Flowers are in, minimalism out

FLORAL FAD: Ellerslie Flower Show manager Kate Hillier says flowers are trendy again.
FLORAL FAD: Ellerslie Flower Show manager Kate Hillier says flowers are trendy again.

You may not be a gold medal award-winning horticulturist, but there is no reason why your garden can't be fashion-forward.

Gardening is hot.

Even people with apartment balconies and compact courtyards are catching on to the green-fingered trend and just like fashion, the fads of gardening rise and fall.

Ellerslie Flower Show manager Kate Hillier comes from a green-fingered gene pool - winning medals at the Chelsea Flower Show is almost the family business. While she despairs at the state of her own garden, as an international garden judge and horticulturist she is right on the pulse when it comes to international trends.

This year New Zealand is picking up some European influences.

Flowers are in.

Long cast out by the 20th century minimalist trend, colour and vibrancy is back and minimalism isn't quite as hot as it used to be.

"Everyone started growing raised vege patches in their backyard, which kind of kick-started it all," she says. "That morphed into people wanting flowers as well."

Overall, minimalism is being pushed out by a renewed understanding of the benefits of gardening for your health and mental wellbeing.

A gap in gardening knowledge was spotted in Hillier's generation when many children were unaware of where vegetables came from or how to keep a plant alive. The industry despaired, but the gap was picked up and these days many children are introduced to gardening through their schools or their grandparents, and the knowledge is being shared again.

This year, Ellerslie is recognising a school's role in gardening enthusiasm and eight schools will exhibit at the show.

Spending time in the garden may not be quite the chore it once was.

Five or six years ago, bringing the house out into the garden was all the rage. Tailored courtyards with outdoor lounge furniture were the trendiest thing since box hedging, and the garden was considered another room of the home.

These days, it's all about taking your garden inside - be it with potted house plants, herbs on the kitchen window sill or cut flowers (from your own garden) on the dining table.

"People are definitely enjoying the softer side of things," Hillier said.

This year is all about bees and chickens in the suburban backyard.

Egmont Seed Company is handing out packs of bee-friendly flower seeds this year in the hopes show visitors will plant them at home and help regenerate the suffering bee population.

The Press