In my role as New Product Development Manager for Thompson & Morgan, I’d like to think I have a hand in making the trends in our gardens, rather than following them! Through my work to upgrade your plant choices, I want to get gardeners growing bigger, better plants, as well as ones that flower longer and are tougher and easier to grow! I’m hopefully making some of the trends too, thanks to my recommendations for your garden and patio in 2016!
I think 2016 will be all about the leaf. Foliage plants and plants with foliage that’s as pretty as the flowers! And, boy, has the foliage world changed! In times old, the only choices were saggy old Coleus or that ghastly Cineraria ‘Silver Dust’… but now, we have 3,000 different Heuchera, OUTDOOR Rex type Begonias and a bevy of new, hardy Ferns and the like!
Potted Cottage Gardens.
As herbaceous perennial breeding brings more compact varieties, these are lending themselves fantastically to patio pot growing! We grew some New Zealand Delphiniums from seed in February this year, which were in bloom by July, and lovely strong plants which flowered in their pots! There’s also a whole bunch of Gaillardia such as ‘Tangerine Spark’, and the powder-puff girliness of Scabious ‘Kudos’ too!
The Americans are here to stay.
When I was a kid, me and my Nana used to grow Zinnia and Rudbeckia, but they were always latecomers to the summer display and didn’t always like how cold the UK August could be! Breeding advances in Europe, however, have made them more suitable to a more chilly environment, and not just baking hot Californian summer days. The NEW ‘Caramel’ Mixture blends autumn colours with some lovely pink shades, and they work brilliantly as a cut flower too, lasting 2 weeks! Zinnia ‘Cupid’ is blooming funky too!
The most achingly trendy plant for 2016??
It could be the Amaranth, which is fun and quirky, and a bit like a cartoon character! Every Amaranth seems to have the wow factor in a slightly different way; from the powerful, luminous colours of ‘Molten Fire’ to the potentially offensive ‘Fat Spike’ variety!
The newest word in gardening; meaning to fill one’s garden with glorious Cosmos of every shape and size…! Big, bulky plants that look good even before they flower! A bevy of new varieties have transformed the colour palette too! Yellow ‘Xanthos’ and jellyfish-lookalike ‘Cupcakes’ are particular stand-outs. Now go get growing…!!