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Welcome return to native plants.

Byline: Hannah Stephenson

GARDENERS are likely to return to native plants that give value for money, with an emphasis on low-cost options and a merge of vegetables within the flower border.

So says Andrew Duff, director of garden design courses at Inchbald School of Garden Design ( who toured Chelsea with me last week to point out the trends we are likely to be seeing in the coming year.

"Next year is going to be much fluffier, but in a naturalistic way," he says. "Our native species need shouting about - we'll see more of the viburnum, the oak and other plants which attract wildlife. We may still see manicured touches, but using native species." Colours will be moody - fewer brilliant colours, more blood reds and blacks, he predicts.

Deep purple irises and bloodred aquilegias were the prevalent plants at Chelsea, while alliums, dahlias and tulips were not.

Andrew said: "People are only using things that are tried and trusted. They don't want to splash out on designs that are going to be temporary.

"People are playing it quite safe. Now is not the time to make a mistake. They want cool, calm and subtle. At Chelsea I was expecting moody blacks and greys but I also expected some big wow-factor fluorescent colours like oranges, which is what is happening in fashion - but not in the garden. But we are much more conscious about what materials we are using.

Now we will see a bigger sweep of British natives coming in..

"Glaucous blue yuccas work well in front of a matt black wall, and another great trick to exaggerate depth is to plant small-leaved plants at the back and large at the front. It tricks the eye into thinking things are further away.

"We may see a revival of the old species, such as purple runner beans, the blue carrots, which naturally have a better colour foliage," says Andrew.

"Ultimately, our gardens will reflect the release from the current stranglehold of the recession.

"Gone are the days of carefully manicured gardens," Duff says.

"There's a more rough and ready approach, a return to allowing things to look slightly out of place. Our houses have become very ordered and structured, and the garden will give us a release from that."


Blood-red aquilegia.
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Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Jun 3, 2009
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