The French style garden fallen from grace, the sadly outdated Italianate garden and the long-forgotten ecclesiastical planting style, the garden of yesteryear and its stereotypical classifications is no longer de rigueur. Long confined by strict rules of convention and out of touch with fashion, the garden is at last becoming a hotbed of creativity. The days of artificial-looking borders are definitely over, to the extent that the movement towards ultra-design, however recent it may be, is making way for a far more generous style.
Flamboyant, over-the-top, opulent but also hardy, today’s garden explores new realms of diversity. The time has come for a mix of shapes, green spaces and floral plenitude. To avoid the inevitable drawbacks of gardening and limit tedious, time-consuming maintenance, clients are calling for hardy shrubs and lasting perennials from their landscape gardeners.
Once outdated, the vegetable garden has seen an unexpected revival with the rise in demand for healthier food and ecological concerns. And far beyond pure sustenance, the vegetable garden wholeheartedly embraces its aesthetic calling. Albeit a struggle for the more cynical, cauliflowers and strawberry plants are objects of real beauty! True modernity is all about combining, within the same space, broom, roses, ornamental grasses and citrus trees, but also making the most of a melange of materials. Stone, wood, metal (think Corten steel…) all have a role to play in this new harmony. The fusion of genres, in generous profusion, flies in the face of preconceived ideas.
The garden is integral to our lives. You only have to think of the “fifth room” inside outside living concept that is now firmly imprinted in most people’s minds. Often neglected, sometimes deserted, at times considered worthless, the garden is now a living space in its own right and not only in warmer climes. This peaceful, agreeable haven provides a welcome refuge to recharge our batteries after the rigours of modern day life. A sign of the times, jumping on the bandwagon of the relatively new concept of “gamping” (garden camping), companies and dedicated websites are starting to spring up offering gardens for hourly or daily hire, or even for free. Though certainly not as yet a well-known concept,
it demonstrates that the garden is at the vanguard of up-and-coming trends.
Far from the confines of the countryside and private gardens, the movement is germinating and slowly taking root in city centres too in the somewhat nascent guise of communal gardens, a distant echo of the allotments scattered around the outskirts of large towns during
the last century. A much more common sight, shopping centre walls or streets, all too often brutally grey and neglected, are now adorned with lush greenery. In an approach as aesthetically pleasing as practical, rooftops are now planted over, collect rainwater and help make the city air a little less polluted. Contributing albeit in a minor way to biodiversity, skyline beehives are no longer such a rarity, and against all the odds produce copious amounts of succulent and highly flavoured honey. Yet another side to this “green generosity!”