I’ve been taking a sneak peek at the 2018 garden trends .
I spent two days at GLEE, the exhibition where the gardening industry displays or discovers next year’s garden plants, equipment and ideas.
And I trooped round four NEC halls full of both the big names in gardening and the latest start-ups.
There are some affiliate links in this post, which means I may receive a small fee if you buy.
Why do trends matter?
Some people say they’re not interested in fashions or trends.
But ‘trends’ or ‘fashion’ is often just a word for ‘new ideas’. And most gardeners are interested in those, even if it’s just buying one newly developed plant variant.
And talking about trends is also a way of highlighting important issues.
At GLEE 2017, for example, I detected a strong move towards using recycled or recyclable plastics in planters. More than half of the companies selling plastic planters made a point of using recycled plastic. The gardening industry has been heavily criticised for its use of plastics, so it’s good to see this.
2018 garden trends – the outdoor room comes inside
For years we’ve been hearing about the garden as an ‘outdoor room.’
The next trend is the home as an ‘indoor garden.’ House plants are making a big comeback.
‘A house plant is now one of the first things you buy with your partner when you move in together,’ said Lisa White of WGSN Global Trends. (I think the progression is houseplant, cat/dog, baby….)
Mini food gardening/micro farming
And if your indoor growing ambitions go beyond the now compulsory cacti, you can grow food or start seeds indoors with LED lights that mimic daylight. I saw several mini greenhouse gardens with LED lighting.
Balcony living & vertical gardening
Container manufacturers Elho expect ‘balcony living’ to be big next year. Look out for a better choice in planters that slot onto balcony rails. New models will have cloches, too, so that you can grow seeds and veg on your balcony, too.
Wall planter systems were everywhere, as were hanging everything. You can get self-watering wall planter systems now, but you’ll be able to get more next year.
I can safely say that 2018 will be the year of the dangling macrame plant holder. One of my most stylish friends has already been on a macrame course. So get weaving…
Solar lighting – more and better
We want solar lighting in our gardens. We don’t want to keep changing batteries, and getting the garden wired for electricity is expensive.
So expect solar lights to keep getting better and better.
Re-wilding and the environment
Everyone was talking about ‘rewilding’.
‘Re-wilding’ is defined as ‘working with nature’. Think wildflowers and support for pollinating insects, then taking it forward to include everything about how you garden. Nick Bailey predicted that we’ll all be much more interested in how environmentally ‘green’ our gardening products will be.
SBM Life Sciences (formerly Bayer), agree with him. They’re seeing a big growth in their ‘green’ ranges, such as Solabiol, a ‘naturals’ range of bug killer and protection against slugs, containing naturally occurring ingredients and certified for organic use. They’re adding a weed controller, too.
The use of peat in gardening is another environmentally sensitive issue. Bord na Mona, originally a peat compost supplier, says that ‘never again will Bord na Mona open another peat bog.’ The company is focussing on its peat-free and peat reduced composts.
Bord Na Mona also spends millions of pounds re-habilitating the bogs it’s worked on in the past, by re-planting with appropriate flora and fauna. (Although a peat bog, once farmed, can never be replenished.)
You’ll be gardening for your health
For Lisa White, ‘re-wilding’ was also about ‘healing and spirituality’. Nick also mentioned ‘Mindfulness in gardening.’
There were, however, some fairly startling claims for gardening and health being made at GLEE.
I think we’re all agreed that gardening is good for you, that it can help counter depression, and that it’s good exercise. Plus exposure to sunlight gives you necessary Vitamin D. Gardening is also socially important: it can bring communities and families together.
But there were also claims made that plants in the home help people sleep better, help children concentrate in the classroom, reduce levels of ADHD , improve the health of patients in hospital and more.
I’ve ferreted about the internet. Some of these claims do seem supported by scientific studies. Others don’t quite replicate in domestic environments.
So I think the gardening industry needs to quote scientific research when it makes claims. Just one or two over-stated claims could make people feel cynical about all the health benefits of plants.
The British, apparently, are somewhat behind the barbecueing trend. Elsewhere (the US, for example), people use their barbecues all year round. My daughter has just returned from a winter in Chile, which is just as cold as Britain. She confirms that ‘asados’ (barbecues) are part of regular weekend entertaining.
Lisa refers to it as ‘wintercuing.’ I have suggested wintercuing to my family, and they have agreed with polite smiles. Somehow, however, we haven’t quite got out there. And it’s only September!
And finally – Instagrammable
If I had £1 for every time someone said ‘Instagrammable’ with reference to the 2018 garden trends at GLEE, it would have paid my return train fare to Birmingham.
Screen with Envy is a new start-up, which make patterned wood composite garden screens. They’re hard-wearing, low maintenance, stylish alternatives to slats or wicker. And, above all, they’re ‘Instagrammable.’
Garden trends – cheat sheet to pin
from The Middle-Sized Garden http://www.themiddlesizedgarden.co.uk/2018-garden-trends-whats-new-garden/