We thought a roundup of some of the gardens and exhibits that caught our eyes, amused us, inspired us and educated us from our visit this week might just be the sort light entertainment that you’d enjoy.
This year the RHS Flower Show at Hampton Court has been given a different layout, with three main zones – Grow, Escape, Inspire – and the various Show Gardens, trade stands and demonstrations fit into these.
Naturally, the inclination is to wander and to back track, and at Hampton Court there is plenty of room to do that, and to stop for a coffee, an ice cream or a Pimms by the Long Water, which divides up the show areas.
The Long Water is the canal excavated during Charles II’s reign in 1662 as part of the refurbishment of the gardens. The idea was to bring the English palace gardens up to the modern and innovative standard of the Versailles gardens; Charles was in many ways a forward thinking monarch, and had spent much of his exile during the Commonwealth years in France, so it is no surprise that he was a lover of Le Notre’s French style of gardening.
The Inspire section contained most of the show gardens. Many of the gardens had water as part of their design, but we had two favourites. We loved the shape of the corten steel rill in the Cool Garden and found the ability to walk right into the middle of a landscape of reflective water in the Valley Garden extremely cooling. (Yes, we did go on a warm day!)
There were plenty of hot colours to contrast with the cooling water, and not only in the gardens. Congratulations need to be given to an old friend’s son, Graeme of Outdoor Creations, who constructed the Best in Show garden in the the Low Cost, High Impact section. Loved the hot orange wall in this garden.
The overall Best in Show winner was the Ecover garden. We liked their clever placing of the ‘window’ to make use of the views beyond the garden. It’s a trick that garden designers often use, although we don’t all have a royal palace in the distance.
We found the Butterfly dome and Bee garden in the Escape zone; fascinating.
In the Grow zone on the far side of the Long Water we found the Plant Heritage Marquee; you may have read about them in other blogs of mine.Plant Heritage is the world’s leading plant conservation charity and its members include people like yours truly, but also gardens and individuals who give their time and garden space to hold ‘National Collections’ of one or more plant genus (that means group of plants that are related, to the non-botanists amongst you). This year is their thirty-fifth anniversary.
Flowers get everywhere at the RHS Flower Show at Hampton Court Flower Show, as you’d expect;
but be careful if you stay still for too long…
These irises really caught our attention; they’re not real, but a water feature created by Neil from Dragonswood Forge whose work we adore.
We’re back to water again; but that’s not surprising, the large RHS London Flowers Shows – Chelsea and Hampton Court are both set on the banks of the River Thames. At Hampton Court the Long Water provides a means of separating show areas, but more importantly provides a long, sociable stretch where you can sit and discuss the gardens and just watch the rest of the world go by for a time.
On reflection, every year, my favourite aspect of the RHS Flower Show at Hampton Court is this one…
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