Changes in gardening habits
Things move at a gentle pace in the horticulture world, we don’t tend to change our gardens just like that. Instead, we like to see things grow and to enjoy the fruits of our labours, so fashions naturally take some time to have an impact. Nevertheless, certain trends do tend to catch on, sooner or later, and become part of modern gardening culture.
The boom in fruit and vegetable seed sales provoked by the Covid-19 crisis gives hope that, just maybe, a green horticultural revolution will catch on in the long term. This could be a revolution to change the way we garden for generations to come.
The trend for edible gardening is gathering pace and growers are meeting the increased demand by introducing varieties of fruit trees specially grown for smaller gardens. Trees can be trained as espaliers or fan-shapes against a fence or wall, or, for really small spaces, step-over trees. As the name suggests, the step-over is a low-growing, horizontally-trained tree that can literally be ‘stepped over’ and are surprisingly productive for their size.
With space in town and city gardens becoming more and more at a premium, there’s often a waiting list for allotment gardens. Once the last bastion of the flat cap brigade with their thermos flasks, these days you’re more likely to encounter the inner city eco warrior in fierce competition over the size of their organic marrows on an allotment.
I recently noticed a new housing estate in Fairford was providing allotments, complete with lock-ups and water butts. All we fully occupied and immaculately kept. An encouraging sign that housing developers are taking the need for growing our own fruit and veg seriously.
As gardeners, we are becoming increasingly aware of the impact our practices can have on the environment and the use of chemicals that were once widely used are no longer available to buy. Naturalistic gardening has become increasingly popular, with people becoming more aware of the plight of bees and butterflies and the ability of gardeners to do something to help.
It seems to me that one positive impact of the recent lockdown has been a greater appreciation for relaxing and spending time in a garden. One trend that will surely never change is the need for people to have a peaceful haven of tranquility – the garden.