What are the major trends that will be influencing the world of gardening this year? What are the top plants? Are our top designers watching? Clare Foster explores the direction the landscape industry is headed in 2023.
Green and sustainable gardens
No matter whether we want to or whether we like it or not, it is affecting the majority of our garden activities and decisions at the moment. These past few years have been marked by extreme weather conditions in the UK that range from drought to floods, as being a general increase in temperatures across the year. This is now influencing changes in the way we plant. The most important thing is that the decisions we make when the creation, maintenance, and care of our landscapes are influenced by the need to be more environmentally sustainable, whether it’s conserving water, creating more variety of plants, or selecting local and ethically sourced materials.
One of the biggest designs for gardens we’ll observe during the year is the method that manipulates soil properties in order to create plant zones using nutrient-poor substrates. This kind of gardening is exemplified in the groundbreaking Walled Garden at Knepp Castle, which was designed by Tom Stewart-Smith and Tom Stuart-Smith. A brand new, softly undulating garden was created with layers of crushed concrete and sand. The reason for this is to create a greater variety of plants in a soil that is deficient in nutrients because the weeds that are tenacious like thesetles and nettles are less likely to invade. Many drought-tolerant plants can thrive in this environment, requiring minimal or no irrigation. Designer Emily Erlam is increasingly using this method: ‘I’ve been recommending lighter planter beds for the majority of our perennials to establish in. This helps to ensure good, established, and lasting. I’ve also been adding the mulch of 5 cm to dry-landing. It is an investment; however the plants need less watering.
Based on this, drought-tolerant Mediterranean-type plants will remain well-loved, but when moving it to the next level and putting an emphasis on selecting plants that can withstand a broad range of conditions, ranging from dry summer weather to winter flooding.
Planting color fashions
Garden designers like Tommaso del Buono and Helen Elks-Smith have predicted a trend for planting with darker hues and a few tiny bursts of color. Plants that have dark or plump foliage and stems like Anthriscus Sylvestris “Ravenswing” Sambucus the nigra, Angelica gigas, or bronze fennel can serve as a backdrop for vibrant colours of the meadow-like flowers that are dotted like geums, verbenas, and scabious. The grey and purple shades of smokey purple in flowering plants like Papaver “Amazing Grey and Aconitum ‘Stainless Steel along with Amsonia hubrichtii will be admired.
The habitats for wildlife are designed to be sustainable.
Garden designers are exploring new ways to incorporate wildlife habitats into gardens with creative landscaping and sculptured or structural elements. Bee posts made of wood that are perforated fences, gabion planters, or sheds with built-in bug homes will become increasingly sought-after, as shown by green roof specialists John Little and Tom Massey, who is developing for the Royal Entomological Garden during the Chelsea Flower Show, will show some of these concepts The garden’s hard materials that are used in this garden also create habitats for insects, ranging from hoggin paths, to gabion baskets, habitat panels and baskets filled with garbage, to zones of unfinished sand as well as aggregate mulches that create openings and apex that allow insects to have shelter.’
Gardens for mental health
Over the past five years, we’ve seen a change in the way that people are thinking about their gardens. While we utilize our gardens to entertain and outdoor gathering, but we also see them as a way to improve our well-being and mental health. Being outside, being in touch with nature, and the physical advantages of gardening are factors that we are more interested in than ever before in this post-pandemic era, and it is impacting the styles of gardens we select. A lush garden is more likely to check the boxes than a minimalist outdoor space.