Retro plants and planting styles – 1990’s
The 1990s arrived, and with them came a surge in garden-based media. The popularity of shows such as Burke’s Backyard and the arrival of cable & satellite television gave Sydney-siders access to gardening programs from all over the globe.This inspired designers and home owners alike to create ‘themed’ gardens.
Japanese, Balinese and faux-Tuscan were the flavour of the week, the result being a return to formal layouts, straight pathways and flagstone paving flanked by topiarised shrubs like Buxusmicrophylla ‘Japonica’ and evergreen hedging such as X Cupressusleylandii ‘Leighton’s Green’ and various Lillypilly varieties such as Syzygium‘Cascade’.
On the other side of the media spectrum, books written were pledging the importance of creating wildlife friendly ‘indigenous’ gardens. This was partly sparked by an increased awareness and availability of native plant material and partly by droughts occurring during the mid 90s.
The end result was a mixed bag of garden styles, eventually tapering off into more simplified water-wise plant palettes, native grasses such as Lomandra ‘Tanika’ and Dianella ‘Little Jess’ being used en masse, especially in commercial and institutional developments.
Overall this was seen as an exciting era for garden designers, with the popularity of garden media highlighting to the public the importance of a professionally designed garden.