The best garden ideas from BBC Gardeners
Show gardens are impossible to replicate in your own garden, but their ideas and trends can add a lot of wow factor.
The BBC Gardeners World Live show has a lot of interest in small gardens, with smaller “Showcase” gardens and show gardens. There is also a smaller section called ‘Beautiful Borders,’ and wheelbarrows that are planted.
BBC Gardeners World Live at the NEC Birmingham is the main event, but other regional shows are held at other times during the year.
Foliage is important
The attention to detail is one of the main reasons why show gardens are so beautiful. Foliage colors are carefully chosen to either harmonize with or contrast the flower color themes.
Sue Kent’s In the Pink in the Beautiful Borders Section of BBC Gardeners World Live, 2023, marries dark-red bergenia leaves with hot pink blooms.
A little bit of extra planning can transform a color scheme from “pretty” to “gorgeous.” This is something that we can do in our gardens.
Blue flowers and blue foliage go together: The sculptural foliage of Hylotelephium ‘Karfunkelstein,’ a hybridized Sedum, is complemented by blue veronicas or salvias.
The dark red leaves of Physocarpus ‘Lady in Red’ set off the pink Geoff Hamilton rose beautifully on the Barnsdale Gardens’ stand.
A garden or border can be enhanced by contrasting foliage. The Geranium Ivan, in a hot pink color, contrasts beautifully against the Leycesteria leaves. This is the Barnsdale Gardens display at BBC Gardeners World Live.
Kiran Vaidya’s border is based on Kiran’s small shady city garden. He created a lush tropical look by using only foliage. Kiran says foliage is more visible in shady areas, so using leaf contrasts works better than attempting to cover the area with flowers. It’s also less work.
Corten steel is modern and warm
Corten steel is being used more and more in garden design. The material is contemporary but has a rustic texture. It can be used in both city and country gardens. The rusty steel tones add warmth, which is unusual for hard landscaping material.
The top photo is of corten steel planters, which were designed by Carleen Osborne with the help of a horticulture student from Derby College. The arches or half arches in the lower photo are corten steel and were part of the show garden created by Lilidh Mathews and John Tallis. The Sub Aqua garden also had corten raised beds.
Create a rock garden with bricks and rubble
Many people who move into newly built homes find that the builders have left behind a lot of rubble. The builders cover the rubble with topsoil or lawn. The lawn and plants may look fine initially, but they often fail to thrive.
Spend some time removing bricks, stones, and other rubble from the ground before you plant. Instead of having to remove it, pile it in a corner to create a miniature rock garden.
See this post to learn tips and plants for rock gardens.
David Negus, the 3D Gardener, designed this garden in order to inspire people about the possibilities of reusing materials. You can turn a pile of bricks into a rock garden by adding plants and soil.
Don’t forget to use vertical space!
Vertical spaces, such as fences, walls, and trees, can be used to plant. There were also gardens that used vertical space underneath benches and other things.
Fenton Gardens has designed a Sub Aqua garden for those who think they don’t have the space to build a pond. Joshua Fenton covered the seating area outside the house with a grid and placed a pond underneath. The grid will allow chairs and tables to sit comfortably on it.
You can build a pond below your seating area if you do not have enough space. The ‘Sub Aqua Garden’ by Joshua Fenton has a pond beneath the seating area. It is covered by a grid. On the grid, you can place tables and chairs. Be sure that the grid is easily removable for maintenance. The mini-pond tank is located in the upper left corner. The ‘dripping’ water helps to circulate the water.
A corten steel container pond was added to one side. The pump provided a drip to the main pond. This will keep the water moving, which in turn reduces mosquito breeding.
In the Beauty of A Small Space Garden by TJ Kennedy and Kerrianne Fitzgerald of BG Landscapes, they placed bug hotels in steel baskets beneath a bench.
Consider ‘colour’ when choosing a wall or fence.
The RHS Chelsea Flower Show in 2023 was all about painted walls and fences. This makes sense, as we spend so much time selecting the perfect colors and patterns to decorate our walls indoors, but we often settle for a simple fence outside.
Your boundaries have significant impact on your garden’s success. If they have the budget, professional garden designers will always improve fences and walls.
Paint is an inexpensive and simple way to transform the look of your garden.
The pale pink walls of the Beauty of a Small Space Garden, designed by TJ and Kerrianne Fitzgerald of BG Landscapes, were a beautiful backdrop for flowers.
“Edimentals” – the new method of growing vegetables!
Lucy Hutchings showcased a new exciting direction in fruit-and-vegetable growing using BBC Gardeners World Live. The edible plants are called ‘edimentals,’ or decorative edible plants.
There is often no room in today’s small-space gardening for a separate area to grow food. Many gardeners combine edible plants with their main borders, such as Jo Rutherford in her Garden Makeover.
Lucy went one step further and created The Secret Homestead – a show garden made entirely from edible plants. We no longer eat many plants, but we can! Cannas are edible, as well as hostas and marigolds.
Lucy Hutchings, a BBC Gardeners World Live ‘2023 participant, created an edible garden that included mushrooms hanging on the wall as well as trays of microgreens suspended in a window.
Lucy Hutchings has come up with another exciting idea for sediments: growing mushrooms as decorations that you can harvest!