Eco-Gardening The move away from chemical use and toward a gentler, more holistic approach to problems in the garden is one of the strongest trends in gardening, says Wyevale. Grow Your Own is becoming more popular, as plot to plate lifestyle gains traction with UK’s vegetarians and vegans. A spokesperson for Squire’s Garden Centres comments: “Squire’s has noticed the increasing popularity of growing your own. To this end it has put together two fun initiatives aimed at encouraging children to grow their own and learn where their food comes from “Grow Your Own Chips” where hundreds of local school children have been visiting Squire’s to learn how to grow their own chips, and “Create & Grow A Vegetable Box” where this May Half Term children can plant their own veggie box at Squire’s for £6.” Wyevale reports that more than three quarters of gardeners try to avoid using chemicals in their gardens, with 46% of them using organic fertilisers instead. Organic feed ranges have increased by 50% at Wyevale Garden Centres for 2018 due to increase demand from customers. Fertilisers, chemicals and growing buyer for Wyevale Garden Centres, Duncan Mclean says: “Gardeners want a bumper crop for their efforts but they don’t want to do damage to achieve it. They are increasingly leaning towards organic choices and recognising that it’s not always about dumping lots of chemicals on, but instead feeding organically at the right times in the year.” Today’s gardeners are seeing the damage our current food systems do to the

environment, and are picking up their spades and doing something about it. Young gardeners are particularly eco-conscious and are the most likely to utilise community gardens. It was reported that 43% of gardeners under 40 grow their own vegetables compared to 32% of over 60s.”

Wyevale Garden Centre says the wellness trend brings houseplant jungles into homes across the UK. Millennials are drawn to houseplants and cacti’s are more popular than ever. Squire’s Garden Centres deputy chairman at Sarah Squires says:

“It is so exciting to see a category that had been in the doldrums turn around with a new and modern twist that appeals to generation rent as well as our more traditional customer base. It is great to see a new cohort of customers enjoying houseplants and embracing them into their lifestyle.

“Cacti and succulents are particularly popular and bottle gardens, or terrariums, are very on trend at the moment – and they appeal to all ages. They are fairly easy to create so are perfect for both novice and more experienced gardeners.”

Homebase has recently acquired

a new plant range called ‘Air So Pure’, demonstrating the consumer demand for plants that have proven health benefits such as absorbing CO2, improving humidity and neutralising unpleasant odours and gases. Homebase Greenlife buyer, Gillian Bush says: “The trend for bringing the outside in is still really popular, as more and more people realise the health benefits of adding a touch of greenery. Introducing plants into your home not only creates a fresh look, but it’s also a cost-effective way to naturally boost oxygen levels, improve humidity in your home and enhance your overall wellbeing.”

Millennials are now seen to be using houseplants to replace spouses, children and pets, having been denied many of the traditional markers of young adulthood – property ownership, marriage, children and even pets – they are turning to houseplants as a way of expressing their nurturing and nesting urges, says Wyevale.

This generation also wants instant gratification and houseplants supply it in spades, creating instant atmosphere but also being easily moved from flat to flat. While older gardeners grow their houseplants in the communal areas of the house – kitchens, living rooms and dining rooms – millennials have them everywhere, including their bedrooms and bathrooms. 27 APRIL 2018 DIY WEEK 17

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