Well it’s been a few years since I have been to the show, it shouldn’t of been but I just arrived one year when they closed the show due to high winds! It’s not that I hate these shows, true I am not good in crowds but it’s more of the timing of them, every gardener know that this is a busy time of year, but last year I made the choice I needed to do events like this. When the appeal for helpers for volunteers to help man Perennial’s Tom Massey designed garden, I jumped at the chance! What a great way to see the show and help out on the day to charity that does so much to help us horticulturist.
The bright sunny day dawned, a shortish train journey to Hampton Court and then well it had to be done, a boat trip down the Thames to the show and arriving in style. Once though the essential bag searches, so sadly important for big events like this, I was in and met immediately with wildflower Turf laid out on with notes on the plants and butterflies. All leading up to the beautiful large dome, filled with butterflies, floating around the air and feeding off the flowers. Yes they are all types of exotic butterflies and moths, but it does show what they add to the garden, the movement and flashes of colour, bringing all important life to the garden
I moved though into the first area of gardens, first one that struct me was the kinetica garden (silver gilt medal) designed by senseless acts of beauty, designed around the particle theory, with the garden laid out like the molecular structure of a solid object, the red cones really brought out the colour of the silver birches, then with the yellow still pools, reflected back both the silver birches and the great underplanting of grasses mixed in with a few herbecous plants.
Next garden really did make you think about the wider world and the damage we are doing to it! That the Tusk ‘not for sale’ Garden (silver) designed by Ferguson and Whyte Garden Design and sponsored by The Cotswold wildlife park, promoting Task, supporting wildlife and communities in Africa. The whole idea of the garden was to raise awareness of the damage done to the worlds elephant population, with the arches demoting the 80 elephants killed each day by poachers and th destruction caused by this awful crime! It really brought home the horror of it all for me
The Urban rain garden (silver gilt) designed by Rhiannon Williams of landform, sponsored by London stone and Squires garden centres. The garden is designed with both a front and back garden, designed to help to cope with the heavy rain we can get now and how to use it within our gardens without it causing the dreaded run off. Both front and back beds use raised beds to move the water from an aquatic area though to flower beds, all water ended up into storage tanks underground, with the front storage tank planted up under a grill. The patio area at the back had curves cut into the patio to channel the water into a dill. Lovely garden, only thing I would like to would of been maybe a side used for veg and fruit but enjoyed it
The garden that stood out for me in the area was the Perennial’s Sanctuary garden (silver gilt) designed by Tom Massey, plants from Hortus Loci. The theme for th garden was one that fitted Perennial perfectly, the planting around the edges, the reds and oranges are the busy feel of both the show ground but also the troubled and stressed mind of a horticulturist or close family member at the moment of severe crisis, mind in turbulence not too sure what to do, until they contact Perennial, then the journey becomes calmer as they help them overcome problems though their excellent range of advisors and councillors, they them become calmer, less stressed and mentally clearer, like the garden is becoming blue with a feel of peace coming though until you get to the calming centre, shrouded in the calm waving effect of the bamboo with a beautiful calm pool of water in the centre denoting the peace for when your problems are been solved. The garden just works so well from the mix of the crocosmia, helenium Moerhiem beauty and Deschampsia in the red area to the so simple but stunning calamagrotis x acutifolia karl Foerster and agapanthus Navy Blue in the blue section, so simple but so good. Perennial is a charity that helps out those in the horticulture trade and their families covering all sorts of life’s problems that can occur, from a simple accident that lays you off work to losing your job. I really wished I knew about them, when I hit apon hard times 10yrs ago, It would of helped me so much and if you ever find yourself in that position, they are there to help you!
Slowly I worked my way to the first marquee, the rose one and it was great to look around at the wonderful stands of roses that adorned the marque, flowers of pure delight from David Austin roses, Peter Beales, Fryers just to name a few. The whole are was full of their fragrance and colour, I spent ages going from one stand to another, looking at the array of colours, shapes and size flowers, from modern day roses to roses that go back hundreds of years.
Then I moved though a few of the smaller gardens like Charlie Blooms ‘colour box’ wow! She wanted to make a colourful garden and she certainly succeeded! This was a garden full of wonderful flowering plants, that work together so well to give you an garden full Colour and plants, a garden that is based around the plants and not the hard landscaping. Charlie built the garden on the power of social media, both getting plants, materials and help from it. What she has done is incredible alround and makes a wonderful difference in the world of big sponsorship. The panels that back the garden, really make a wonderful back drop. They were supplied by Stark and Greensmith and beautifully made allowing dappled light to come though the laser cut shapes within the panel, with the rusty finish, making them an ideal backdrop for the garden. Weldone Charlie for what you achieved!
Other beautiful gardens in the area certainly included Fun on the sea, a mix of colourful seaside beach huts, a rowing boat filled with flowers and wonderful planting including Nepatas, Agapanthus and grasses. The different size gravels really brought the seaside to Hampton court
One garden that won gold in this are was the Brownfield Metamorphosis designed by Wilson Associates Garden Design. Based around the derelict brownfield sites in the uk, it took elements from areas in Germany and New York to bring us an old industrial site that’s slowly disappearing into nature with grasses and other plants taking over the once busy area, the old metal structures slowly rusting and disappearing back into the soil from once they came, lovely little touches in this garden included the little bits of chain scattered about. Again a beautifully constructed garden, planted to perfection.
Of the main show gardens, the blind veterans garden by Andrew fisher Tomlin really caught my eye, from the wonderful woven tentacles or roots, weaving around the lovely oak summerhouse and forming archways though the garden, planted with beautiful pictorial wildflower turf, slips so peacefully into the planted areas, a delightful mix of grasses, heliumums, alliums, echinacea and nepetas add colour, movement and delights to the eye. Construction was A1. Also well worth a mechioned was Paul Hervey-Brooks garden for Viking Crusies, with its blue building back drop, stunning paving and just brilliant paving! Really enjoyed looking at it, just a shame I couldn’t enjoy it with filming going on! I am surprised the Viking didn’t scare off the film crew!
Lastly there was the plant marquee, full of just stunning displays of the most beautiful plants, some I have been lucky enough to grows others I have never seen before! The stands were just amazing and tbh I don’t know where to start or finish! So I think I will let the photos say the words themselves! Indeed it was wonderful just to wonder amgonst the plants, enjoying the wide range on offer as well as talk to some of the talented growers and national collection holders like Philip from Canterbury Catherderal with his collection of Hakenechloa, Rob Hardy from Hardys cottage plants. I will be doing a blog next week, in more detail about the plants I enjoyed seeing in the marquee
If I have left you or you garden out, I am so sorry, so many wonderful Gardens and trade stands (that said check out the Niwaki stand if you love your hand tools, brilliant stuff there!) there on the day, it would take me weeks to write it all up and well a few days wondering around the show spending time learning about you all. I took a lot from the show, some truly beautiful plantings, meeting some great people on the day all in truly one amazing venue, one I shall enjoy returning to next year and hopefully will try and spend more than one day to get around and into all the little nooks and crannies!
I hope you all enjoyed my highlights of the great show!