I took a break from weeding, sorry I mean gardening ; ) for this post. Instead I took my father to Hampton Court Flower Show. I’d never been to a flower show before although i’ve sometimes seen bits and pieces on the telly about Chelsea, so I didn’t quite know what to expect.
It was incredibly busy and hot and I hadn’t expected to queue to see gardens quite as much as we did, but it was a fun if tiering day and I’ve captured all my favourite bits in the following photos.
Please note that i’ve put links to the gardens i’ve described here at the end of the post incase you want to see more photos on the RHS website.
Busy and hot and it was only 11am!
Not a bad venue for a garden show! There is something lovely about the architecture and history of Hampton Court Palace.
The ‘I Disappear’ garden was all about how we humans rely on plants and trees for our oxygen to survive. This poor man must have been sweating buckets in this mask (he was there all day!) Some plants had been covered with bell jars with tubes attached than ran up to this mask to demonstrate how we breath the oxygen that they create via photosynthesis.
This structure (because i’m not sure it’s a ‘garden’) is called ‘Tip of the Iceberg’. Using old fridges in this way is supposed to communicate how we live in a closed cycle of recourses although I took away a stronger message about melting ice caps which i’m not sure had been the intention of the design.
I really liked this garden called ‘Ashes to Ashes’. It tells the story of how although Ash dieback disease has hit the UK and it likely to have devastating effects, but that that’s not necessarily the end, and some healthy trees will survive (you can just make out the spiral of regeneration behind the tombstone). I really liked the simple but strong use of colour in the black and pink for the ‘dead’ half the design and the lush green of new young trees for the ‘growing’ half.
This is the ‘McCarthy & Stone’ Garden with a lovely sculpture in the centre and lots of soft prairie and wild flower planting around it. It’s all about celebrating the wisdom of the older generations with different paths to represent the different ways out minds work.
This was a little patch of garden that was built to show of these fantastic wire sculptures. There a small (about 40-50cm) tall ‘woman’ with bright orange hair standing on end. They were all in pulling dance like poses and the combination of the them around the complimentary planting worked really well.
Not a ‘garden’ per say but dotted around the site were these little Ecover sponsored raised beds. Each one was designed and planted up by difference people. All of them were lovely and bright and helped soften the deadened grass as you walked around.
This was our favourite garden, it’s call ‘Willow Pattern’. It’s designed around a love story between a wealthy woman and her love for a humble man with Chinese themed props and planting. I loved the colours, all whites, blues and purples. It wasn’t just the on lookers who liked this one, but the bees were loving it too!
A silly picture of my dad, who’s called Ben in front of the Ben (or is it Bill?) of the Bill and Ben display.
There wasn’t an abundance of edible themed gardens but this one was by far the most colourful! It’s called ‘The Movable Feast’ and it’s been designed by the wives of Army soldiers who wanted to plant gardens but who often had to move around every couple of years. Everything is in pots or other creative containers and it’s full to the brim of lots of yummy edible crops including Tomatillos which I also have in my allotment.
This was a more serious edible garden with more subtle combinations of edible and non edible plants. There was something really lovely about looking around the beds of flowers and plants and suddenly realising you were looking at leaks or sweetcorn! I think was was really well planted and inspiring to see how beautiful an edible garden can be.
A silly picture of me queuing of the food tasting (of course!) from the talk we’d just seen given by a couple of guys from the team from ‘The Pig’ pub in the new forest. One guys cooked up some foraged goods with clams and the other, who is the head grower, made a fresh salad with peas, beans, leaves and edible flowers. Yum.
The Pig team had brought some of their garden to the show! Each of their pubs has a strong connection to their kitchen gardens as well as the local community and local suppliers. I’d definitely getting a pin on our ‘pubs to visit’ map for next year!
A fantastic display of lavender in the flower tent. I had no idea you could get white lavender and it was great to be able to see all the small details and differences between the different varieties.
A display of rather garishly coloured flowers, you almost needed sunglasses to look!
Being called Alice, i’ve had a long established relationship with the story ‘Alice in Wonderland’ so I did appreciate these fun sculptures of Alice and the Dodo from the book.
Dad and I restrained ourselves on the purchasing front and only bought a few seeds and bulbs. I bought some Lupins and Delphinium seeds and dad some Allium bulbs. We resisted the metal crocodile sculptures (yes I did see a man with a crocodile under his arm!).
Links to the RHS site for the different gardens:
Tip of the Iceberg
Ashes To Ashes
The McCarthy & Stone Garden
Vestra Wealth’s Jardin du Gourmet