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Garden Fashion — 35 Comments

  1. I really liked your refreshing perspective. It makes for a very interesting post on plants that are in ‘style’ at a particular time in gardening. It is funny how there is a fashion per say in gardening, plants are plants and nature is nature and with dealing with both, we are a bit at their mercy and what will be, will be. We do our best to guide and maintain, but in the end, nature always wins. So the environmental winner above is just taking the path of the least resistance.

  2. What a great post Alistair, I agree with your sentiments.

    Gardening is not exempt with trends and ‘fashion’, and it is true that there’s an element of snobbery. The classic example is indeed the Dahlia, considered old fashioned, now it’s making a comeback. And then there’s so much more; conifer and heather, rose garden, etc. And what about Pampas Grass. I have a dwarf form that I think is very nice but there’s still this stigma attached to it, being a ’70’s’ plant.

    The current rage at the moment is ‘Grow Your Own’, and all of a sudden fruit and veg growing is trendy, even amongst Londoners and other city dwellers. There’s now a waiting list for allotments in London, five or so years ago they were barely used. I encounter alot of these ‘fruit and veg growers’ who you can tell only do it as its trendy, more so than the actual principle of it.

    There was an outcry before that when Monty Don used to present Gardener’s World, he leaned heavily and was blatantly biased towards growing your own produce, and most of the program’s slot was dedicated to it over the growing of ornamentals. There was a sigh of relief amongst ornamentalists when he stepped down, but I think his replacement wasn’t strong enough either hence the program lost its way. Now that he’s coming back again I won’t be surprised if he carries on with his ‘grow your own fruit and veg’ advocacy.

    I think ‘growing your own’ is a great thing, but should be more than just a fad. I’m not a fruit and veg grower myself, I’m almost a 100% ornamentalist. Although if I had more space and time on my hands then I wouldn’t mind growing my own produce 🙂

  3. I agree we must choose our own styles and not sniff at those of others (I suggest the person who leaves the garden to look after itself is also not to be sniffed at). I would be uncomfortable in your garden and you wouldn’t like mine in the least but that doesn’t matter at all. Yours is yours and mine is mine. We can take advice from which experts we chose and create places which suit us, our tastes and enthusiasms. Hurray for individuality.

    Esther

    • Esther, I would not dream of turning up my nose at other peoples gardens, in fact it is how I get a great deal of pleasure, enjoying what others have created. I suspect I would also like your garden

  4. Interesting post Alistair and I do think those photos are spectacular! Your garden is a real gem in my opinion. Have you listed the annuals any place on your blog or did I miss it? For example, those red begonias look quite amazing… what cultivars are they exactly? They look like riegers to me. Do you start them yourself or purchase plants? I would be very comfortable relaxing in your wonderful gardens! Regards, Larry

  5. Your garden is fabulous. If you ever think that your garden is out of fashion, someday, I don’t mind inheriting it. It’s the perfect garden. I bet you don’t have dogs.

  6. I like to pretend my garden is mainly influenced by tradition; by the gardens I grew up with and loved. However, I do fall prey to certain fads, even if I try to limit it to those that will still be acceptable (to me and my husband) in 10 years or further ahead. Dahlias, hydrageas, and now a few hellebores.

    To me, plant fashions remind me of the time I bought a tweed jacket because it was cool and subversive and trendy. I still like to don tweed, but these days I know it doesn’t make me look edgy in any way, but rather like somebody’s grandfather or a caricature of an English country gentleman. (I was once stopped in Grasmere by a group of Japanese tourists who wanted to take pictures of me in tweed in front of Dove Cottage; I hadn’t the heart to tell them I was a foreigner myself.) I don’t mind; I like it and it makes me feel comfy and relaxed. And perhaps a bit eccentric. The same, I hope, can be said in 10 years time about the “fashion” plants I acquire now.

      • Beauty never goes out of style is, I guess, a mantra I can work with when it comes to gardening. If a plant is healthy and beautiful, then surely it can never be out of style, even if it might by some be thought to be out of fashion.

