Gardening sub-editor Diane Peacock takes a look at a few favourite trends at this year’s Garden World Spring Festival
This year’s festival theme is ‘Nature’s Bounty’ and all 17 gardens demonstrate just how easy it is to establish a beautiful, eco-friendly garden that requires very little upkeep. The use of plants like succulents, aloes and other indigenous species that naturally store water was prevalent. The fact that these varieties encourage wildlife to visit the garden was also highlighted. My favourite trends included the way in which grasses, bark-chip mulch and succulents were used, as well as the concept of outdoor living.
One of the ideas I loved most was the use of grasses and plants with grass-like foliage. These blend in well with most plants. They give a natural look that’s reminiscent of the freedom found in the countryside. Grasses are extremely low maintenance and can be propagated easily by division.
In the front section of “The Sun, the Earth, the Water” garden, alongside the water feature, black mondo grass (ophiopogon) looks striking with Nandina domestica ‘Pygmaea’.
The grasses here integrate easily into the surrounding landscape to create a tapestry of texture. It’s colour shading with foliage plants.
There’s something soothing about grasses and Vincent used their understated tones in an exciting combination with cineraria. It’s also an example of how repetition creates unity and harmony.
“The Living Roof” garden, designed by Jamie Ferreira and landscaped by Jamie D Landscape Design, was a splendid mix of purple and orange hues and featured an eye-catching rough-skin lemon tree.
A number of the gardens featured bark chips which were used as a ground cover as well as a mulch to keep water from evaporating. While it discourages pests and disease I also love the way it functions not only as a unifying element but makes areas appear uncluttered and clean.
The bark chip mulch blended in smoothly with aloes, ericas, leucadendrons and mimetes.
Another popular element was the lavish use of succulents which store water, and like grasses, can be propagated easily by division.
Of course, enjoying your garden as a living space is a trend that remains popular. There was a panoply of great ideas for transforming outdoor areas into functional and relaxing spaces including using bold colours, mixed plantings and fruits and herbs planted in raised containers.
Raised planters make it easier to garden as there’s less bending involved and help to minimise the effect of high boundary walls.