Garden style for 2019

Spring is an exciting time of year, when we have another chance to create, improve or repair our gardens for the coming seasons. If the hot dry weather last summer left your borders running out of steam, you’ll no doubt need to give them a boost now and put some heart back into the soil. 

Begin the transformation by grubbing out anything that is past its best. Prune and re-shape shrubs with hedge trimmers or clippers and if necessary dig them up and move them to a better spot so that you can concentrate on creating focal points and great plant combos.

As gardeners, we are usually looking for robust plants that can stand up to extreme weather. Nurserymen build these attributes into breeding programs, so bear this in mind when selecting new plants. 

Colour is key

To give your borders a new lease of life and maximum impact, think about a colour theme for the planting. Go for bold colours like red and purple alongside greys and blue-grey foliage or combine plants with clashing colours, which trendsetters’ say are hot this year 

To give your borders a new lease of life and maximum impact, think about a colour theme for the planting. Go for bold colours like red and purple alongside greys and blue-grey foliage or combine plants with clashing colours, which trendsetters’ say are hot this year 

Achilea The beacon with blue festuca grasses – a class act that is bang on trend

For example, Dulux have Spiced Honey as the colour of 2019. It’s a warm amber tone that you can use to evoke a sense of calm and especially if you pair it with a neutral colour palette such as muted pinks and greys, so it’s a good choice for areas where you want to unwind. It also goes with burgundy colours if you want to create a more vibrant border scheme to go with grassy green shades.

 When selecting new plants to fill gaps however, they should always suit the style of the garden, so do your homework before visiting the garden centre. If your idea is to ‘modernise’ a traditional bed of roses or herbaceous perennials you might prefer to look for easy-care plants with strong forms and textures or go for plants with big leaves and plant in bocks of colour rather than the usual drifts or clusters of the same plant. 

Popular planting style

Old-fashioned plants like dahlias are making another come back – probably because of the endless range of shapes and colours as well as their diversity with small varieties for pots and front of borders to those that would block out your boring fence!

The eco-friendly trend is to fill borders with flowers that will draw in pollinators. As a result, lots of garden designers have been experimenting with incorporating wild flowers and perennial meadows.

Sarah Price is one such designer. With four Chelsea Flower Show gold medals under her belt and involvement in landscaping one of the best wildlife gardens at the 2012 Olympic Site in London, she has shown herself to be not only knowledgeable and passionate about plants but has an especially good eye for colour.

Sarah’s signature planting is always to allow plants to blend with the landscape, proving the point that wildflowers and garden plants are great bedfellows. Once established, she says that a ‘meadow’ should provide interest from April to late November.

Sarah also uses a mixture of plants and especially those that have tubular-shaped blooms like penstemons and salvias that bees can crawl into and small flat daisy-like flowers that they can walk on. Take a tip from nature – blue, yellow and purple are bees’ favourite colours and they cannot see red! 

Sarah tends to use purples, pinks, yellows and orange in a natural way so they look like jewels that have been tipped out onto the ground

Whatever you decide to plant aim to make your own garden, a tranquil space, which has a natural relaxed feel for both people and wildlife and use a mix of early, mid-season and late flowering plants for continuing interest and group them together based on their watering needs. 

Think about foliage too as leaves last longer than flowers and come in a range of shapes

Leaves come in a range of different shapes (oval, heart-shaped, sword-like and palmate) and all with margins that could be smooth, serrated or toothed.

Coleus or Solenostemon are striking foliage plants growing to a height and spread of 60-80cm. The plants are easy to grow from seed and excel in partial shade or the sun

Select evergreens for winter interest as well as seasonal shrubs, lush green ferns and structural plants like ornamental grasses as well as edibles like angelica and globe artichokes. And, use stylish garden architecture such as ‘twigwams’ and other decorative plant supports to give the border your own unique stamp. 

Plants with big and interesting leaves are forecast to be all the rage in 2019

Once your staking is done, mulch around the plants to retain moisture and suppress weeds and to help make your garden look seamless, polished and healthy. To keep your borders in great shape, take care of the edges too. Good ‘front of border’ plants include hardy geraniums, colourful leafy heucheras, elephant ear bergenia and fairy wings or epimediums. 

Use the finely cut silver-leaves of artemisia to act as a foil for the large leaves of hosta

Edge your beds

Allowing floppy plants to spill over can damage lawns so it’s best to rein them in with terracotta edging tiles, woven wicker panels, log poles or sleepers, or anything else that takes your fancy including the garden classic of mini hedges of lavender or neatly clipped box. Although you might want to avoid box, which for the past few years has been damaged on a grand scale by Box Blight, a fungal disease that loves warm, damp conditions.

If you still prefer box, then make sure that you don’t overcrowd the plants so that you can maintain good air circulation around them. Also, remove fallen leaves and clippings from the top of the hedge in autumn and winter as these can cause dieback and weaken the plants.

Feeding box in spring, with Vitax Buxus Fertiliser will create stronger growth, which is more resistant to disease. Infected plants are noticeable by the brown or black patches that develop, resulting in leaf drop.

You will find a range of gabions and ideas on how they can be used at

Another wildlife-friendly option is to use gabions or wire cages, filled with natural stones or logs, which can provide a home for insects and small animals.

You can also dress up border with a focal point. Whilst this could be a striking shrub, decorations like bird feeders, wind chimes, reflective gaze balls and bare metal or painted wooden obelisks add a more personal finishing touch. You should also consider adding statement fixtures like lighting, which gives your garden life after dark.

Labels are useful but can be intrusive so use your imagination. Good ideas include plant names or pictures stenciled on flat stones laid at the base of each plant in gravel mulch or an annotated labeled photo of the border that is safely kept in your gardening notebook for future reference.

Make sure that your ‘new season’ garden ticks every box by adding seasonal containers and line us scented plants like pinks along pathways

Use every planting opportunity too, from putting plants like thymes in crevices in walls and between stones in paths to add interest. Edible can be incorporated into the borders or grown in pots on the patio.

You’ll find lots of new ‘dwarf’ fruit and also nut trees at The current trend is for edible walls and herbs are perfect for growing in wall planters.

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