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Jungle vibes, wildflowers and outdoor exercise: Are these the top gardening trends of 2021?

By Features Reporter

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Experts give their predictions for the next year – and we’re likely to take a more relaxed approach to the garden

Gardens are being used now more than ever during the day. Picture: iStock/PA
Gardens are being used now more than ever during the day. Picture: iStock/PA

So, what will your garden look like in 2021? Will it be full of wildflowers, or festooned with fruit and veg? Will you have a bountiful balcony or a pretty patio?

Experts are predicting a continuing focus on sustainability, and a more relaxed attitude to gardening.

Garden designer Andrew Duff, managing director of Inchbald School of Design, has seen a huge change in attitude among his clients.

“It used to be the cliched gin and tonic sundowner in the evening, dinner on the terrace when you get home and an immaculate garden, and now it’s much more relaxed. People are seeing the amazing benefits of their space. It’s putting gardens back into our hearts. It’s an exciting time.”

Thoughts of the environment

Marcus Eyles, Dobbies Garden Centres horticultural director and resident gardening expert, predicts: “There are a number of gardening trends that will continue to grow as we enter 2021, including a focus on sustainability – planting styles that will help encourage pollinators and wildlife to help gardeners become greener.

“To encourage pollinators, plant simple single flowers, rather than blousy doubles, as this will give them the chance to access the nectar.”

Heaven scents

Duff predicts: “There will be great excitement for spring again, so I think there will be loads more bold planting and spring-flowering shrubs, particularly those which are scented, including old English viburnums, winter sweets and honeysuckle, which are really memory-jerking.”

Make great use of the space. Picture: iStock/PA
Make great use of the space. Picture: iStock/PA

Maximum use

“The big change is going to be about making a garden that is right and appropriate for the individual to use, and how people are going to maximise the space,” Duff continues.

“There’s this new thought that a garden will be used throughout the day, which didn’t really happen before unless you already worked from home. People will be thinking about where the morning sun is and where they can have a cup of coffee and do Zoom meetings.

“Big tables are being put in the corner, whereas little bistro tables and a couple of chairs outside the door is becoming really important to people,” says Duff.

Growth in wildflower planting

“Dedicating an area of the garden to wildflowers, even if a small square metre, can have a big impact,” says Eyles. “Just think of the cumulative effect if even a small portion of those with outdoor space planted wildflowers.”

Container veg

“Container planting for compact spaces is a top 2021 trend, offering an alternative way to grow homegrown produce and brighten up spaces with flowers, foliage and colourful pots,” says Eyles.

“Growing edible plants in the garden combines two passions, gardening and cooking. From fruit and vegetables to herb gardens, the discovery that you don’t need a huge space and that lots can be grown in a container, means this will continue to trend.”

Jungle vibes

“Jungle style gardens are on the rise, with our love of big leaves and lush foliage showing no signs of slowing down,” says Eyles. “Going tropical, think banana plants, cannas and citrus, and dense planting with pops of bright colour. Whether it is a few statement plants, or a garden filled with exotic greenery, you will be transported to an outdoor oasis.”

Ornamental grasses

“Other planting styles we predict to be even bigger in 2021 are those that help create a sanctuary of calm, with foliage plants in pots, such as ferns, grasses and bamboo,” Eyles says.

Grow edible plants on balconies, such as tomatoes. Picture: iStock/PA
Grow edible plants on balconies, such as tomatoes. Picture: iStock/PA

Big ideas for small plots

Duff says: “It’s an exciting time because the aesthetic of the garden is changing. People are trying to maximise use, so we’ve seen a lot of fruit and veg being grown throughout lockdown, which will continue into 2021.

“If not replacing perennials and annuals, edibles will certainly be an addition and mixed among them. On balconies you might have tomatoes with their amazing foliage, runner beans cascading over railings, and people are seeing the beauty in a plant that’s giving back. It’s a return to humble gardening, really.”

Indoor inspiration

“Inside the house, statement pieces add a pop of colour to neutral spaces and it’s no different outdoors; cool shades, warm shades or pretty pinks are themes for pots for summer 2021,” says Eyles.

Child’s play

“As we look to get children excited about the garden and, perhaps, spend more time outside and away from screens, family gardening is on the rise,” Eyles observes. “This involves splitting up your patch, so children can have a dedicated area to care for. A raised bed can be an ideal solution for this.

“Get them involved from the beginning by adding personalised signs and finding out what they would like to grow. From sunflowers to carrots, there are plenty of easy-to-grow plants and vegetables.”

Exercise space

“People who invested in exercise equipment during lockdown will be using it in the garden,” Duff predicts. “And a whole generation has discovered how gardening is a fitness thing.”

Winter wonderland

“People are going to start seeing winter in a different way and embracing trees without leaves and soil and plants which are dormant. There’s going to be that seasonal embrace,” Duff reckons.

“We are seeing the disappearance of the garden that has to look perfect all year round. People are more relaxed about their spaces.”

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