The 10 best ideas for your garden from BBC Gardeners World Live 2023
Here’s the pick of the best ideas for your garden from BBC Gardeners World Live 2023.
Of course, we can never reproduce show garden perfection in our own gardens, but the ideas and trends they showcase can really add wow factor to your garden.
And the BBC Gardeners World Live shows have lots of small garden interest, with show gardens and smaller ‘Showcase’ gardens. Then there is an even smaller ‘Beautiful Borders’ section and even planted up wheelbarrows.
Foliage is key
One of the reasons that show gardens look so good is the level of attention to detail. So foliage colours are very deliberately chosen, either to harmonise or contrast with the flower colour themes.
Just a little extra planning lifts a colour scheme from ‘quite pretty’ to ‘gorgeous’. And this is definitely something we could work on in our own gardens.
Corten steel is contemporary and warm
Corten steel has been increasingly used in garden design over the past five years. It has a wonderfully rustic texture, yet it’s a contemporary material, so it fits in either town or country gardens. The rusty tones of the steel add a warmth that’s unusual for hard landscaping materials.
Create a rock garden with rubble and bricks
People moving into new build homes often find that builders have left a lot of rubble. They cover it with topsoil and lawn. It looks fine at first but the lawn often fails and plants fail to thrive, too.
The only answer is to spend time picking out bricks, stones and other rubble before planting up. And instead of having to take it away, pile it up in a corner and use it to create a mini rock garden.
It’s astonishing how quickly nature will colonise a pile of rocks or rubble, but see this post for rock garden plants and tips.
Use vertical space – and don’t forget ‘under’!
We’re always being reminded that vertical space – fences, walls and trees – offer planting opportunities. But there were several gardens which also used the vertical space under benches and things.
For those who don’t think that they’ve got space for a pond in their garden, look at the Sub Aqua garden, designed by Fenton Gardens. Joshua Fenton put a pond under the seating area directly outside the house, covering it with a grid. Chairs and tables will sit happily on the grid.
He added a corten steel tank container pond to one side, with a pump to provide a ‘drip’ down to the main pond. This keeps water circulating, which reduces the chance of mosquitoes breeding.
Think ‘colour’ for walls and fences
Painted walls and fences were big at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2023. It makes perfect sense – we spend a great deal of time choosing the right colours and patterns for our walls inside, but so often we just accept a standard fence outside.
But your boundaries make a huge impact on the success of your garden as a whole. Professional garden designers – if they have the budget – always smarten up fences, walls and hedges.
A coat of paint is a relatively cheap and easy way to transform your garden.
‘Edimentals’ – the new way to grow veg!
Lucy Hutchings used BBC Gardeners World Live 2023 to showcase an exciting new direction in fruit and veg growing. It’s being referred to as ‘edimentals’ or edible plants used decoratively.
In today’s small space gardening, there often isn’t room for a separate food growing area. So many gardeners, like Jo Rutherford in her garden makeover, combine the edible plants in their main borders.
Lucy took this one stage further by creating The Secret Homestead, a show garden created entirely of edible plants. Many are plants that we no longer eat – but we could! This includes cannas, hostas and marigolds, which are all edible.
Keep small perennials in pots until they’re large enough to be planted out
I don’t suppose that when Beanplace Nurseries planted up their stand with the grass ‘Hakenochloa macra’ in pots, they expected me to come to this conclusion.
But I have tried to get Hakenochloa Macra established in my garden several times. The plants struggle to complete in my border.
As Tom Brown, head gardener at West Dean Gardens, explained in How to Create a Successful Border, a border is a very competitive place. Mine is full of vigorous self-seeders and spreaders, so newcomers need to be a decent size to survive.
And you can grow almost anything in pots. I’m taking my Hakenochloa Macra out of the border and putting it in pots. I may even leave them there.
Think about shape and contrast when planning pond plants
When we plan a border, we’re always advised to think about contrasting the overall plant shapes and foliage.
The same applies when you’re planning a pond. The Lincolnshire Pond Plants display showed this off beautifully.
Keep hostas in pots
I’ve always been put off growing hostas because they’re slug and snail magnets. But seeing a group of contrasting hostas on the New Forest Hostas and Hemerocallis display really tempted me.
It’s easier to keep slugs and snails off if they’re in pots. (See our post on defeating slugs and snails – just a simple tip like keeping pots on a shelf or table can help minimise the nibbles). And they look so good together.
Succulents need space
We’re often advised to crowd plants together. It looks wonderful and keeping soil covered helps prevent weeds. But some plants, such as succulents, need some space around them.
Pin to remember ideas from BBC Gardeners World Live 2023
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