As the UK’s 30 million gardeners prepare to get back out on their plots this Easter weekend, the RHS has published its annual gardening predictions.
Shaped by the events of the last year and with an estimated three million people newly green-fingered, the charity is predicting a return to quintessential garden design and a new make and make-do approach that will influence how plants are grown and nurtured.
2021 Gardening Predictions
Comfort planting: Roses and hydrangeas won out in 2020 as gardeners turned to old, reliable favourites with big blooms and long flowering periods. However, that demand is set to translate into shortfalls this year with delphiniums, lupins, foxgloves and poppies instead likely to be top candidates for those wanting to create a cottage-garden look.
Pick your own: Food growing in domestic settings increased substantially in 2020 with a return to staples such as potatoes, salad and onions and plants associated with herbal remedies including aloe vera, echinacea and sambucus. This is set to continue with raised beds – which aid with accessibility and promote faster growing – proving popular while for those on smaller plots, tubs, troughs and windowsill crops as well as vertical growing systems are likely to become de rigueur.
Lazy lawns: Prized by those that have them, lawns have taken centre stage as a space to work, relax and play. But the immaculate, striped lawn has given way as gardeners come to accept the inevitable wear and tear and turn a blind eye to a bit of browning in summer. Some will seek out interesting and environmentally benign alternatives such as small leaved clovers which, usually mixed with grasses, will stay green without fertiliser and resist drought.
Starting small: The growing popularity of seeds – attributed to their low cost and with some harvested from supermarket produce for free – has seen many develop their skills in plant raising. Production issues could also translate into more 9cm pots being sold over the usual 2-3L options with gardeners enjoying the process of watching plants grow.
Soil recycling: Gardeners have learnt to be more frugal when it comes to what their plants are grown in. Home-made potting media was a necessity in 2020 as stocks dwindled and growers are now more inclined to save money and help protect the environment by creating their own mixes, such as combining sieved soil with organic matter, re-using growing media in containers and even forgoing containers and planting in existing border soil.
Guy Barter, RHS Chief Horticulturist, says: “2020 ushered in a period of experimental gardening – for those that picked up a trowel for the first time, opted to dabble with raising crops alongside ornamentals and trialled new ways of growing old favourites. However, lawns and big blooms, long stalwarts of the garden, remain an important draw for UK gardeners as people continue to seek out the familiar during these less than familiar times.”
The RHS publishes monthly gardening advice on its website (www.rhs.org.uk) which in April includes tying in climbing and rambling roses and sowing new lawns.