As the deputy editor of Horticulture Week and editor of Garden Retail, Matthew Appleby has his green finger on the pulse of Horticultural trends. “I think growing your own veg has peaked,” he shares. “It’s been saturated and it will drop back. One of the trends for 2011 will be ‘cut your own’ – people will start to grow their own cut flowers. Though it may just start slowly this year and be big next year. People and growers I have talked to in the Industry are all talking about, or have already established, a ‘Cut Your Own Flower’ range. It fits in with the 1950’s themes and all that Kirsty Allsop style of being creative in the home. Buying flowers is expensive and growing your own flowers for the house can be as rewarding as producing your own veg. Popular cut flowers will be Dahlias, Gladioli and Sweet Williams, all evoking nostalgia and we may even see a comeback for Wallflowers. They are ugly when sold but are a great cottage garden cut flower.”
“Another trend will be for Italian plants. Monty Don has a programme and book launch in February “Great Gardens of Italy” which, together with a stabilised exchange rate, will mean we’ll see a bit of an Italian Renaissance. A lot of the imported plants are grown up high in Tuscany and are hardy; it’s a myth that they are delicate and hard to please.”
“And there will be a big regal influence at Chelsea Flower Show this year with the creation of a Monaco Garden. One or two of the Monaco Royal family will visit which will make headlines. And look out for the Rain Garden which will be entertaining,” he adds.
A trained journalist, Matthew has also just passed his RHS exams, (‘I learnt most of it on the Tube’) and is quite comfortable with a spade, “My little London garden is more a place of entertainment but I have an allotment too. I like to talk about it and it keeps me in touch with what’s going on. Last summer a lot of people struggled with drought and then a wet autumn mean there were lots of weeds. People have got a bit disillusioned with growing their own veg. Figures from DEFRA show that the number of people trying to be self sufficient has risen but is now slowing down. People are realising that it’s not really realistic to save money by growing your own, it’s more of a past time than a cost saving project.”
“Going back to TV, Carol Klein’s new series ‘Glebe Cottage Plants’ starts this month. Based in her own garden, it’s all about cottage-style gardening which brings us back to cut flowers.”
Having a reputation for calling a spade a spade, Matthew’s own fabulous ‘down to Earth’ blogs can be read here.