Hampton Court Palace Flower Show – 2012
This week, despite the heavy grey clouds and bombardment of raindrops, I attended the Hampton Court Palace Garden Show. I’ve become a huge fan of this show over the years, and in my mind, the event is only growing in size and quality. I love the Chelsea Flower Show, but the show gardens there are often so ostentatious that the ordinary gardener would never be able to create something similar at home. However, I find that Hampton’s show gardens, whilst still being of the highest of design quality, offer a range of ideas that can be better incorporated. Combine this with a multitude of plants for sale and the beautiful backdrop of Hampton Court Palace, and you’re onto a winner.
Having glided through the exhibitors entrance (Yes, that’s how I roll), one of the first gardens that I came across was the Discover Jordan Garden (below). I have to say, I wasn’t too impressed. I do like hard landscaping within a garden, but I wouldn’t want to reconstruct a temple ruins or something similar in my own backyard. Maybe I’m missing the point. But, I didn’t really account this to being a ‘garden’, despite it winning a gold medal. The planting, what little there was, is well done, but it failed to make my heart excited.
Two gardens that I did adore, however, were The Italian Job (silver guilt) and Contemporary Contemplation (gold). These two gardens are almost extreme opposites from one another, with The Italian Job being stuffed with alliums, lavender and box. Meanwhile, Contemporary Contemplation used its box in an entirely different way, and shows how a palette of pale alliums, ferns, silver birches and hostas can create a stunning palette of green to relax in.
Another fantastic area was the Urban Community gardens; a network of areas to showcase how city regions can utilise planting. The alleyway (below) shows how residents can bring a touch of green to their surroundings by using hanging baskets and pots. Meanwhile, a beautiful wildflower meadow behind crisp iron railings, a shipping container turned into a garden shed and work area, and a small raised bed by some washing really managed to create diversity and green spaces out of these otherwise dull and depressing zones.
Of course, Hampton Court Garden Show is also about the many pavilions, and this year the Edible Pavilion, Flower Pavilion, Rose and Romance tent and Grapevine Theatre were all in fine form. If you want to buy, buy, buy, then head to the Flower Pavilion with your wallet out and your financially controlling spouse left in a corner with a cup of tea. Each nursery has a beautiful stand to showcase their plants, and you’ll find more than enough to tempt your crisp notes. I was VERY restrained and only bought a chocolate perennial cosmos, though I could have easily had one of everything in the tent. The Edible Pavilion is wonderful if you want to grow your own, and this year there was also a mouth-wateringly good cooking demonstration area to sink your teeth into. The Grapevine Theatre is the ideal location if you want to see a few stars, and I popped by to see John Craven talk about his time on Countryfile and give a little talk on British wildflowers. It was a great talk about the need for hayfields, and the importance that Countryfile is having on the next generation.
I can easily say that this year’s show is better than last, and offers a huge variety of attractions to explore and discover. I even managed to find a stand with the Twizy car on; a 100% electric car from Renault. I’ve wanted one for AGES and now I’m convinced it’s the car for me – now I just need my licence!
If you can get tickets to this show before it closes at the end of the week, I highly recommend going.
For more pics of the show, CLICK HERE.