The colour of the year is a faddy design element and generally follows where interior design is headed specifically in terms of paint and furnishings. It often doesn’t filter through to the retail market except in the handful of plants selected by buyers to follow this trend appearing on Garden Centre benches.
For my next predictions…
I predict that the ‘hot’ colours of the year in garden design and gardening for 2020 will be Dark/rich Blues and Purples.
While in interiors, colours trends tend to appear primarily in the form of paint and materials and while we may see surfaces and structures outdoors painted in this manner, I suspect that plants will be the main medium to apply these colours to our gardens.
Tulips like ‘Magical Lavender’, to ‘Purple Flag’, ranging all the way through to the classic ‘Queen of the Night’ (pictured below Left) will offer some excellent purples flowers and can be plated with Helleborus (x hybridus Purple below Right) and bedding plants like Viola (Sorbet 'Icy Blue' below Middle) and Primrose. Varieties like ‘Old Tom’ and ‘Flaming Flag’ are good alternatives to inject a little purple in to otherwise ivory-white flowers.
Buddleja can provide both blue and purple flowers in a variety of shades. A good Buddleja is a glorious thing and although not widely planted nowadays, (as a little sub prediction), I think their popularity will return, especially for their appeal to insects and birds. Modern dwarf varieties may be more appealing to small garden owners.
Hebe ‘Caledonia' (Below Top Left), 'Edington' (Below Top Right), ‘Mrs Winder’, ‘Midsummer Beauty’ (Below Bottom Left), ‘Pascal’ (Below Bottom Right), ‘Purple Queen’, among many others, all have dark purple or flushed purple foliage and blue-purple flowers so make an excellent evergreen shrub to inject these colours into planting schemes.
Liriope muscari will continue to be hugely popular with designers and perhaps more favoured by garden owners for its beautiful strappy evergreen leaves and pale purple flower spikes. Cultivars like ‘Royal Purple’ and ‘Ingwersens’ are worth looking for and if you fancy a variegated leaf, ‘John Burch’ is particularly choice.
I think two late season shrubs will jump in popularity in 2020 and for very good reason; look out for Ceratostigma and Caryopteris.
Ceratostigma plumbaginoides, C. willmotianum ('Forest Blue' pictured Below) and C. griffithii are all well worth growing as low hummocks of semi-evergreen to deciduous sub-shrubs that have green foliage turning to an amazing red set against bright blue flowers.
Caroptyeris have many great cultivars available, all of which flower in August-October. While excellent, I’d encourage you to look beyond the obvious varieties of ‘Heavenly Blue’ and ‘Kew Blue’. Look out for ‘Dark Knight’ and ‘Sterling Silver’ for colour and foliar contrast.
The ever-popular Verbena bonariensis (pictured Below) will inevitably continue to be planted in big numbers, but perhaps we will see more in the way of two other ‘V’ named perennials in Veronicastrum and Vernonia planted where once Verbena would have been used.