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As the garden prepares to slowly wake from its winter slumber, this is a great time to think about the coming growing season and prepare for all the excitement that is just around the corner. But just for the moment, depending on the weather, the best gift you can provide for your garden is to stay away. The compaction caused by winter boots on soggy lawns and beds does no favours for the structure of the soil. It’s possible to work by using boards on which to tread, or you can wait until conditions improve.
If you are anxious to get going and work outdoors, this is a good time to eliminate weeds and prepare the bare soil ready for growing. Winter frost and freezing temperatures are your friend in the vegetable garden. They can help to break up the soil and also play a part in killing off bacteria and pests that might affect your crop. But don’t be tempted to dig over your flower beds and borders. The soil is keeping the roots warm and you don’t want to introduce air pockets that will allow the cold air to permeate deep below the surface.
You now have some time to plan your gardening year. Here’s a selection of predictions for this year’s trends:
- Indoors and out, the colours blue and green in terms of paint have overtaken grey in the popularity stakes. This applies to walls and ceilings indoors but also sheds and feature walls in the garden.
- Sandy and rusty tones outdoors are also on trend.
- Animal prints indoors and in outside dining areas are all the rage for throws, rugs, cushions and doormats.
- House plants are definitely the way to go – the bigger the better!
- Foliage plants have overtaken flowering plants in desirability factor. Contrasting shades of green, purple and red can look highly effective.
- The same applies to house plants and beauties such as Alocasias, Calatheas, Stromanthe (pictured above) and Marantas are sought after because of their textures and tones.
- Box hedging is being replaced by alternatives because of box blight and other problems. Gardeners are using pittosporum, Ilex crenata, euonymus, rosemary and lavender instead.
- Wildlife-friendly is high on the agenda. The minimalist look is falling out of favour because it offers so little in terms of biodiversity. Younger gardeners, in particular, have adopted this trend wholeheartedly.
- Outdoor rugs are popular, as are accents in paving. Landscapers are being asked to incorporate tiling within standard paving to make a feature in focal areas such as seating and dining locations.