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RHS Chelsea flower show, delights of the trades

img 5262 RHS Chelsea flower show, delights of the trades

Of course Chelsea isn’t just about the show gardens, they do make up a huge and important part of the show but there’s so many other parts to it, like the trade stands. These displays all focused around their products, can hold not only great products but also great plants and ideas.

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Niwaki not only had great Japanese pruning tools but an even better way to find a lost loved one in the crowds. Think They missed a trick and should of charged for each person found!

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Griffin glasshouses stand made you think that could well be your greenhouse in your garden, although wouldn’t be mine as there was no dead plants in corners, compost everywhere and far too tidy, at least I could dream

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I am a sucker for clay pots and these are stunning, love the box in there as well

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Now I just loved these sculptured flower buds or seed heads, really gave great contrast next to the box balls and alliums, great looking product.

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img 5456 1 RHS Chelsea flower show, delights of the tradesGot to say give the Hartley Botonical’s stand a mechion brilliantly designed by the Garden Ninja aka Lee who have only been a designer for 3yrs, first time at a show and wins the best trade stand for the design, top bloke as well. welldone fella!

img 5443 RHS Chelsea flower show, delights of the trades

A no frame glasshouse looked amazing but how practical would it be?

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Sorry had to add this sign and how true is it!

Lastly there was the Great Pavillon and this was filled with plant delights and stands that took your breathe away, it is wonderful to met and talk to the growers and the people you spent ages building the stands. I really enjoy wondering around taking in the sites and smells that came from them all. I was there on the last day of the show and yet the stands were still looking great. Only one small negative point for me was the tickets added to the plants as people brought them, seeing cloakroom tickets scattered all over a stand really makes them look ugly and takes away from the otherwise beauty of the stand, these starting appearing from mid day and it did spoil my enjoyment of some of them. That was a small negative and I know Nurseries want to sell of the plants but there must be a slightly better way of doing it. Other wise some of the stands where stunning

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Have to say the Hillier Nurseries gold winning stand was in my top 3 for all the gardens I saw, expertly designed and built, I loved the plants and planting, so well thought out

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Burncoose is one of my favourite Nurseries and with so many stunning plants unavailable from anywhere else, it’s no wonder why

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As are Hardys cottage plants, always great range and quality of plants from them, with stands that are just so beautiful as well thought out

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And let’s not forget DownDerrys excellent stand full of lavender, again a real eye catcher

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The Eucalyptus stand I though was also excellent, showing their wide range of uses and well as the range of plants that can be grown, a much under rated plant

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David Austin roses never fail to excite, not only with a mix of new roses but also some great classics shining though

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And the same with Peter Beales roses, love the old ruin effect filled with one of my favourite plants

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As for this clematis stand by Raymond Evison Just blew me away, so well thought out and just full of colour

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And this stand highlighting the British cutflower industry summed the whole show up for me, full of colour, excellent use of plants, many being used in a skillful way, to highlight different causes while entertaining you and delighting the eyes.

I throughly enjoyed the day, seeing the hard work and pride so many parts or our industry take on putting on what is a showing off the best of our industry. A big thank you goes to Griffin Glasshouses for the tickets

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The Gardens of Rhs Chelsea 2018

img 5467 1 1 The Gardens of Rhs Chelsea 2018

I was lucky enough to spend the last day at the RHS Chelsea flower show after winning a couple of tickets from Griffin Greenhouses. It was my first visit to Chelsea since 2005 so I was very excited to see the delights the show has to offer. This is always seen as the foremost flowershow in the uk, if not the world, so it a great place not just to see the new trends and thoughts coming though but also the new plants. It is also a great place to meet the growers on the stands in the grand marquee. But things have also changed with the type of sponsors on the garden, with more and more charity’s using the show to highlight their work and the plight of people from around the world. These gardens really do help to bring the work or highlight the issues that they are raising so well and it is amazing to see their message being highlighted by the skill of the designer and the beauty of plants and materials. This was my favourite from all the charity gardens img 5421 The Gardens of Rhs Chelsea 2018img 5419 The Gardens of Rhs Chelsea 2018img 5417 The Gardens of Rhs Chelsea 2018img 5415 The Gardens of Rhs Chelsea 2018

