The way we look after our green spaces has transformed in the past few years. Lockdowns made us realise how important any outdoor area — whether it’s a balcony, windowsill or garden — can be to our wellbeing.
Gardeners also gained a new understanding of the need to be more sustainable. Hotter, drier summers and wetter winters are convincing us of the need to ditch peat, harvest rainwater and adapt to the changing climate.
The more of us who catch the gardening bug, the more people we pass it on to. A new book out this week, How To Garden When You’re New To Gardening (DK, £20) is ideal for getting started.
One of the highlights of this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show in May will be the ‘No Adults Allowed Garden’ designed by children for children, with a den set in a pool of water.
Just peachy: The fast-growing foxglove Digitalis purpurea ‘Dalmatian Peach’
CUT THE COSTS
You can still create a beautiful garden on a budget. Next month, social media star Anya Lautenbach (aka @anya_ thegarden_fairy) is bringing out her first book, The Money-Saving Gardener (DK, £16.99) with tips on how to propagate plants for free, repurpose containers, and make your compost.
Leafing through seed catalogues, the flowers are as colour-coordinated as any fashion show. Subtle pinks are in, such as the dark flowered wild carrot Daucus carota ‘Dara’ or the faded maroon of Echinacea pallida.
Apricots and peaches from the fast-growing foxglove Digitalis purpurea ‘Dalmatian Peach’ to the buff-coloured Calendula officinalis ‘Sherbet Fizz’ are also fashionable.
As more of us grow our own, we are increasingly looking for interesting varieties not found on supermarket shelves.
Chiltern Seeds sells Good King Henry, a naturalised wildflower with juicy arrow-shaped leaves which can be cooked like spinach or added to a salad, and Cottagers kale, which was mentioned by Charles Darwin in the Gardeners’ Chronicle of 1860 (chilternseeds.co.uk).
TREES TO THE RESCUE
Shinrin-yoku or forestbathing is the ancient Japanese art of spending time under the canopy of trees to reconnect with nature and ourselves.
It’s the concept at the heart of the Muscular Dystrophy UK Forest Bathing Garden at this year’s Chelsea Flower Show, created by RHS Young Designer of the Year, Ula Maria.
A restful grove of silver birch trees (Betula pendula) will be underplanted with woodland plants such as Geranium sylvaticum ‘Mayflower’ and wild strawberries (Fragaria vesca).
Our passion for visiting historic gardens shows no sign of abating, but those who manage these spaces are rethinking them for future generations.
At Raby Castle in County Durham, Lord and Lady Barnard are transforming the historic grounds in a project called The Rising.
Designer Luciano Giubbilei is remodelling the five-acre walled gardens, retaining features such as elephantine yew hedges, while introducing new planting with a romantic feel.