Hampton Court Highlights

Now that the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show is over for another year, we take a look at some of this years Show Gardens. 

We begin with the garden that was awarded Best Show Garden and a Gold medal “I am, because of who we are” designed by Caroline Comber with Petra Horackova. This garden featured a series of interlocking circles each filled with a single plant species.

The simple planting consists of a series of Betula albosinensis underplanted with plants in a colour scheme of whites, bronzes and creams. Plants featured include foxgloves such as Digitalis parviflora “Milk Chocolate” and Digitalis purpurea “Camelot Cream”, and blocks of grasses such as Stipa tenuissima, Briza media and Deschampsia cespitosa “Goldschleier”.

The Outer Space Garden designed by Bruce Waldock had a Japanese inspired theme with a “Bauble” capsule as a central point of interest. Elements typical of Japanese gardens included rich purple leaved Acers, clipped Box balls, stepping stones and raked gravel (uniquely resin bonded). This garden achieved a Silver medal.

The Copella Garden was once again designed by Sadie May Stowell and was awarded a Silver Gilt medal this year. At the heart of the garden is a contemporary wooden sculpture surrounded by a relaxed planting scheme of perennials, annuals and grasses, with plants that attract pollinating insects incorporated throughout.

The WWF’s 50th anniversary garden designed by Fiona Stephenson was based on the beauty of a chalk stream. The garden has naturalistic wildflower planting punctuated with modern art and sculptures and includes plants typically found around chalk streams or in alkaline soils.

A key aspect of any strong show garden is if it gives the visitor the feeling that it’s an established part of the landscape and this garden achieved that. The WWF garden was deservedly given a Silver Gilt medal.

The Vestra Wealth’s Grays Garden designed by Paul Martin had a 1920’s style pavilion as a focal point and was awarded a Gold medal. The simple and clean hard landscaping is complemented by refined blocks of planting in cool blues, creams and greens, with drifts of Agapanthus and Carex oshimensis.

A complete contrast to the calmness of Paul Martins garden is the “A Matter of Urgency” garden designed by Jill Foxley with its vivid pink walls and brightly coloured planting scheme. This garden was cleverly divided into different areas using screens, concrete rendered walls and clipped box hedges.

This garden was simply bursting at the seams with a whole host of plants; Eryngiums, Delphiniums, Achillea, Monarda, Salvia, Rudbeckia, Crocosmia, Calendula, Dahlia and Agapanthus were all included. The garden was awarded a Silver Gilt medal.

A garden with a more conceptual feel that was attracting a fair amount of admirers was the “World Vision” garden designed by FlemonsWarland Design.

This is a particularly impressive example of how the use of strong central shapes can deliver a memorable garden. In this case an inverted dome and a concave dome were used with the underlying message being that one dome represents the prosperous nations of the world that have, and the other indicative of the nations of the world that have not.

We end with the garden awarded Peoples Choice and Silver Gilt, and a personal favourite of ours; “The Stockman’s Retreat” designed by Chris Beardshaw. This garden looked beautiful, had a stunning array of plants, different planting areas, a stream, and well executed hard landscaping.

Particularly eye catching was the complex mix of herbaceous planting at the front of the garden that included Salvia nemerosa “Amethyst”, Veronicastrum virginicum “Pink Glow” and Monarda “Gardenview Scarlet”.

For a list of all the show garden awards visit  http://www.rhs.org.uk/Shows-Events/pdf/Hampton-2011-awards/Hampton-2011-Show-Garden-Awards and for more about the show itself http://www.rhs.org.uk/Shows-Events/Hampton-Court-Palace-Flower-Show/2011

Photography: copyright Garden Design Eye


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