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For next year, experts offer their predictions – and we’re likely to take a more relaxed approach to gardening. Reports from Hannah Stephenson.
In 2021, what will your garden look like? Is it going to be full of wildflowers, or decorated with vegetables and fruits? Will you have a lush balcony or a pretty patio?
Experts predict that sustainability and a more relaxed attitude towards gardening will continue to be a focus.
Garden designer Andrew Duff, Inchbald School of Design executive director, found a significant change in attitude among his customers.
“It used to be the clichéd sundowner with a gin and tonic in the evening, dinner on the patio when you get home, and an immaculate garden; now it’s much more relaxed. People are seeing the amazing benefits of their garden. It’s bringing gardens back into our hearts. It’s an exciting time.”
Thoughts on the environment
Marcus Eyles, horticulture director at Dobbies Garden Centres and resident horticultural expert, predicts, “There are a number of garden trends that will continue to grow in 2021, including a focus on sustainability – planting styles that encourage pollinators and wildlife and help gardeners become greener.
“To encourage pollinators, plant simple single flowers, rather than lush double flowers, because that gives them a chance to get to the nectar.”
Duff predicts, “There’s going to be a lot of anticipation for spring again, so I think there’s going to be a lot more bold plantings and spring-blooming shrubs, especially ones that are fragrant, including old English viburnums, wintercandy and honeysuckle, which are really memorable.”
“The big change will be in designing a garden in a way that’s right and appropriate for the individual, and how people can maximize the use of the space,” Duff continues.
“There’s this new idea that a garden will be used throughout the day, which wasn’t really the case before unless you were already working from home. People will think about where the morning sun is and where they can have a cup of coffee and have Zoom meetings.
“Big tables are going to be put in the corner, while little bistro tables and a couple of chairs out front are going to become really important to people,” Duff says.
Growth in wildflower planting.
“Dedicating an area of the garden to wildflowers, even if it’s just a small square foot, can have a big impact,” Eyles says. “Just think of the cumulative effect of planting wildflowers in even a small percentage of those who have outdoor space.”
“Container plantings for compact spaces are a top trend in 2021, offering an alternative way to grow homegrown produce and beautify spaces with flowers, foliage and colorful pots,” Eyles says.
“Growing edible plants in the garden combines two passions: gardening and cooking. From fruits and vegetables to herb gardens, the discovery that you don’t need a huge space and much can be grown in a container means it will continue to be trendy.”
“Jungle-style gardens are on the rise, with our love of big leaves and lush foliage showing no signs of slowing down,” Eyles says. “We’re thinking tropical banana trees, cannas and citrus, and dense planting with bright splashes of color. Whether it’s a few statement plants or a garden full of exotic greenery, you’ll feel transported to an outdoor oasis.”
“Other planting styles we predict to be even more successful in 2021 are those that help create a sanctuary of tranquility, with foliage plants in pots, such as ferns, grasses and bamboo,” Eyles says.
Big ideas for small plots
Duff says, “It’s an exciting time because the aesthetics of the garden are changing. People are trying to maximize utility, so we’ve seen a lot of fruits and vegetables being planted during the restricted season, which will continue through 2021.
“If they don’t replace perennials and annuals, edibles and vegetables will certainly be a supplement and mixed in with them. On balconies, there may be tomatoes with their amazing foliage, pole beans cascading over railings, and people seeing the beauty in a plant that gives back. It’s a return to humble gardening, really.”
“Indoors, statement pieces add a pop of color to neutral spaces and outdoors is no different; cool tones, warm tones or pretty pinks are themes for pots for summer 2021,” says E