The Supershoes, laced with hope garden. This garden was designed reflecting a child’s cancer journey and of course their family. I thought the winding seat and most wonderful mural painted on the back, all leading to the statues at the back of a child and parent was a excellent idea with the underplanting being a mix of lupins, irises, alliums, geums reflecting the dark and also bright moments of the cancer journey, yes colours could of been done from the darker side of first being told that you have cancer to the lighter moments saying you are cured but every journey is different and child have the ability to find joy in the most darkest of times. Well worth checking out Supershoes charity at

The main avenue show gardens were indeed stunning gardens, so well designed and built, they did all however suffer from the same problem at the time of my visit, everyone wanted to see them and it was like a polite rugby scrum to get up close to look at them, with every space made by departing viewers, fought by pushing and elbowing until you got to the front. Even when you got there, you had to contend with the airplane photographers, you all know the ones who stick their elbows out at 45 degree angles to take the pics and you end up with a nice pic of their elbows. Tbh I gave up after 3 goes, found it too much for me and it’s such a shame the RHS couldn’t find a better controlled way to let people admire the gardens, a slow moving line maybe? That way you could see the gardens the full length as they are designed and built to be seen instead of a little segment whilst having an elbow inserted into your side. That said, the ones I did see were rather very good and here’s a selection below of some of the great designs and building I got close too

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This was the first one I saw and it was sponsored by the show sponsors M&G investments, designed by the very talented Sarah Price and but by Crocus. Its Mediterranean style garden, focused on plants that need less water, really well thought out garden that won a gold metal.

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I loved the planting on this garden designed by Jo Thompson, built by Bespoke Outdoor spaces and sponsored by Wedgewood. I felt the garden was a lovely cool space that I certainly could relax and enjoy in. Another gold medal here

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This garden sponsored by Greenlip, designed by Dr Catherine McDonald and built by landform consultants was filled by members of the pea family with the lupins really stealing the main show. I loved the fact that the whole garden was filled by the same family, showing off the whole diverse forms of the pea. Another gold medal garden

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This garden designed by Laurie Chapworth and Patrick Collins, sponsored by Creativiersal and built by Tendercare, the Wuhan water garden was designed to be seen from all sides and was inspired by the natural and city environments in the Hubei province in China, I liked the idea but did find it a little bit of a mix for me. It won a bronze medal

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Now this was a stand I wanted to play on and I will be honest and say it was the only one I saw, I would love to add to my own little garden, it was designed and built by Architectural Plants, the treehouse garden was just divine, great planting and a stunning well built tree house, just perfect place! Can just imagine my work office up there, sliding down when I ran out of cake and tea!

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This garden just bowled me over by its design! Yes it is designed with cricket in mind, sponsored by British Council, designed by Sarah Eberle and build by Belderbos landscapes, it was designed with both India and England’s love of cricket and the dreams of young Indians growing up in India, won a silver gilt medal

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I loved this garden by Kazuyuki Ishihara, sponsored by G-Loin. The Japanese hospitality garden is just so full of detail, from the moss right though to the waterfalls and just the natural look of the garden, made it look like it had been there for years, it was the only garden I saw that made me feel it had not just been build, stunning stunning garden, won a gold medal and best Artisian garden

img 5409 The Gardens of Rhs Chelsea 2018

And my last of the gardens I am highlighting, this is my style of garden! Called the A very English Garden, designed by Janine Cribbins, sponsored by The Claim Guys and built by Andrew Louden. Everything about this garden is brilliant, the planting, the very high standard stone work, it is indeed another garden I could see me doing at home. Really really impressive garden won a silver gilt medal and people’s choice of best artsian garden

This is the end of the second part of my 3 part look at Chelsea 2018 show, I hope you enjoyed it

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Eye catching plants from RHS Chelsea flower show

As ever I though it would be lovely to share some of the plants that really caught my eye at this years show. It isn’t them all as that would take weeks/months/years of writing and tbh I think you my lovely readers may get a little bored by then. So here’s just a few that made me look at them at least twice or even three times!

