Eco Garden Trends from Europe

drought garden

Drought tolerant gardens don’t have to be boring!

What’s hot in gardening?   Well, here’s my annual report on what I saw at IPM Essen (the World’s largest horticultural trade show) and what the key trends influencing the industry are this year.

Horticulture has always considered itself to be “the green industry” but this year, more than ever, the major trend at the show was all about Eco gardening and Eco-friendly products. It was all about looking after the environment and minimising our impact.

Traditionally, anything to do with Eco gardening has usually been dominated by the use of native plants in the garden (or succulents) and about incorporating these into garden design.  However, these trends didn’t seem to be linked to the actual benefits of using the plants, apart from the cursory assumptions about the plants being suited to a particular environment.

low water use garden

Cactus in Huntingdon Gardens’ drought garden

Also, if we are looking at suitability for the local environment and being native, without being too controversial I would like to point out that the same can be said for many weeds in gardens.  As any garden knows they thrive in almost any environment!

But Eco gardening is so much more than just choosing the plants from a particular area.  In fact, in some instances such as in my own locale of Australia, the use of Native plants in the garden can actually be a poor choice due to considerations like fire risk.

Wire tree-1129

Native plants in Australia



Apaganthus such as this Blue Storm variety shown here, can act as a fire-retardant in garden planning.

Looking at the European approach to Eco gardening it appears to be a lot more comprehensive than the old approach to Eco gardening and includes aspects beyond just plant choice. For instance, their approach takes into account the re-use of materials, minimising the use of chemicals, water and resource management and also aspects of product provenance / sustainability by producers.

For the most part, European suppliers in the horticultural industry need to comply with MPS – ABC certification, which is a system that measures the extent that their operations are environmentally friendly.  So, they are not just talking the talk when it comes to Eco gardening, they are in fact walking the walk and this extends all the way through the supply channel.

The incorporation of pallets and how these could be re-used in the garden in a multitude of ways was evident in many of the stands at the show and I have to say that, looking at some of these ideas, I was inspired enough to think about where and how I could replicate these in my own home garden.

upcycled wooden pallets

Pallets cleverly made into hanging shelves and counter tops.


upcycled products

Simple shelving and potting tables made from recycled wooden pallets as seen at Planterium.


The push for Eco gardening is something that we here at Tesselaar Plants find very pleasing especially because this (plants that are environmentally friendly) has always been a key criteria in our product evaluation and selection process.

drought tolernat plants

Festival ‘Burgundy’ – a great water-wise plant that’s also pest and disease resistant!

In fact, Flower Carpet® is known as the original “Eco Rose” because of its high disease resistance (negating the need for chemicals) and its low water use making it a resource miser.

Easy care roses

Flower Carpet Pink is a perfect low maintenance landscape plant

So, rather than trends being inspired by individual products or design aspects, at this year’s show I found the overriding trend was more about looking after our environment and it reminded me of how lucky we are to be in an industry where each plant we sell could in fact be considered a carbon credit.

Until next time, “Garden on Good people”.


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One Response to Eco Garden Trends from Europe

  1. Bill August 18, 2017 at 5:57 am #

    This is an interesting take on Eco-gardening. I have to admit that I tend to think native plants are best, but maybe that’s not always true. Also, we are in Sweden right now and there are pop-up parks made of palettes stuffed with flowers. They are set up on public squares, which are mostly stone, and add a pleasing pop of color and a place to sit in the summer. I can see how this would work on a personal patio as well. So many uses for palettes!

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