Cultivating Innovative and Sustainable Spaces
There are many elements of gardening, garden design and outdoor planning which remain constant, steeped in tradition and much loved mainstays of gardening in the UK - glorious floral displays, quiet spaces for contemplation and the joy of home grown produce.
But every year there are themes which emerge and new approaches embraced which set the scene for the kind of gardens we see in magazines, at shows and ultimately at home. As we step in to 2024 we explore a few of the exciting gardening trends that look set to feature this year.
Sustainable Gardening Takes Centre Stage
With environmental concerns at the forefront of public consciousness, sustainable gardening practices are gaining momentum as part of the mainstream. The use of organic fertilisers and physical crop protection using fruit cages and cloches, rather than chemicals, composting, and water conservation techniques continue to be increasingly popular.
"Edimentals" is a term coined by Norwegian plantsman and author Stephen Barstow to describe edible perennials. These are plants that are not only ornamental but also have edible parts, making them a practical addition to both ornamental gardens and kitchen gardens.
Edimentals can include a wide variety of plants, such as ornamental flowers, shrubs, and trees that produce edible fruits, leaves, flowers, or roots which are integrated into the landscape, adding beauty to the garden while providing a source of fresh, homegrown food - helping gardens become both aesthetically pleasing and functional.Some examples of edimentals include:
- Daylilies (Hemerocallis): Known for their vibrant and attractive flowers, daylilies also produce edible buds and flowers that can be used in salads or as a garnish.
- Hosta: Popular for their decorative foliage, certain hosta varieties have edible shoots and leaves that can be cooked and eaten.
- Nasturtium (Tropaeolum majus): These colorful flowers are not only visually appealing but also have peppery-tasting leaves and flowers that can be used in salads.
- Lavender (Lavandula): Known for its aromatic flowers, lavender is also used in culinary applications, such as flavoring desserts and teas.
- Violas and Pansies (Viola spp.): These flowers are not only delightful in the garden but are also edible, often used to decorate salads or desserts.
- Chives (Allium schoenoprasum): While primarily grown for their onion-flavored leaves, chive plants also produce attractive purple flowers that are edible.
- Rhubarb (Rheum rhabarbarum): Rhubarb is a classic example of an ornamental plant with edible stalks, commonly used in desserts and jams.
- Blueberry Bushes (Vaccinium spp.): Many varieties of blueberry bushes are not only ornamental but also produce delicious and nutritious berries.
Urban Gardening Continues to Rise
Urban gardening, a trend that has been steadily growing, is expected to reach new heights in 2024. As urban spaces become more crowded, people are finding innovative ways to incorporate greenery into their lives. Vertical gardening using Obelisks and Garden Structures, rooftop gardens and container growing, along with community allotments are becoming common sights in cities across the UK, transforming concrete jungles into lush oases.
Colour and Texture in Garden Materials
There’s been a step away over recent years from the ubiquitous ‘racing green’ plant supports and glossy black structures - contemporary gardens are now typified by using warm and muted shades in their structures and materials giving a heritage feel. By incorporating pre aged rustic finishes, or including a subtle colour on obelisks, arches and even fruit cages you can immediately raise the style stakes in your garden without detracting from the planting. Where a more traditional or formal look is called for Agriframes Traditional Matt Black Textured finish on a structure or screen is the perfect combination of drama and style.
Climate Conscious Gardening Practices
Scientists confirm that 2023 was the hottest year on record, last year the UK experienced scorching heatwaves, water shortages, and devastating floods.
As climate change continues to impact weather patterns, gardeners are adapting their practices to cope with the changing conditions, taking inspiration from the Praries of America and the hillsides of the Mediterranean - by selecting drought resistant plants, able to withstand changing climates, planting can help mitigate the effects of climate change and gardens can be adapted to thrive.
Wellness Gardens for Mental Health
The awareness of the positive impact of green spaces on mental health has led to the rise of wellness gardens. Gardening is increasingly recognised not only as a productive hobby but also as a therapeutic activity. Designs that incorporate meditation areas, sensory gardens, and plants known for their calming properties are gaining popularity, creating spaces for relaxation and rejuvenation.
‘Open air sitting rooms’ might sound like a modern idea, but the phrase was coined over a century ago by Octavia Hill, co-founder of the National Trust. Few gardens are now without a space to sit and eat, celebrate or rest. Create a sense of place with a gazebo over a table, a shaded seating area under a Pergola or a private space for contemplation beneath an Arch.
Bold Uplifting Planting schemes
Particularly at RHS Chelsea Flower Show we see distinct trends for planting colour and style - often there is an ethereal theme with a lot of light pastels and white, some years there is a strong move towards green with foliage taking the top billing.
The good news is that in 2024 the prediction is for a riot of colour with rich velvet tones, maroons, purples and deep orange hues will make for joyful and dramatic gardens to inspire us all to feel a little more playful with our planting.
Eco-Friendly Garden Design Materials
Gardeners are opting for eco-friendly options such as recycled materials, reclaimed wood, and sustainable landscaping products. This eco-conscious approach not only reduces environmental impact but also adds a unique and thoughtful touch to garden aesthetics.
The importance of sustainability is reflected in the gardens showcased at RHS Chelsea 2024, all of which are assessed carefully as part of the selection process to ensure that there has been consideration of the environmental impact of the design and materials.
Making sure that structures you use in the garden will last for generations is a great step - Agriframes quality guarantee ensures that your structure won't need replacing for many years to come.
Nurturing Biodiversity with Wildlife-Friendly Gardens
Gardeners are increasingly recognising the importance of supporting local wildlife. Planting pollinator-friendly flowers, setting up bird feeders, and incorporating features like ponds or insect hotels are becoming common practices. The aim is to create gardens that are not only beautiful but also serve as havens for diverse wildlife, contributing to the conservation of native species.