When the Royal Horticultural Society publishes its predictions for the year ahead, you’ve got to be curious. In fact the ‘voice’ of gardening produced 53 suggestions at the New Year – from the rising popularity of ice baths (nope nor us), to a boom in multi-stem trees and the return of crazy-paving.
Not read the list yet? Fear not, we’ve each been through it and applied some Growbag common sense to some of its key points….
(By the way, if you’d rather listen than read, there is a link to our podcast chat on this subject at the end.)
It is an interesting set of predictions for sure. One thing that particularly resonated with me was that there has been quite an exhilarating shift in the ‘Trends’ business since the pandemic struck. Ashley Edwards, the Head Gardener of Horatio’s Garden, mentions this in Point 7 of the RHS Trends 2022 List. Lockdowns and restrictions resulted in a huge explosion of appreciation for outdoor private and public spaces………….and apparently at least 3 million more gardeners in the UK, which is astonishing really!
What I am hoping (and in fact, predicting) is that these fledgling gardeners will drive a powerful new upsurge in horticulture, and teach us seasoned campaigners how to be brave enough to throw out some of the bad old ways of gardening – peat compost, chemical annihilation, pollinator-free areas of ‘bedding-round-a-lawn’, the thirst to have plants flown in from all over the world, etc.
We need these climate-change-savvy, ecological fresh ideas if gardening isn’t to become an irrelevant preserve of the old-fashioned, and the old!
So let’s welcome the de-mystification of veg growing, for instance (mentioned by Guy Barter, chief Horticulturalist of the RHS, author Jane Scotter and David Turner of Mr Fothergills), and beds filled with brightly-coloured home-grown perennials, all buzzing with bees (Simon Lycett, florist, and Hayley Rake, owner of Hare Spring Cottage Plants, amongst several others) and lots of trees and ponds (garden designer Danny Clarke), and messier corners for the snuffling hedgehogs (James Alexander-Sinclair, RHS Vice President)……….oh dear, have I gone too far? My dear sisters are rolling their eyes at me again. But I’m excited!
Yes it was a great strategy from the RHS who have simply asked 53 people for their own predictions on what might be big in 2022 and I thoroughly agree with many of them.
Take gardening author Graham Rice for example, who flies the flag for home- grown cut flowers. If anyone fancies buying me a bunch of flowers in 2022 I want it to come from Flowers from the Farm, a cut flower co-operative who will hand deliver some gorgeous home-grown blooms from the closest producer to your address, saving goodness knows how many air miles and supporting home-based micro-businesses in the process.
Or houseplant guru Jane Perrone’s prediction that house plant growers are going to get choosy over the provenance and sustainability credentials of their pot plants – I can’t tell you how much my little collection of potted herbs has cheered up my kitchen window sill this week – all purchased from the veg aisles of Tesco’s and grown locally in my county of West Sussex (top marks Tesco’s!). I split the pots and am growing some on slowly in the greenhouse and some in my kitchen which should keep me going with fresh herbs for months.
And I thoroughly agree with Ashley Edwards (of Horatio’s Gardens again) who thinks our urban green spaces should get a radical shake up. One of our best memories of 2021 was being allowed onto the winning Guangzhou Show Garden at Chelsea and seeing first hand what progressive urban green infrastructure looks like in Chinese cities.
Our feature picture shows Elaine and me discussing all this on the stand with Arit Anderson whose One Show garden exemplified many of the same ambitions.
My sisters have clearly fallen in love with all the predictions of sustainable gardening trends. Without wishing to be political, southerners do tend to have a bit more ‘moolah’ and a little less space upon which to spend it.
Here in Scotland, to be honest, we get far too much environment. It’s coming at us from all angles and largely calling the shots. It’s why I stalled at Graham Blunt’s prediction (Plantbase Nursery) that people would be looking for more and more large leaved plants such as Colocasia and Tetrapanax. Not in the Highlands we won’t. These gorgeous monsters prefer life to be +21 degrees. That’s hotter than my kitchen!
However I was interested in the suggestion from Karl Stuckey (Nature First Trees), that people are becoming more interested in multi-stemmed trees for screening. This sounds plausible as we seek more and more privacy without having to resort to leylandeii or privet hedges. In fact with my son (and therefore grandchildren) planning to build a house next door to me, I’m already feverishly researching Karl’s suggestions of Himalayan birch to provide at least a semi-permeable barrier (he also recommended ginkgo trees but my forestry friends tell me the Highlands are a step too far North for this.)
By the way, I’m only kidding. I love them all to bits.
Of course we can’t leave you to ponder your own 2022 garden proposals without re-visiting the ice ice bath mentioned in our introduction. Garden Designer Ula Maria, assured us in ‘Prediction 20” they are becoming extremely popular. What is it? Well, think hot tub but this time with the very real threat of freezing your b*llocks off. Another one for overheated Clapham I think!
This the link to our short podcast on this topic.
We’d LOVE to hear your thoughts on what’s going to be trending in the gardening world this year – do get in touch and join the conversation!
NB Louise has a reassuringly normal little harbinger of spring for us to enjoy as her plant of the moment this week – just click on the box below to find out some of the folk lore attached to it.
NNB If you’re not already a subscriber and you’d like a bit more gardening chitchat from the3growbags, please type your email address here and we’ll send you a new post every Saturday morning.