Budding trends for this year’s gardens

The promise of lighter, longer days is on the horizon and as we welcome the new year and look forward to the blossoming season ahead, head of garden at Dobbies, Louise Golden, shares her expert trend insights and planting advice for 2019.

After months of careful planning, keeping a watchful eye on emerging trends and trips to meet growers, the team have worked to guarantee you will find something you’ll love for both your home and garden this season at Dobbies.

Here, Louise shares exclusive ‘behind the scenes’ insights into the work behind the garden centres’ colourful displays, the new ranges arriving soon and what’s set to be popular in gardens across the country for the year ahead.

If you had to choose, what is your favourite season between spring and summer, and why?

Definitely spring and the anticipation of the gardening year ahead. Hellebores (Lenten Roses) and Prunus Kojo no Mai are the first to put on a show in my garden. But it’s the vibrant colours of Tulips contrasting with the rich purples of drifts of honesty that signal to me that soon the garden will explode into a tapestry of colour with the emergence of Herbaceous Perennials that have been lying dormant over the winter months.

The unfurling of fresh new leaves beneath branches laden in the majestic blooms of Magnolia never fails to delight.

Many months of work have gone into the getting the spring summer range ready, can you tell us a little more about the journey from inspiration and planning stages to arriving in stores?

Our Plant Buyers work closely with growers and breeders, visiting plant shows and trial grounds both in the UK and Europe to select the best performing and reliable new varieties that will give our customers great results and value for money.

It is not just about new introductions – many of our much-loved and favourite garden varieties are still by far the best, putting on a fantastic display in your garden year after year.

Trend setting flower shows such as Chelsea showcase new plants and inspirational gardening ideas that we strive to capture in our offering. Taking account of long-standing trends such as well-being, grow your own, plants for dry soils and small spaces are all areas we consider in our planning.

Are there any new varieties of flowers/ plants that will be available in Dobbies centres for 2019?

  1. Hydrangea Runaway Bride – RHS Chelsea Flower Show Plant of the Year 2018. The garland Hydrangea producing a profusion of white Lacecap flowers June-September.
  2. Digitalis Panther Pink – Masses of light pink flowers over a very long flowering season, compact and very floriferous.
  3. Helianthus Sunbelievable – 3rd place in RHS Chelsea flower show plant of the year competition. Flowers from June to November, multi branched and compact sunflower
  4. Clematis Meghan – in celebration of the 2018 Royal Wedding. Dark purply-red May-June & again in July-September.
  5. Rose Emily Bronte from David Austin – a new introduction from 2018, soft pink in colour strong fragrance.
  6. Lavender Phenomenal – super hardy to -15c and will grow in sun, shade, even wet soils! Very long spikes of lilac purple flowers all summer long.
  7. Hibiscus Starburst Chiffon – award winning in 2017 masses of flowers July-September deep pink to pale pink shades, fully hardy.
  8. Blackberry Purple Opal Raspberry Ruby Beauty – both patio varieties suitable for growing on your terrace, just reach out your hand from your sun lounger and pick your own fresh fruit!
  9. Deutzia Raspberry Sundae – flowers mid spring to mid-summer gorgeous delicate larger than normal pinky purple flowers.

Succulents and houseplants have continued to be popular, is this something which will grow in 2018 or is there a new trend you predict will bloom for the year ahead?

Yes, this trend will definitely continue as we all become more aware of the positive effects of including plants in our home and office spaces, for both their well-being and air purifying properties.

The trend for hanging plants and maximising wall space will develop, particularly for those living in more urban areas, keen to bring the outdoors in. The easy to care for nature of cacti and succulents is perfect for those with busy lives.

We are excited to launch our new range of hardy cacti called Opuntia or ‘Prickly Pears’ for 2019. Hardy in the coldest of winter months or in the scorching summer heat, with our ever-changing weather we think there will be even more interest in cacti and succulents, as they can be planted outside in pots to add a tropical feel to your terrace.

The tropical ‘Afrique’ look is going to be big this year. People are going for a big, lush feel to their gardens, depending on where they are living. If they’re further South, the better climate will allow on-trend gardeners to do that in their gardens, while in the North, they can plant in pots and pull them into sheltered places.

Big, dramatic plants – such as Cordylines, Canna lilies and hardy Palms – are going to be on-trend, and richly-coloured foliage bedding plants, such as Coleus with amazing leaf patterns, will give gardens that wow factor.

What do you predict will be the biggest trend seller this year?

Looking stunning in both a contemporary and cottage garden setting, we predict the RHS Chelsea Flower Show Plant of the Year 2018, the Hydrangea Runaway Bride, to be one of the top picks for 2019.

The garland Hydrangea produces a profusion of white Lacecap flowers from June to September and is versatile enough to suit all garden styles. We are seeing Hydrangeas in general growing in popularity, due in part to their ease of care and long-lasting flower display.

What are your top 5 gardening trend predictions for 2019?

  1. Tropical plants such as succulents, Houseleeks, Aeonium, Cordylines, Canna Lilies, Colocasia, Agapanthus (20vars) will feature heavily as gardener look for plants tolerant of dry conditions.
  2. Demand of plants to attract bees and butterflies to your garden, at Dobbies we will be stocking the new variety Buddleja Berries and Cream. Packed full of cone-shaped clusters of flowers, these are a real magnet for bees and butterflies.
  3. Grow Your Own for healthy eating. As more and more of us look to include additional vegetables in our diet and the number of people on exclusively plant-based diets increases; easy to grow vegetables, salads and herbs suitable for growing in small spaces such as wall planters and patio containers will rise.
  4. Hanging gardens – new ways to incorporate hanging plants into our home. The macramé hangers are making a comeback with a contemporary and modern twist.
  5. Grouping plants to create a mini indoor garden, with contemporary pot covers to reflect your interior style is a look that continues to be on-trend.

How do you think we can all benefit from spending more time in the garden?

Spending time in the garden is of huge benefit in our hectic everyday lives. Quiet time away from our phones and laptops is vital to balance our time online and being surrounded by nature is the perfect way to unwind.

Working with nature to create a garden reflecting your own individual style is incredibly rewarding, resulting in a space that is a joy to share with family and friends.