Here in the UK, we are passionate about gardening. For example, in 2010, the UK garden retail market was worth an estimated £4.6 billion, and half of all garden owners were growing their own produce of some kind - 12 per cent of these for the first time.
And as we may not be renowned for our climate, we often look to bring the outside in, with garden furniture increasingly suited for year-round use.
So as we enter 2013, what are the trends set to tempt seasoned gardeners and keen amateurs this year?
Wild and free
The “effortless meadow” look that was all the rage in 2012 is set to remain bang on trend throughout 2013. But while this supposedly “wild and mature” look may seem like the result of little effort, don’t be fooled into thinking that this is really the case. There is a fine line between an artist’s dream and an overgrown nightmare and the fact that there is a lack of precision can make it a difficult look to achieve, but it’s worth it.
As we continue to live in the shadow of recession, seeds are the economical choice, as opposed to ready-grown plants. And with wildlife suffering from our increasingly unpredictable climate, planting wisely can encourage insects back to the garden; 2013 will hopefully see people making efforts to keep our garden visitors where they rightly belong.
It isn’t so odd that the TV programme that’s conquering the world should have an effect on garden fashions.
So where you have areas of wild flower freedom, mix this with traditional garden stylings of the English aristocracy. Think box hedges with not a single leaf out of line, topiary that can be both as artistic and imaginative as it comes, or with the cleanest lines achievable. Trees and plants that were so popular during our grandparents’ youths are now bang on trend. The weeping willow sets off the meadow look to perfection, and the apple tree feeds our desire for home-grown produce.
When it comes to country estate garden furniture, stone, semi-circular seating looks as if it is meant to be the thing and has existed in gardens for generations. If space allows, a corner dedicated to a wire-work gazebo offers an indulgent area to escape to, as well as being the ultimate entertaining area that will leave a positive impression on both invited guests and ultra-nosey neighbours alike. Use strings of solar lights entwined through the wire as your outdoor lighting to add to the enchantment of your perfect English garden.