img 5233 Eye catching plants from RHS Chelsea flower showProteas are a plant that took my breathe away the first time I saw them on Tresco Abbey Gardens on the Scilly Isles. See them here at Chelsea, again took my breathe away. Just how beautiful are they, just sadly not Hardy in most of the uk. Oh nearly forgot, this is Protea cynaroides.

img 5235 Eye catching plants from RHS Chelsea flower show

Bonsai is becoming more popular and these stunning example of Pinus parvifolia, first started in 1854 is just amazing! To think that the work has been done by many people over the years, tendered with love and it’s still going strong! It would worry me like anything to have something that old, needing to be fed, watered and cared for, just in case in died on my watch, image that, the shame

img 5338 Eye catching plants from RHS Chelsea flower show

Lupins were hugely massive at Chelsea this year and this particular one called Towering Inferno was on a few show gardens and in the main marque, I love the brightness of the copper tones on this plant. Let’s hope it was the start of the lupin revival!

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Sorry/notsorry, had to add a rose into the mix, I loved this new David Austin rose not just for it’s simple clear open yellow flowers, that have a delightful scent but also the name is so nice as well, Tottering by Gently it is called and how rightly so!

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Ok this lavender didn’t leap out at me but never less did make me look a few times at it and it was so unusual I just had to include it, Virdis is the name and that means green, found it very calming for some reason

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Agaves have been a little favourite of mine for many years sadly don’t grow any at home, Although I think that maybe about to change, thought this one is adorable and was called Kichijokan

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Need a bit of bright colour in your garden? Can’t get much brighter and stunning than this Arctotis ‘Holly’ certainly one for my pots and containers this year

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Thought the clematis stands in the flower marque were outstanding! Everyone could of made the cut but in the end I chose this one called Sarah Elizabeth, there was just something about the colour I just loved

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Image the horror of seeing this fly catching plant, flying around in the one area you thought you were safe!

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As a family Lysimachii gets a lot of stick I think, some like creeping Jenny do want to take over the world and their bad name tarnishes the whole genus. This one however is just a stunner! Lysimachii atropurpurea Beaujolais is it’s name.

img 5382 Eye catching plants from RHS Chelsea flower show

No look at the plants of Chelsea for me would of been compete without a Peonia and this tree peonia again stopped me in my tracks, look at the range of colours and the delicate way it bows her head, almost like her stunning good looks embarrass her. Peonia x lemonia sounvier de maxime Cornu is her name.

Right that’s a brief look at some of the stunning plants I saw at RHS Chelsea, I hope you liked them and I will be sharing some of my favourite gardens and stands next time on the blog

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15ish eye catching plants at Hampton Court 

The show gardens and brilliant displays in the marques do certainly catch your eyes but they wouldn’t any good if the wrong plants were chosen, so let’s have a little look at some of the plants that caught my eye both around the gardens and in the marques. Some a new to me and caught my eye that way, others old friends that it was great to see them being so used around the different gardens. There were so many great plants, it was difficult to keep it to 15 but never less I managed too. I hope you enjoy my 15 as much as I did and I can’t wait for next years show to see what they are offering. 