        I realise your regurlar border fronts might not be fashionable, but the intense red with the silver is, surely, beautiful. They’re not a beauty I could – or would perhaps want to – create in our garden, but I always find that taking a step back from personal taste and prejudices allows one to see so much more beauty in the world and enjoy it.

  7. How true that plants come and go in ‘fashion’, which is really a ridiculous thing if you think about it. I was surprised to find you didn’t mention the craze about grasses that is so popular right now. Your garden is absolutely beautiful and thankfully, beauty will never go out of style.

  8. I learn so much from experienced gardeners – and today I learn that there is fashion in gardening. I plant what I like and really don’t care too much what others think or “fashion trends” dictate. And how boring it would be if we all had the same things in our gardens. Imagine, there would be no joy in trawling all the gardening blogs to marvel at fellow gardening-bloggers beautiful gardens! Like yours – pretty as a postcard!

  9. Alistair – I like it when you stick your neck out ! My garden is a private place which I only share with people close to me – luckily they don’t judge anything I do.
    P.S. I wonder if Edith will agree that you have a beautiful lawn…..

  10. What is In or Out is all the same to me. I plant what I like, as you and Myra do?

    Have your blogging journeys reached Noel in Hawaii? He has a Hot Loud and Proud meme going for the end of each month.

  11. I loved your entry today. Never being one who was a slave to fashion, I applaud your stand. I find I accidentally fall into and out of fashion in many things without plan or desire. Because I am not involved enough in the gardening world to know what is fashionable, I fly by the seat of my plant and know what I like.

    I like you unabashedly happy bright yard, both front and back. You would have to tell me if it was fashionable.

  12. Edith if you were to see our lawn at the moment, it is disgraceful, completely ruined by snow mould. Oh by the way a book which I am reading at the moment I think you would like. (Steig Larson) The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo.

  13. I think your garden is amazing! you did well on following your own trend.

    the funny thing about following the rage is that sometimes it catches you. And then you become part of it by accident. And if you say “but i was doing it so long ago” then it just sounds silly. I guess the best is just not think much about it, and hope everyone learn from it and has some nice vegetables to eat. Even if the trend just last a little.

  14. aloha alistair,

    What a beautiful yard, I used to be very meticulous about the front, sides and backyards, but its too much for just myself weeding, weeding and more weeding..now i’m actually content letting some of the areas get a little wild it actually is just the right balance with all my other projects. I love all the color in your yard, something I also strive to do in the jungle of green here.

  15. What a fun post! I also graduated from being a blind follower of the latest fashion to trying to develop a style of my own. That’s aging, isn’t it? I think the garden should please you, not some fashion gurus (where are they anyway?). I was told a few times that so many roses reduce the value of my property because no one wants a high-maintenance garden these days, but I grow them anyway because they make me happy.

    Your garden looks spectacular, I like the bright colors, they make me want to laugh.

  16. The idea of planting something – or not planting something – just because it isn’t fashionable seems to me to be the antithesis of what gardening should be about. I think gardens are intensely personal, and as such should reflect what the people who care and nurture the garden find to be beautiful. I love the huge variety of styles and approaches, love seeing what other people do with their outside space, even love the fact that there are many gardens out there that I would hate to own myself but which delight the owners and are nurtured with passion. Of course I love it when someone else loves my garden too, but it is me that has to live with it and care for it day in and day out, so in the final analysis mine is the only opinion that really matters!

    That said, I think most of us have to admit to being influenced to some degree by the zeitgeist, if only because of the effect on what is made readily available by nurseries and garden centres. I think one of the wonderful things about the internet is that it has made it so much easier to source the plants you want, and someone somewhere is probably growing them whether in or out of fashion. Vive la difference I say, garden with passion and what is fashionable.

    Great post Alistair, as you can tell from all the comments!

    • Janet, I strongly agree with all you say, I don’t have a problem with what’s fashionable, its when they were saying certain plants are not fashionable that really got to me. I also love looking around other gardens and enjoy them all. Why someone said I would hate their garden is a puzzle to me.

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