Emeralds and the gathering

Gardening trends

Gardening, like other design-related professions has its trends.  Sometimes these are created by the horticultural industry itself through clever marketing campaigns.  At other times these fashions reflect wider shifts in the way society is thinking, an example being the recent move towards gardens with a grow-it-yourself element, something of which I am very supportive of as you are well aware.


Have  we missed an opportunity with Ireland’s “The Gathering” to celebrate our greeness?

One thing I am surprised about is that the Irish gardening profession, as a whole, has not capitalised on the fact that this year’s “colour of the year” (announced by Pantone as early as December 2012) is emerald green because there certainly has been a splash of this colour across the world of fashion and creative design in recent times.  Furthermore, as 2013 is Ireland’s Year of the Gathering, I wonder have we missed an opportunity for some creative marketing around all things green (beyond the shamrock and St. Patrick’s Day),  especially when all the celebs have been sporting our national colour?

Plant of the year

We could have exploited this opportunity when an evergreen plant Mahonia eurybracteata subsp. ganpinensis was chosen for the Chelsea Flower Show’s Plant of the Year award.  An even better opportunity presented itself when an edible plant –  the  “strictly-come-dancer” of the herb world –  the wonderfully named “cha cha chive” was named on the same shortlist.  In my view, this should have been the winner tieing-in so appropriately with all things  grow-your-own and being a really interesting, quirky garden plant also.

best plants, new trends, horticulture, garden design

cha cha chive – my plant of the year. Image from wcfcourier

Get creative with your “green” ideas

Whilst I am a firm believer in the long term view and the sustainability of our gardens and the products that we use in them, I would love to see us having a bit more fun on an annual basis.

So this year, why not funk up your garden with a green pot (it does not have to be emerald green of course)?  These pots pictured would look equally well popping up out of some lush foliage or in a garden courtyard design.

2 geo a/w

green pots image from gardenhousedesign

or how about recycling your green bottles to create an unusual hanging basket?

Image from jenata

Image from jenata

Or simply plant a garden plant with an emerald name:  Euonmyus europaeus ‘Emerald Gaiety’ is a stalwart small to medium sized variegated green and white shrub that looks good all year round.  Use as a bedrock plant in a mixed border or as part of a shrub bed.

Other emerald plant options:

  • Acer platanoides ‘Emerald Queen’ is a large Maple tree for big spaces
  • Phlox sub. ‘Emerald Cushion’ is a low evergreen perennial with blue star shaped flowers

What do you think about the above?  Suggestions would be gratefully received for ideas on what we can do to celebrate our horticultural heritage this year?  Also your other favourite emerald plants please.

I think that this part of my Bloom show garden was my own homage to green for 2013:


Giardino della mostra woodland planting by Tim Austen at Bloom 2013


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