|The ribboned hats and dappled light here remind me of this Renoir|
Before our preview of this weekend’s Through the Garden Gate (BTW, there are tickets if you hurry), Plant World co-owner Paul Reeves (seen at left) outlined some garden trends, which I thought were interesting. Plant World has been one of Toronto’s independent garden centres for six generations, so has seen trends come and go. By lucky chance, or cunning plan on my part, these all start with the letter C. [Commentary in brackets, mine]:
|Hosta ‘Designer Genes’ is one of the new-generation hostas with red petioles. Are red-leafed hostas far behind?|
Colour and contrast: Foliage colour, particularly. We saw this with the proliferation of coral bells (Heuchera spp.) a few years ago. [In fact, some think this explosion (along with their cousins foam flower or Tiarella and offspring Heucherella), has grown a little out of hand.] Japanese maples are huge at Plant World; they stock over 100 varieties, with a wide diversity of size and form, leaf colour, variegation and shape. The choice of Hostas is widely different from when I began gardening. A sexy plant I succumbed to – not to my regret, I hope – is a red-stemmed chartreuse Hosta ‘Designer Genes.’
Collections: All these possibilities has led to the trend of collecting different varieties and cultivars of plants. [This makes practical sense. If a plant does well in your garden, its cousins might, too. Without setting out to be “a collector,” I somehow collected 20 types of hostas in my small garden. Not all have equal vigor, though (we’ll see about H. ‘Designer Genes’).] Some like to collect just for the joy of it. [So now you are free to say: pardonnez-moi, I am not a plantaholic; I am a collector.]
|Physocarpus ‘Coppertina’ offers interesting foliage, flowers (on last year’s wood), seed heads and peeling bark|
Care (as in easy-care): While there’s no such thing as a no-maintenance garden, many new choices do make life easier for gardeners. Flowering shrubs, for example, have a larger footprint, so they fill space quickly, and many offer long-term foliage interest as well as flowers. Hydrangeas, for instance, come in many new forms and colours. Increasingly, availability of dwarf varieties means that the shrub is less likely to outgrow its space, or do the floppy thing that is the main (perhaps the only) disadvantage of an old reliable like Hydrangea ‘Annabelle.’ Ninebark (Physocarpus spp.) is another shrub with more and more colours to choose from, such as P. ‘Diablo’ (almost black) or ‘Coppertina’ (coppery).
And now I have to go and garden!