Fashion and new trends affect us all in some way, whether it is how we decorate our homes or what we wear, and it is no different for our gardens.
Chelsea Flower Show provides a great platform for nurseries to showcase their latest plant varieties and for garden designers to influence us with what will be ‘hot’ in garden design.
The message I got from my visit to the show this year was most certainly concern about the environment and climate change, and what we can do as gardeners to protect our planet. With this in mind, designers used sustainable materials for hand landscaping and drought tolerant plants in their designs.
The designer Chris Beardshaw took the construction of The Morgan Stanley Garden to another level using diggers powered by electricity. The relaxation pod in his design had a bamboo floor and the outside walls were clad in an innovative Ultra-thin stone product, which not only reduces demands on our natural stone resources, but on the building itself being as it is lightweight.
Chris used more than 2,000 plants in his design which were grown in recyclable taupe pots made from UK post-consumer waste. At the end of the show the garden was dismantled and re-purposed with three East London community based projects for even more people to enjoy.
Woodland style gardens with lush green planting and trees were very evident at this year’s show. Planting styles were wild and free creating a naturalistic harmony of plants.
One of the most popular plants used by garden designers, and one that I often use in my own designs, was the foxglove. With its majestic spires of colour, it fits seamlessly into any style of garden.
Of course we gardeners don’t worry about fashion when it comes to what we wear when we are head down in our borders – but back in the 1950’s and 60’s no self-respecting male gardener would be seen without a shirt and tie. And for the famous lady gardener’s of the day, namely Vita Sackville-West, she preferred to wear breeches and boots to tend her Sissinghurst Castle Garden.
These days our favourite T.V. gardeners have a completely new look – we all recognise Monty Don with his Edwardian-style trousers, braces and crumpled blue linen jacket giving him that shabby chic look.
My husband has a pile of old clothes affectionately known to us both as his ‘old togs’. These consist of an old blue jumper which has pulled threads where it has been snagged by countless rose thorns and a pair of slightly ripped jeans.
I don’t have a fashion ‘style’ for gardening – I wish I did. In my mind I see myself in a floral summer dress with a wide brimmed hat – totally impractical and in reality it is more often what I am wearing at the time!
During the summer months my mum favours her pyjamas and a pair of crocs primed ready at the back door for those early morning checks on her garden when she sees a plant that needs urgent dead-heading or staking up. We often laugh about this and wonder how many other people do the same?
Whatever trends or fashion fads there are this year, enjoy your garden and do what makes you happy.
Until next time