Your Spring Garden


Christine Darnell  is our go-to gal for all things gardening. While we don’t know our alliums from our alyssums, Christine is a Master Gardener and can conceptualize the perfect outdoor space, from consult to master plan, to installation.

We asked Christine what are the garden trends for Spring 2016, and here’s what she had to say:


It’s that time of year when we begin to look for new trends, plants we can’t live without, and great garden ideas we may have overlooked. Here’s a sampling of what’s trending now:


  • A Revival of the Rose: A new generation of disease-resistant fairy roses, shrub roses and double-blooming ramblers that are available in a rainbow of colors have breathed new life into an old favorite. When used as a design element in a deep border, roses can introduce real elegance. Underplant them with spring bulbs like Grecian windflower, crocus or muscari or pair them with gray- and silver-leaved perennials like catmint, lavender or sage. Make sure to choose perennials that have the same growing requirements as your roses. (Roses like full sun and well-drained soil.)


  • Living Landscapes: The popularity of traditional formal gardens seems to be on the wane. Gardeners are now finding happiness with plants that bloom longer, shrubs that are easier to care for, and a look that is wilder and more naturalistic and that better supports local ecosystems, native pollinators and other wildlife. Details like using traditional and locally sourced materials, and supporting local craftsmen, can give your property a grounded and timeless feeling.


  • A Return to Romanticism: Clients are becoming more emotionally attached to their gardens and landscapes. Planting now relates to place and the character of the setting and an appreciation of a simpler, natural beauty and sense of place is prevailing. Rustic textures are replacing sleek surfaces. To help get this aesthetic in your own garden look for garden furniture and outdoor containers with a tactile quality such as wicker, cast iron and zinc.


  • Old-fashioned flowers are making a comeback: We’re seeing renewed popularity in plants your grandmother loved such as Anemone Honorine Jobert, a tall white-flowering, late-summer bloomer, first cultivated in 1858 and recently named plant of the year. Other nostalgic favorites enjoying renewed popularity are Mock Orange, Peonies, Iris, Hollyhocks, Foxgloves, Lilacs and Roses. Think sumptuous, fragrant and gorgeous.


  • Herbs for more than cooking: I am using more herbs in all of my garden spaces because they are as pretty as flowers. I love Berggarten sage (purple sage) not only for its savory taste but also for its beautiful foliage and bright blue flowers. Prostrate rosemary has an intoxicating fragrance and looks great trailing over a container wall. Thymes work well as ground covers along walkways and between pavers. Pink Chintz Thyme and Lemon Thymes grow quickly, take foot traffic, and release a soft scent when trod upon. Best of all, the more you clip it, the more it grows.


  • Dogscaping: Pets love gardens, too. They dig in them, roll in them and run through them, which is why pet parents are thinking about how to make gardens and lawns pet-friendly and safe. With cancer a common cause of mortality in dogs, pet owners are limiting the use of harmful garden chemicals and substituting organic gardening products like those in Espoma’s Safe Paws Program. It’s not only better for pets, but for children, adults and the planet.


  • Shades of Green: Never, ever out of style are garden beds using only the color green. Focusing on foliage, texture and form, shades of green and the subtlety of one particular shade is a trend that is evident in sophisticated gardens all over the country.


  • Make it Personal: Gardens tell stories and create memories. Use your backyard as a place where you and your family can completely unwind and relax. Tell stories by candlelight, (or romantic new LED lighting) housed in big oversized lanterns or by seating surrounding a fabulous firepit. Round, rectangular and more portable designs allow for firepits to become more transitional spaces in the landscape, with comfortable seating allowing for eclectic intimate pockets in a backyard space.


Find Christine here: (and follow her on Pinterest  for inspiration!

by Christine Darnell

christine3path christine4 christine2