ben­e­fit when the long side is south-fac­ing.

The base must be ab­so­lutely level, and prefer­ably not on a slope.

But mine hasn’t come to too much harm with a slight front-to-back gra­di­ent.

A fi­nal con­sid­er­a­tion is the wa­ter sup­ply.

For many years, I ran a gar­den hose from an out­side tap quite suc­cess­fully, but had the tun­nel piped when the yard was re­laid a few years ago – bliss.

Erect­ing a poly­tun­nel is highly skilled, re­quir­ing at least two peo­ple, so, un­less you’re a DIY ex­pert and have a metic­u­lous eye for de­tail, I’d rec­om­mend en­gag­ing a pro­fes­sional.

I found even re­plac­ing the skin af­ter last win­ter’s snow was pretty de­mand­ing, es­pe­cially as gales had slightly dis­torted one of the ribs.

Wa­ter, weeds and wind are the points to con­sider when run­ning a poly­tun­nel.

Al­though the struc­ture needs to be pro­tected against the weather, some air cir­cu­la­tion is es­sen­tial as it guards against fusts and helps con­trol tem­per­a­ture.

A still at­mos­phere makes

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.