Gardening Articles

The Brookside Nursery Guide to the latest Garden Trends for 2018

Sunday, 31 December 2017  |  Alison

Gazing into my crystal ball to see what will be on trend in a garden near you in 2018, I can let you know now that there are plenty of things to tempt and delight all of us gardeners and of course one or two things that we will be perfectly happy to continue living without.

Firstly, the Pantone colour of the year for 2018 is Ultra Violet. Provocative, futuristic and other worldly, ultra-violet can be toned up to be glitzy and glamourous or brought to earth in its symbolic roots: red and blue.

At Brookside Nursery we have some new and exciting plants for Twenty eighteen here are some of my favourite violet shades for you to try in your garden this year:- Iris ‘How Audacious’, Peony lactiflora ‘Le Charme’,  Petunia Stars Mixed, Osteospermum Double Violet Ice, Viola ‘Rebecca’ and Thalictrum delavayi ‘Hewitts Double’.

A bit like clothing and music, gardening fashions come and go and then return many years later.  The 1970’s trend for Macramé plant hangers has made a comeback. Homemade ones at that too, with many a craft class teaching us how to knot or macramé a plant pot holder.

This is linked very strongly with the impact of houseplants making a welcome return to our homes.   For many years the houseplant was cast aside as we as a nation embraced the trend for outdoor living in recent years, but for a newer generation living in rented accommodation and not having the use of a garden, house plants are fulfilling the need for ‘green’ living along with growing a few choice vegetables and flowers on balconies.  Balconies have their own eco-system and you could have a living wall full of vegetables and plant stands or ladders laden with pots of edible as well as decorative flowers. 

Who else remembers having a ‘Swiss cheese’ plant – Monstera deliciosa, a ‘rubber tree’ plant – Ficus elastica and a ‘spider’ plant – Chlorophytum comosum way back in the 1970’s?   Well, these plants are making a huge comeback along with the houseplant of the moment with the antler-like leaves, the Staghorn fern (which can be hung in your newly made Macramé hanger!).

Many houseplants can purify the air or at least improve the indoor air quality according to a NASA study done in the 1980’s.  Orchids, Gerberas, Spider plants and Aspidistras are just some of the plants to have in your home this year whilst indoor succulents and cactus continue to be popular as terrarium plants in huge globe bottles.

If you are lucky enough to have a garden, the trend for turning to non-toxic and wildlife friendly products to care for lawns and gardens is a continuing theme in the gardening world with the long overdue recent bans on toxic fertilisers being used by big producers and growers.  

Our joy of being outdoors, apart from the health benefits of being in the fresh air, are being brought to the fore even more as  ‘prescription gardening’  has made a positive impact to many suffering with certain types of depression. We all know how a good walk on Boxing Day can make us feel, invigorated and vibrant after a day of excess before. 

The ‘Hygge’ effect is still having a huge influence on our outdoor spaces with yoga sheds, fire-pits, barbecues, comfy seating, rugs, solar lighting and mindful planting trending big time for Twenty Eighteen.

A rather lovely philosophy at the forefront of trend setting for 2018 and coming from the ancient Japanese concept of ‘Wabi-Sabi’ means - the art of enjoying the beauty in everything without it being deemed to be perfect. The beauty of imperfection, the not quite finished, the asymmetric, should be embraced and can help us to, eel more content in our lives.  

So in conclusion, if you have a half finished veggie plot, an unfinished and decidedly raggedy looking macramé masterpiece or a few empty pots that you should have done something with, don’t worry or fret. Just do what you can when you can.

That seems to me to be a very good point of view to take in all aspects of life, not just in gardening, so I am wishing you all a happy relaxed gardening year in Twenty Eighteen!


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Sunday, 31 December 2017  |  Alison
Caring for Planet Earth in 2018

Gardeners, on the whole, are a caring and concerned lot and already do our bit in the recycling world, partly being thrifty, partly using common sense. Many of us re-use plastic pots & plastic plant labels, plastic & metal ties, as well as re-using broken bits of terracotta pots, bamboo poles & sow our sweet peas into empty loo rolls. You probably have your own gardening waste-saving ideas too which I would love to hear about.

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Friday, 13 October 2017  |  Alison
Autumnal thoughts on greenery and the joy of annual bedding plants

I wonder if it was an omen, good or bad, depending on your viewpoint, that Pantone chose a green shade, called Greenery, for their colour of the year for 2017. I say this because greenery has featured heavily in my garden this summer.

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Wednesday, 2 August 2017  |  Alison
Alluring Agapanthus - The Lily of the Nile

If you are looking to add a touch of the exotic to your mid-summer borders and pots then look no further than the Agapanthus.  Also known as the African lily and The Lily of the Nile, this elegant plant is neither a lily nor from the River Nile but originates from the cliff tops of the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa.     

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