THE MODERN MINT BLOG
This is part 2 of our look at garden design trends for 2015. You can read part 1 here. Part 2 is based on suggestions made by the magazine Gardens Illustrated. We used them as inspiration for a blog post on garden design trends for 2014 as well – as they have lots of good ideas, well worth sharing!
(This book may also be of use to you – it takes you on a journey all over the world, looking at work by top garden designers. It was published a few years ago now, but horticulture is not the fastest moving industry, so it will be a relevant enough resource to inspire you… The Garden Source: Inspirational Design Ideas for Gardens and Landscapes.)
Garden Design Trends 2015, from Gardens Illustrated
Ulf Nordfjell, Landscape Architect
Designers should focus more to develop their own ideas. The risk is that we will end up with an era of international gardens in all countries where all more or less look the same. It’s encouraging to see that the use of Swedish materials, such as timber, granite and steel is growing, even if imported materials are cheaper.
Jo Thompson, Garden Designer
There is a trend back to softer, more organic lines, moving away from the overuse of vast soulless rectangles of concrete and stone, which once suggested success but now suggest ostentation.
Isabelle Van Groeningen, Designer
The trend for grow-your-own as well as being properly self-reliant continues to rise in Germany. This ethos can be found in all types of garden and levels of society. From balcony boxes carrying prolific crops of old tomato cultivars, small gardens in garden colonies to community gardening projects as well as the finest urban gardens.
Teresa Moller, Landscape Designer
I think to design simply for aesthetics is not enough by itself. I would love if people would start to think of more than just beauty in their projects. We must focus on how nature gives us gifts that we can eat, drink, smell, feel and learn. We need to see and understand that nature is not just for beauty – it is for an experience.
These are just a few of the lovely words from the Garden Illustrated article, but they give you a sense of what these wonderful designers are thinking at the moment. We don’t agree it is a bad thing if gardens begin to look the same all over the world, though we understand where Ulf’s fear perhaps comes from – people do like to copy what they have seen elsewhere. For example many British clients will ask for a Japanese garden and spend vast sums of money copying a style of garden that doesn’t fit the landscape. Nor will the client necessarily engage with the garden and the cultural references the rocks and gravel intend the viewer to ‘get’. An English version of a Japanese garden might work – mounds of grass instead of stones – if the designer and landscaper were careful not to make it look too much like teletubby land…
We imagine this copycat garden style is repeated in other countries too – the beautiful ‘English’ lawn in Shanghai, or the rose garden in Perth, or the formal box parterre attached to the back of a house in Singapore, alongside exotic trees and fruits – there will always be people who take ideas and use them without understanding them, or ‘must have’ something even if it is in poor taste.
But what also happens when garden styles are sought out, photographed, written about and shared, is that people find a way to generate their own work from these fresh influences – they may begin by pastiching something they have seen, but from imitation will come understanding and eventually the kindling of something new. We are all for this openness – if it homogenises garden style for a time then so be it, because eventually people will come along and rail against it.
Look at the work of Amalia Robredo, the Uruguayan landscape designer who was involved in our Chelsea Fringe project last year – she has worked relentlessly to champion her countries native plants – because they are fabulous plants, as well as being troubled with extinction.
“The place where I live… has a very specific plant community that only takes place in this coastal area, it is called “matorral espinoso psamófilo” (Our Note: ‘the spiny scrub?’), it holds some endemic species and it is an endangered community due to urban development.”
We can’t wait for people to document the gardens of Sri Lanka, Thailand, Romania, Finland, Mali, Guyana… let the world show us what it has, and (Ulf is right) let designers develop their own ideas.
Teresa Moller’s words, that we must focus on the gifts of nature, sounds almost like a call to arms. It echoes the work of Fernando Caruncho at Mas de las Voltes, where he planted a wheat field for his client and surrounded it with olive trees, orchards and grapevines…
“In summer the wheat is tall and golden and the great plots sway in the wind. There is fruit in the orchard. Autumn brings the grape harvest and the cutting of the wheat. In winter the earth is plowed and sown and marked by wonderful patterns. And in the spring once again, all is a sea of green.
What could be more enobling than producing flour from the wheat, wine from the vines, oil from the olives and fruit from the trees? In a sense this is the first garden…”
We think Teresa Moller has it right – that if we are to have a garden design trend for 2015, then let it be one focusing on how nature gives us gifts.
You can buy Ulf Nordfjell’s book here at Amazon – Ulf Nordfjell: Fourteen Gardens
And Teresa Moller’s book – Teresa Moller and Associates: Unveiling the Landscape – can be found there too…
We hope you enjoy your garden in 2015!
Making a new topiary out of the large, dull facade of a Taxus blob… My work was to change it up from a ‘jelly drop’ shape and give it texture, open it out and let the light through, and make it a sculptural feature in the background of the garden in summer… yet a major part of the garden in winter. A few more years before it becomes something special, but there was far more leaf and growth inside the plant than I thought and so it will not take too long for it to gain in character and become …
Two weeks ago I was invited to teach topiary at the garden of Griselda Kerr, the author of The Apprehensive Gardener. I love teaching and sharing skills, but I was placed on the spot in the afternoon and asked to show how I would make a new topiary from an existing shrub. So below is a speeded-up video of me creating a cloud-pruned topiary from an old boxwood tree. I particularly love the ending when the class get involved….! See the video here. One hour was all it took, and though it needed a little tidying-up, it was made by …
Charlotte Molesworth, my topiary mentor, and I are running our popular topiary workshop again in 2022. You can email me for details – or go here for information, your ticket and to find out about dates. Book A Spot On A Topiary Workshop, September 2022