img 1660 1 15ish eye catching plants at Hampton Court 
Allium ‘Forelock’ (left) this was a new one for me, I loved the way some of the tiny flowers form a Mohican hair cut on top of the flowers. It make a large plant up to 5ft tall, with the flowers bending over like a Shepards crook before they open and then straighten up just as they do. Needs a dry sunny spot in the garden ideally.
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Sphaeralcea ‘Hopleys Lavender’ (right) not seen this form of this semi hardy member of the mallow family before and I loved the soft pink flowers. The shrub grows up to 90cm tall and 90cm wide and is hardy down to -5c. Does like a nice sunny spot. Looks a great looking shrub
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Fagus sylvicatica ‘Rolf Marquardt’ OMG! I have a soft spot for Beeches after building up a small collection in a former job. This beauty took my breathe away and I want it, appently makes a small tree, hoping to find out it’s ok in pots!
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Achillea ‘Emily May’ again a new form for me, love the bright red flowers on this member of the daisy family, not seen an achillea as red as this before. It flowers from June-September in a sunny dry spot, does need a little bit of spend bloom removal to keep it flowering
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Gladiolus hybrid ‘Flevo Cool’ (left) is one of those plants that just take your breath away either because you love the mix of colours or because you hate it. Personally I love it and can’t wait to order some for next summer to add somewhere to my rather cramped borders (always room for one more!) grows to about 60cm in height and work well as a cut flower plant as well in the garden.
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Cosmos sulphurus ‘Pamela’s Pick’ (right)cosmos are one of my favourite garden plants for filling little spaces around the garden, normally seen in pinks, whites, reds, purples etc. Not seen a yellow one until the show, beautiful colour mixed with great looking foliage, certainly one I will be trying from seed soon! Gets to about 90cm in height and flowers all summer long
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Potentilla x hopwoodiana (left) this great ground cover plant. This herbaceous form of Potentilla again flowers all summer long with this beautiful soft salmon pink flowers. It’s easy to grow and loves to be in some sun at the front of a border and works very well with pale or white roses. Just remove the older stems that have finished flowering to encourage more
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Crocosmia ‘Paul’s best yellow’ crocosmia’s are a plant that I love and hate at the same time, they are beautiful flowers and such striking foliage until it all started falling over. This one however is such a clear bright yellow that I will let it off! Makes a plant about 90cm in height and needs a nice damp sunny spot to get the very best from it, sadly my own garden is too dry for it.
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Saxifraga fortunei ‘Crystal Pink’ wow! What a foliage plant! It’s like an artist has got a green leave and then gone to town with white and pink paints all over the leaves and the effect is purely stunning. It’s certainly another plant I have added to my list! It does like a light shady or fully shady spot in dryish soil and will grow better in a pot. Does flower in September October but no way as nice as the foliage!
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Pelegonium ‘Pink Aurore’ (right) I do love pellies and I wish I had somewhere to over winter them, I don’t sadly at the moment and I am missing out on great plants like Pink Aurore, this unique type of pelegonium is ideal for use in containers being a good bushy plant that flowers all summer long with these bright pink flowers over a grey scented foliage. Wonderful display from Fibex nursery!
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Digitalis parviforia ‘Milk Chocolate’ (left) these longer lived foxgloves are becoming more popular now and it’s easy to see why, they have a quite unique flower flower that’s bourne from July to October and is so loved by bees! They will also live for up to 5 years if you are lucky and again will take a shady dryish spot. Not being to tall at 60cm, they mix brilliantly with other plantings.
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Erigeron glaucus ‘Sea Breeze’ (right) another tough tough plant that will take almost everything you throw at it, including really dry sunny spots, in cracks of rocks even in very exposed seaside spots. This low growing plant has evergree leaves that are pretty atractive after they have their June to August flowering system.
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Helenium ‘Moerheim Beauty’ a plant that was used in so many gardens around the show ground and rightly so, it is a beautiful plant that loves full sun and moist bit of soil to get the best from it. Flowers from June to september but does need a little bit of spent bloom removal to get the best from, it may need a little staking in some years but can also respond well to the Chelsea chop. Can suffer a little from Mildew
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Mulberry ‘Charlotte Russe’ I love mulberries! I used live in a gatehouse with 6 planted at the end of the drive, spent many happy years eating the sweet fruit. So pleased they is a smaller one ideal for a container and fruits even longer, from May to September. Wonderful! Was plant of the year at Chelsea this year, can’t wait to get one growing at home!
deschampsia cespitosa bronzeschleier 2 15ish eye catching plants at Hampton Court 
Deschampsia cespitosa ‘Goldschleier’ is one of so many grasses seen around the gardens over the week and rightly so, they indeed add so much to a garden both in their looks and also the movement from them. Deschampsia was one of the more popular grasses spread around so many gardens, its light golden brown stems will last until January/February if you are lucky and loves a nice sunny free draining soil and will grow to about a metre in height
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Just a beautiful display of Lavenders from Downderry Nursery, too many to choose a favourite so here they are!
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This display of ferns from Fibrex was amazing. Ferns have too long been over looked and it would be wonderful to see some more ferneries appearing!

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Hampton Court Flower Show-a world of flowers 

img 1552 Hampton Court Flower Show a world of flowers 


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!