I never thought that the view of Hampton Court would make me cry tears of joy, in fact I’m not really known for crying full stop but as I stood on the pontoon at 7am Monday morning its very fair to say I was properly welling up!
The site wasn’t quite ready for visitors this early in the morning but there were still more people around than I’d seen in over 18 months. All the necessary service people that keep a huge operation like the flower show running, cleaners, catering staff, bin collectors, show garden, stand and floral marquee builders doing the final touches to their creations and of course people like myself wandering around marvelling at everyone elses hard work
So what caught my eye?
I’m not going to include all the gardens, just give you a taste of who I liked and why.
The Cancer Research UK Legacy Garden – Tom Simpson
Gold medals have been hard to come by this year it seems, this perhaps highlights how difficult it has been for growers and designers to achieve the brief they have set themselves under such shifting and tricky circumstances. The Cancer research garden is a real triumph of scale and planting though as is the cause it highlights. The seeds of each new advance being rooted in the breakthroughs that have gone before. Each step bring hope and optimism in what can be a lonely journey.
Wide sweeping paths weave through the plants in an infinity symbol with calm reflective spaces in between.
Down Memory Lane – Blue Diamond Team
Built to highlight the benefits gardening can have for people living with Dementia and those that care for them, it can be a source of great solace.
I absolutely adored the recycled greenhouse, made from old windows and including some stained glass! There is a lovely water feature made from a watering can and beautiful thoughtful, colourful planting.
The Communication Garden – Amelia Bouquet
A space designed to enable quiet reflection and a safe refuge for people to talk. Highlighting the growing recognition for the need to look after our mental health and the importance of gardens to do that.
I loved the gentle colours in the planting palette, soft pinks, blues and silvers complimented the hard landscaping and warm wood.
A Place to meet again – Mike Long
Silver – Gilt Medal
Going with a recycled/repurposed/free spirit/unconventional theme on this garden and it really works!
Its a strong contemporary bold look with excellent plant choices. The water feature is an interesting take on a traditional rill.
Global Impact Gardens
The Fashion Footprint Garden – Baz Grainger
Highlighting the impact of the fashion and textile industry has on our planet. I will fully admit I will need this explaining to me as its not immediately apparent, at least not to me. It is however a very well put together show garden. I particularly loved the wooden tiles that made up the floor and a pallette of orange and cream flowers complimented the corten steel planters perfectly!
RHS Feature Gardens
Garden For A Green Future – Jamie Butterworth
A garden designed to cope with climate change, the planting is chosen to withstand the predicted increasingly harsh weather conditions and the hard landscaping allows water to penetrate, ensuring not one drop of precious rain is lost. Jamie’s plant choices are exceptional. The standard they have been grown to, sheer perfection, and the overall effect is of a lush, verdant space that would enfold the people in a serene hideaway.
Full plant list is available here
RHS Iconic Horticultural Hero Garden – Tom Stuart-Smith
Another absolute triumph of planting and I had a total fangirl moment when I saw the man himself hanging around doing a few last minute tweaks and deadheading. Most people wouldn’t think of me as being shy but for certain people I am literally tongue tied and Tom is one of those people who inspires this reaction in me (I hopefully cover it well…?).
All of the plants will be relocated after the show to RHS Wisley to be used in replanting the borders around the Glasshouse Garden, one of Tom’s 2007 gardens.
If you would like to know what plants Tom uses to create his iconic style the full list is available here