Encouraging wildlife, growing your own fruit and veg and informal planting styles are likely to be in vogue for 2009, according to experts via PA

Trends will continue to veer towards environmentally friendly techniques, less concrete used in hard landscaping and subtle colour schemes.
Here’s what the experts predict will be big in 2009.

Joe Swift, garden designer, author and regular on BBC Two’s Gardeners’ World:
“I suspect we’ll see plenty of green at this year’s garden shows, but with some subtle colours added for increased interest,” he says.

“It’s a case of back to basics, looking for texture and foliage combinations and then complimenting those with loose seasonal colour in a naturalistic way, but not all out colour overload. Alien-looking exotics are definitely out.

“Increasing biodiversity, especially in our city gardens, will be high on the agenda, which will lead to a more relaxed and informal planting style,” says Swift, author of Joe’s Urban Garden Handbook and design director of Modular Garden (
He predicts that less concrete will be used, replaced by more porous materials to let the water back into the water table.

“The popular ’grow your own’ approach to fruit and veg will certainly continue as we all look to reconnect ourselves with nature, save a few quid and increase the understanding of where our food comes from,” he says.

“Allotments will be harder to find than ever but I think we’ll see communities getting together in imaginative ways to grow on any spare or neglected pieces of land.”

Award-winning garden designer Chris Beardshaw, presenter of BBC One’s Wild About Your Garden:

“I think 2009 will see an increase in more wildlife friendly and environmentally conscious gardens,” he says.

“It has been a growing interest over the last few years as people realise the importance of our gardens not just as a pleasure space for us humans but as a resource in which to grow our own food, and to create feeding stations and habitats for our friendly wildlife, many of whom are seriously threatened.

“Personally I want to dispel the myth that wildlife friendly gardens have to be messy as I believe it is possible to create a garden that suits our needs as well as the needs of our residing or visiting creatures, while also being a beautiful retreat.

“Watching wildlife in the garden has become something the whole family can enjoy doing together.”

Adam Pasco, editor of BBC Gardeners’ World magazine:

“Creating attractive gardens with emphasis on their wildlife value is just way individuals can make a difference,” he says.
“An increasing number of products are now available from bug boxes to bird feeders, hedgehog homes to frog shelters, plus nuts, seeds and even live insects to feed birds.”
Pasco says composting and recycling will be big on the agenda, while environmental concerns are driving many new product developments.

“Rainwater harvesting systems can be installed under patios and grey water filters are available to allow bath water to be re-used rather than poured down the drain.
“Improvements in rechargeable battery technology with the development of Li Ion batteries has led to great new ranges of power tools. But with rising fuel prices perhaps some gardeners will be giving up their petrol mowers, saving on gym membership, and getting free exercise using a manual push mower as they cut their lawn.

“As solar panels improve in efficiency and reduce in price gardeners will see them available for many more uses, in addition to garden and shed lighting and powering pumps in water features.

“Unlike the fashion industry, gardeners are more discerning and pick and choose from a range of current trends. Cottage gardening and its love of traditional plants and gentle colours continues to inspire, but garden centres in spring will be filled with bolder and brasher plants to cater for exotic tastes and impatient gardeners.”

Andrew Duff, Director of Inchbald Garden Design School:

“Growing your own tends to relate specifically to vegetables, however in the New Year we will see people turning their hands to growing a full range of plants,” he predicts.
“Gone are the days of buying instant and fully grown plants at vast expense – people will be enjoying new experiences and develop closer relationships with their gardens and plants as they grow together.

“I would suggest that investing in a some larger ’back bone’ plants and then interplanting with seedlings will, in time, produce the most natural effect.

“Black is making its return from the 70s,” Duff says.

“Try painting garden furniture matt black and oversized ornaments treated in the same way produce a dynamic focal point. Enforce this moody feel with stylised and architectural planting, the return of ’show off’ plants such as Acanthus and Cynara will complement the drama – think about deep green, large glossy leaves and the contrasting matt black.

“Hard landscaping will start to take a back seat and we will see the re-emergence of crushed stone (hoggin) and river washed pea shingle – both sustainable and cheaper. Hard landscaping will be more about our experience with the garden – how will it feel and sound to walk on and how it will allow self seeders to grow with less pressure to control.”


Recycle your Christmas tree by shredding it for mulch or contact your local authority to find out arrangements for recycling.

Prepare a polythene shelter for outdoor peaches and nectarines, to protect them from peach leaf curl.

If you did not prune and train your summer-fruiting raspberries earlier in the season, then you can still do it now – you will be better able to see what you are doing once the leaves have fallen.

Buy seed potatoes, shallots and onion sets. Sow onions in a heated propagator.

Remove any dead or diseased wood from apples and pears, including spurs with mummified fruit from brown rot infections earlier in the season.

Harvest sprouting broccoli, Brussels sprouts, leeks and Jerusalem artichokes.

Plan a rotation system for vegetable plots to ensure the same crops are not grown in the same beds year after year, to help prevent disease build-up.

Cut off old leaves of hellebores that produce flowers from ground level (including Helleborus x hybridus and H. niger) to expose the flowers and remove possible foliar diseases such as hellebore leaf spot.

Keep alpine houses well ventilated. Remove dead leaves from around basal rosettes to prevent rotting.

Encourage your children to sow sweet peas under cover – the large seeds are easy for little fingers to handle.

Garden contractors are often short of work in winter and therefore available to do major tasks such as paving, fence building and pond digging. Book them now.

By Andrew Wilcox

I love sheds Founder & judge of Shed of the year - Wilco writes mainly about sheds. About the blog Enter your shed into #shedoftheyear


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