I’ve been watching the trends in the gardens constructed for the various garden shows round Australia and New Zealand and Britain over the past three years or so. I go to the shows in Australia, New Zealand and Singapore when I can and David and Lynne go to Chelsea and Hampton Court on my behalf, Lynne to note the trends and David to take wonderful photos. What an experience the past three years have been.
Things have changed.
To my mind the best garden show around for predicting trends is Hampton Court.
Look at this lovely garden, A Room with a View by Mike Harvey which was on show in 2013, it’s bang on trend. Secluded, private for people and animals, recycled with the timber in the fence, seating and steps – this beautiful garden is the best.
Why is Hampton Court so good at forecasting trends – well, it’s accessible for the younger designers, not so expensive and easier to get into than it’s big sister Chelsea. The result is, it’s not so precious, not so up itself. Don’t get me wrong Chelsea is marvelous, wonderful, the best around, but it features those who have made it and often this means they are perhaps set in their ways. Of course there are exceptions.
The other Show which tends to feature fresh gardens, reflecting what people want is the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show. I think the Australian climate encourages home owners to desire gardens reflecting their informal, modern outdoor lifestyle and designers comply.
Look at Here and Now by Phillip Whithers in Melbourne 2014. I can’t show off this garden in one image so look further on to see more of this organic, bright, natural, living space. This is a garden to live in. Flowers, natural stone, veggies, chooks, outdoor living areas, that outdoor bath…
So what are the trends I’ve seen over the past three years?
Along with interior décor and all other fashion, garden design has become more organic and environmentally sound, softer, more colourful and flower-filled. The rules have pretty much gone – veggies are mixed up with the rest of the garden, things are not so clipped and all green.
Three years ago in Melbourne my favourite gardens were green and structured.
Look at Conversation from Paarl Grant. I have featured it everywhere over the past couple of years because I love it.
Take note though – this garden might be structured to within an inch of its life but it is also softened by the organic shapes of the moon gate in the weathered iron pergola and water feature. And the tightly clipped hedges are spherical. This garden is showing the way forward from the uncluttered zen of the late 90’s.
But even in 2012, flowers and colour were beginning to creep in
My other favourite in Melbourne in 2012 was Surge by Brent Reid of Candeo Design. Note the planting – it’s beginning to show signs of liberation and colour – even if only one shade – red in the dahlias and walls – is featured. The intention behind this design was to bring the garden into outdoor entertaining and I think it succeeded.
Singapore 2012 was beginning to show this move towards floral abundance too. Why would the international designers not indulge in that fabulous tropical abundance found around the equator.
Look at Joe Palermerno ‘s Modernist Garden. Divine bliss….
And the lusciousness of The Path of Light by Paul Martin from Ireland aims to show that, as we journey through life, there are many wonderful sights along the way. Paul believes we exist in nature, and with nature, and if we look after her, our journey will be a memorable and beautiful one. This beautiful garden takes us down that path.
Look at the design though, the orchids are offset by structured squares of textured green – or should it be the other way round?
By 2013, the flowering flood gates opened.
Plants are beginning to escape from their structured boxes and introduce disorder into the planting.
And you must know that Ordered Nature by Christopher is a favorite of mine. I really think the judges missed the point by not giving him a higher medal for this beautiful garden – bang on trend.
Delicious planting – blousey and colourful – but so well balanced. Blissful, cool, escape within the natural space.
This is a feeling so well reflected across the way by Waddell Landscapes who also picked the love affair which was beginning with distressed timber. Love the informal trestle table and messy planting ordered in rows to keep it all contained. This is a garden to relax in and forget the trials of the real world.
Beautiful Chelsea 2013 still showed flowers within a structured setting.
So refined and elegant.
Look at the wonderful Champagne Lautent-Perrier Garden by Ulf Nordfjell. The planting contained in stunning sandstone paths and living areas is beginning to blouse out of its containment. This look was reflected throughout the gardens in Chelsea last year.
And look at the Brewin Dolphin Garden by Robert Myers.
But curves are there – note that the straight lines are beginning to turn to curves in the Delancey East Village Garden by Bichael Balston and Marie-Lousie Agius in the photograph below.
Hampton Court shows how other trends combine with this need for floral lusciousness
First of all Hampton Court puts floral abundance into loose organic shapes and gives us ways to get this contemporary look without the pain of a high maintenance garden.
Look after the environment
Many gardens combined this look with ways to protect the environment and attract the local wildlife – a huge trend which has been growing over a number of years now.
Just to give a taste, look at the Ecover Garden by Matthew Childs for Hampton Court in 2013.
Colourful, informal, not a square in sight and it is absolutely environmentally friendly, managing water and energy and the local inhabitants.
This garden also deserves a post of its own.
Go see the gardens at Hampton Court if you want to see what is really happening in gardens we all want to live in today.
And have a look at the post on the best of the Hampton Court gardens in 2013. The link is at the end of this article but you need to keep reading here before you dive off into other bits of deliciousness.2014 is confirming these trends.
This look of floral abundance and plants to attract the local wildlife is definitely one being followed in 2014
In New Zealand’s lovely Ellerslie Garden Show in March this year, flowers also reigned supreme.
This look is best shown in Under My Umberella by Ben Hoyle. The planting here is wonderful. See the photographs below.
And add fantasy, blissful escape and fun
And I love the fantasy of this beautiful garden which celebrates the other major trend of the past few years.
This garden celebrates the need for escape into a fantastical and safe, serene blissful home – away from the trials of the world…
The huge curved walls and umbrellas protect the water garden and living area – bliss…
Look at the deliciousness of the planting. Messy grassy planting with flowers…
Everything left to go to seed…
And those curved walls into which you can plant adding height to the planting.
Ellerslie was also all about community gardens and growing veggies at home…
To the left is Time for Tea,by the Canterbury Community Gardens Association showcasing some of their wonderful community gardens.
To the right is Grandad’s Shed, by Canterbury Horticultural Society showing off the return of the garden of bygone days.
And much to my delight, the showcased school gardens which celebrated kitchen gardens and every other lesson were managed by primary kids explaining what was going on…
To the left is Noteworthy,celebrating the important role music plays at Chrisnallwood Primary. To the right is Morning Tea in Lyttelton after a swim in Corsair Bay.
And finally to end this year for me so far…
Melbourne International Garden Show 2014.
I gave you a taste of this one at the beginning with Phillip Whithers delightful garden Here and Now. I think that this garden pulls most of the garden trends together in one space…
This is a sophisticated mix of floral abundance….
In an organic stone setting.
Which mixes fruit, vegetables, fish ….
With sophisticated outdoor living in this secluded and private outdoor bath house…
And a retro 60’s touch to bring in an individual look to relaxing in the garden…
Phillip Withers wowed me in 2012 with his first Show Garden as a student The Gift.
And I have to say he continues to hit the mark…
Next Singapore 2014 and hopefully Hampton Court later this year
I am going to Singapore in August and I really hope Lynne and David can visit Hampton Court on my behalf again this year. Both these garden shows really give us the best garden designers can do to bring fantasy, love, colour and fun into our lives.
I can’t wait…
The links to other Hampton Court posts.