2020 garden trends from the Garden Press Event – The Middle-Sized Garden


March 8th, 2020 Posted In: Garden trends & design

I’ve just come back from discovering the latest 2020 garden trends at this year’s Garden Press Event.

The Garden Press Event is an annual show in the Design Centre in Islington, London. Major gardening companies, organisations and influencers get together to talk about what they are doing this year and to share ideas.

So to round up the latest trends, I spoke to experts from all aspects of the gardening industry.

Rosy Hardy of Hardy’s Plants says that long flowering plants like geums will be big in 2020.

Even if you don’t really care about ‘trends’ as such, they often have a sub-conscious influence on your gardening.  That’s because you see them in garden centres, nurseries, books, magazines and blogs and in social media. Not to mention when you visit friends’ or public gardens.

Sustainability – the biggest of the 2020 garden trends

There’s no doubt that we’re stepping beyond an obsession with single use plastics into a much more rounded understanding of sustainability in the garden. As Andy Garland of BBC Radio Kent’s award-winning Sunday Gardening programme noted there were lots of initiatives for ‘reducing plastic, reducing peat use and increasing the use of biological controls in the garden.’

Lifestyle Garden recycled chairs

These garden chairs from Lifestyle Garden are made from plastic fishing nets. Each one takes 3.5 tons of plastic out of the ocean and recycles it.

There were peat-free composts from Melcourt, Westland and Dalefoot Composts. I’ve tried all these composts in the past and they are just as good as any peat-based composts.

As gardeners, our main problem in going peat-free is that most garden centres still stock mainly peat-based products. And they’re not even labelled ‘peat-based’! If you’re in the UK, you need to actively look for ‘peat-free’ labels on compost.

If you live in Australia, you’ve probably never used a peat-based compost and are wondering why there is all the debate. Extracting peat releases vast amounts of CO2 into the eco-system and destroys some of the world’s most fragile habitats.

And if you are thinking ‘I only buy a couple of bags a year…’, then you are the ones who can make the most difference.

If those who ‘only buy a couple of bags of compost a year’ demand peat-free, then garden centres will stock more of it. There are so many of you.

And garden centres that have to deal with endless questions of ‘where is the peat-free compost?’ from a succession of customers who then only buy 2 bags will get the point!

Environmentally friendly pest control

There’s a definite trend towards environmentally friendly pest control. Grazers have a range of products based on natural ingredients, such as calcium that aim to ‘dissuade pests from eating our precious garden plants.’ I haven’t tried these personally.

Wildlife friendly pest control

There’s an emphasis on protecting wildlife while killing pests. Look out for neonicotinoid-free bug control, for example.

But I do regularly use Neudorff’s ferric phosphate based anti-slug pellets. I’ve found them good and we have a flourishing population of birds in our garden, so they seem to be doing their job without affecting wildlife. Neudorff were also showing their neonicotinoid-free bug and larvae killers and glyphosate-free weedkillers.

2020 garden trends in roses

But the sustainable garden trend goes beyond using peat-free composts and non damaging products. Small changes in the way you garden can help increase the health of your plants or decrease the use of plastics.

For example, Michael Marriott of David Austin Roses, told me that they’re promoting the use of bare root roses. These can be planted between November and March. Bare root roses are cheaper. They are posted in recyclable paper sacks. Potted roses, which can be planted all year round, come in plastic pots. And they use alot of water while they’re growing in the pots.

Michael Marriott of David Austin Roses

Michael Marriott of David Austin Roses sees a trend towards people growing roses in a more sustainable way.

He also said that people were growing roses with other flowers much more. ‘This looks beautiful and helps stop the spread of disease.’ A rose-only border can look spectacular, but it’s much easier for spores or predators to spread across the whole group. Planting your roses with other plants between them is a healthier way of growing roses.

However, he advises choosing plants that are not too invasive. ‘Roses don’t like other plants growing around their roots,’ he said. ‘Plant the companion plants 45-50cm away.’ He says that annuals, which have smaller root systems than perennials contrast well with roses – his favourite is Phacelia tanacetifolia (Purple tansy).

Purple tansy companion for roses

Michael Marriott’s favourite companion flower for roses – Purple tansy or Phacelia tanacetafolia.

Plants to avoid growing next to roses include Nepeta ‘Six Hills Giant’, Lysimachia and Alchemilla mollis because they are so vigorous. Now I know why my ‘Bonica’ roses have been less vigorous since I planted a row of Nepeta Six Hills Giant next to them.

More vibrant plant colours trend

Rosy Hardy of Hardy’s Cottage Garden Plants was sharing a stand with the plant app Candide. She says that brighter flower colours are coming back in 2020. ‘We’re seeing the bright reds and  yellows. People are still buying the more softer colours, but you need to add some splashes of brighter colour too, or it all looks too muted.’

2020 garden trends include bright colours like this yellow crocosmia from Hardys Plants.

Bright yellow crocosmia from Hardy’s Plants. Rosy Hardy says there’s a trend away from dwarf plantings towards taller, architectural shapes.

She also thinks people are particularly looking for plants with a long season of flowering interest. ‘So geums will be big this summer, along with some of the daisy flowers. More colour, more scent and more flowers – that’s good for pollinators and makes everyone happy.’

We’ve got some good recommendations for easy care plants that flower over a long season in this ‘Plant heroes – brilliant low maintenance plants’ post. And this Small Garden Planting Ideas that really work has some good ideas too.

Plus wildflower and wildlife seeds

Ian Cross of Mr Fothergills Seeds says the trend towards planting more wildflower and wildlife friendly seeds continues. ‘And there’s a return to veg growing. Growing vegetables took off after the 2008 financial crisis, but a series of difficult seasons made growing tough for everybody. Vegetable growing dropped away, but it’s now very much back.

202 garden trends include wild flower seeds from Mr Fothergill

Wild flower and wildlife-friendly seeds are a big trend for 2020, along with growing veg, says Mr Fothergill…

More 2020 garden trends in this video:

Find out more trends from experts in this video. Including Michael Perry (Mr Plant Geek), Tanya from Lovely Greens, Tamsin Westhorpe from the Garden Media Guild and Stockton Bury Gardens and the Candide Gardening app. Also Sean James Cameron from Gardening Made Easy, George Plumptre from the National Garden Scheme, Cobra Garden Products, Root Pouch, Lifestyle Garden and more.

Shop my favourite garden products, tools and books

I’m often asked for recommendations, so I’ve put together some useful lists of the books, tools and garden products I use myself on the Middlesized Garden Amazon store. Note that links to Amazon are affiliate so I may get a small fee but it doesn’t affect the price you pay.

For example, there are some particularly good new gardening books out at the moment, so I’ve done a Good New Gardening Books list. Click on the top right hand corner of each book to see why I recommend it.

Pin to remember 2020 garden trends

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2020 garden trends from the Garden Press Event


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