Spring garden trends

PUBLISHED: 18:15 12 April 2010 | UPDATED: 17:02 20 February 2013

Shrubs, colour, structure and growing your own produce are must-haves in the garden this year. Philippa Pearson looks at spring gardening trends

THE catwalk isnt the only place for the latest fashion trends gardens can be fashionable, too. Its all down to personal taste and requirements but if youre looking to update your plot and grow plants with catwalk appeal, try some of these trends for the latest look.

Permanent planting schemes
Whilst were all still watching our pennies, permanent plantings such as shrubs and perennials are seen as quality and value for money over annual plants. I think annuals still have a place in the garden to fill gaps and add instant colour and are economical if grown from seed. But shrubs and perennials last from year to year and you can increase your stock with free plants from cuttings and divisions.

We need some cheery colour after the doom and gloom so choose plants with this in mind. All year round colour is even better and many shrubs and trees such as Cornus, Salix, Betula and Prunus have colourful stems and bark in the winter months. Try combining different foliage shapes from grasses and shrubs with colourful perennials for a tapestry effect in borders.

Evergreen hedges of any size will provide a permanent green backdrop to your planting schemes. They add structure and formal lines and are great for wildlife. To break long plots up, try adding a pergola or arch across the mid-point of your garden, maybe having a hedge either side of this so you can try different planting styles in the two areas. Small trees and shrubs in big pots also add structure and definition.

Grow your own
Whatever the size of your garden, there is something productive to grow in even the smallest space. From patio vegetables, trailing tomatoes and strawberries in hanging baskets to dwarf vegetable varieties in the flower border and fruit bushes in pots, everyone can make space for growing produce in their gardens. Trained fruit trees look decorative, are great for small spaces and produce a high yield.

Many garden centres across the county have special promotions for the grow-your-own trend. Wyevale at Stevenage and Hitchin, Hillers at Hemel Hempstead, Homebase, Van Hage at Great Amwell and many others are offering a fantastic range of plants, vegetable seedlings, equipment and advice. Many manufacturers are now producing their own range of special composts for growing fruit and vegetables and many are 100% chemical free and organic. Ayletts at St Albans has a comprehensive collection of products including growing sacs ideal for potatoes, carrots and other vegetables, great for patios. They also have veggie beds on legs, useful for gardeners of all abilities.

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