The dawn of a New Year is nearly here – a fresh start full of life’s promise, a time when we celebrate new beginnings and plot new year’s resolutions to be more mindful in our lives. For the garden, though, the new year is springtime in the southern hemisphere. By year’s end, the delights of spring’s first flush are over; we have gasped in awe at the vision of massed roses and been delighted with some of the older roses. And now summer is upon us, and recurrent roses bring perfume, colour and spectacle to the garden. It is a beautiful time to enjoy outdoor living and be reminded of the joy of a garden.
I’ve been surprised by the new forms in my garden. I have put this down to the value of time. Gardens take time to grow, develop, and fuse with all the companion plants and herbs and create unique vistas. The passage of time is a vital ingredient in any garden. It takes time for ideas to form and to go through the process of trial and error; to see what works, what doesn’t, and what pops up way beyond expectations.
The passage of time allows for all those small tasks we perform every week in the garden to build collectively into larger-scale changes before our eyes; although never finished, never perfect and constantly changing. There are days when I think, “I should have done this or that” the mere fact that I’m out there regularly is the key to overall success, so the most vital trait we need to do, is to show up!
Showing up in the garden is about observing and looking at the garden and plants to notice the changes and what is needed. Observe, reflect in awe and wonder at the natural world, and then the time spent will reward with new ideas, and become restorative, calming and healing. When I wander the garden each morning, I take my camera because photographing the garden elements is an easy way to appraise what you’re looking at, and helps the mind observe more clearly.
The dawn of 2023 in our summer will bring shifts in garden trends after the extreme heat and drought of the Northern hemisphere in 2022. Our garden trends will respond to the challenges we have seen in the past couple of years after the pandemic bought many people to gardening, and houseplants, and to creating aesthetically pleasing outdoor living spaces.
5 GARDEN TRENDS FOR 2023
THE CUT-FLOWER GARDEN
The cut flower garden is fantastic for having a personal source of cut flowers when needed and is one of the significant rewards of growing roses, and nurturing a garden. When choosing rose varieties look for styles that provide continual blooms on long straight stems, such as Earth Angel, Queen Elizabeth 11, Fairytale Magic, Forget me Knot, Grand Siecle, Heidi’s Wedding Rose, Kardinal, Heaven Scent, Jardins de l’Essonne, La Vien Rose, Just Joey, PerFyoom Perfume, Peter Frankenfeld, Ashram, Pink Intuition, Cabana, Mother’s Love, Enchanting and the list will go on.
Apart from roses, many beautiful flowers are suitable for vases and bouquets and are easily grown in home gardens. Cosmos is a winner and easy to grow from seeds planted in early spring and other sturdy stemmed flowers; echinacea, celosia, sunflowers, dahlias, Shasta daisies, salvias, delphiniums, ranunculus, alliums, dianthus, hydrangeas, red hot pokers, strelitzia, and oyster plant. Along with flowers, there are textural plants that make bouquets, and flower arrangements sing, like artichokes, ornamental cabbages, olive branches, eucalyptus leaves, proteas, japonica and kangaroo paw.
THE CLIMATE GARDEN
It is becoming increasingly apparent that our gardens need to reflect the changes we experience in our climate each season. Extreme weather events appear more often; drought, storms, bushfires and heatwaves. We must rethink the schedule of when we start to prune, sow, and harvest our roses, herbs, vegetables and plants as the weather becomes more unpredictable.
It is time for a new approach and to trust your intuition in the garden more readily because the seasons are not as we remember. Go by your observations of the weather and become more aware of your garden’s locality, and what is happening in the garden’s environment. Our future gardens must consider nature first, then colour and beauty second.
THE MEDITERRANEAN GARDEN
My preferred garden is a collection of contradictory opposites, for I grow hundreds of roses and a vast assortment of dry garden species. The dry garden or Mediterranean garden is a buzzword for 2023; Salvias, catmints, lavenders, artemisias, lamb’s ears, Jerusalem sage, Russian sage, rosemary, kniphofias, pelargoniums, Santolina, lavenders, penstemons, thymes, agaves, autumn joy, grasses, dusty miller, licorice plant, euphorbia and many common garden herbs.
Herbs and rosemary hedges, thymes and grasses, shaded seating areas with climbing plants over arches, walls and pergolas. These plants’ resilience is perfect for a Mediterranean garden or a wise- water garden that is becoming essential in recent years due to climate change. Other aspects of the Med garden are the increased use of drought-tolerant groundcovers that one can tread on, more sandstone and gravel pathways, and elevated patio spaces. The use of terracotta pots, stone walls, and olive, lemon, and pomegranate trees in the garden.
THE NO LAWN GARDEN
Lawns are being reduced in size and replaced with a selection of groundcovers, ornamental grasses and low, drought-tolerant plants. Returning a lawn to a naturalistic space that is beneficial to pollinators, does not require any chemicals for upkeep, does not need mowing and is an easy and carefree way to design your preferred space. Large sections of my garden that were once high-maintenance lawn areas are now multi-faceted garden beds with a predominance of roses. Still, many more drought-tolerant companion plants keep the spaces full and the soil covered so it does not dry out.
THE GARDEN SANCTUARY
Gardens reflect who we are no matter the style or size of a garden, from houseplants and eco-pods on a balcony, a small inner city garden to a sprawling suburban or country garden these spaces are important aspects of our lives that make us happy. The concept of a green space or garden is here to stay, and where we now; work, play, relax, entertain, exercise, practise yoga, meditate and look after our well-being. The garden sanctuary is a haven away from the world created to enjoy entertaining or a quiet sheltered area for relaxation, and to enjoy the fragrance and colour of the garden; our personal sanctuary, retreat or refuge.
A garden sanctuary is not just about the visual but our auditory and olfactory senses. So, start by making a list of what elements make you happy and what the sanctuary is for; entertaining, reading, yoga or simply sitting with nature. Whether your comfort zone is to sunbake in seclusion, a garden seat amongst the roses, a hammock between the trees, a lounge chaise to lie by the pool or a perfect chair in the shade to read and enjoy a wine or tea. For the sounds, smells and views of nature, use aromatic foliage like peppermint geraniums, rose geraniums, fragrant roses, climbing roses, lavenders, jasmines, wisteria, frangipani, and herbs like curry plants, oregano, rosemary and thyme.
All these garden trends are easy to achieve and will provide a sense of escape, but also they are profoundly personal, so it’s up to you how to design your own perfect space. Whether your primary motivation is to be more environmentally sound, or you are all about seclusion, and relaxation or love to have friends and family over, one thing for sure is our love for gardens is here to stay in the New Year.
Title quote by Rainer Maria Rilke.
Content Di Baker 2022
Images Di Baker 2022