I have hazy memories of visiting the first Hampton Court Palace Flower Show in 1993 & my how it’s changed over the years.
My impression is that in those early years visitors wanted inspiration & ideas to use in their own gardens. This is still the case, but life has become a bit more complex & the Royal Horticultural Show has harnessed it’s influence to encourage gardeners to think about the environment & gardening sustainably.
Gardens for a Changing World.
Along with traditional show gardens & conceptual ones, there are 6 gardens in this new category,:
Each with a positive message about how methods of gardening & design can deal with flooding, reduce the impact of flooding & protect the environment & wildlife, .
The brief was to think about sustainability & how areas of land could be designed to overcome current challenges, & be developed into a garden for the future.
Sustainable gardening is close to my heart, I’ve used plants & a drainage plan in our garden to deal with an area of flooding. It’s made a tremendous difference without the use of pumps or any fancy equipment, & the water is kept in the garden. But that’s another story, & I’ll write about it soon.
There were a couple of gardens in this category that caught my eye.
The theme is how an old industrial site goes through a process of regeneration as self-seeded trees & plants begin growing on it. I liked the mix of plants with rusted metal & sculptural shapes & the message of how a disused piece of land can be transformed into a thriving environment for people, plants & insects.
Brownfield Metamorphosis was designed by Martyn Wilson.
The Power to make a Difference:
When I first saw it I wondered if the enormous blue sleeping bag over a tall shape in the centre of the garden was some kind of statement, this is a conceptual garden after all.
Returning later, the cover had been removed to reveal a tower of huge ice-cubes, the largest with blue Iris flowers suspended in it. It was truly eye-catching.
The garden shows how neglected landscapes can be improved through small actions like wild-life friendly planting, providing water & habitats for birds, animals & insects.
The Perennial Sanctuary Garden:
This show garden highlights the work of the charity Perennial, who help horticulturalists going through difficulties, such as illness that may prevent them from working.
The garden is laid out as a spiral planted with hot colours on the outer edge. The plants become taller, & the colours become more restful towards the centre of the garden, symbolising care & protection.
The Perennial Sanctuary Garden was designed by Tom Massey.
My first show garden at Hampton Court in 2004. The decking was made from old scaffold boards & all the wood was recycled. I have very happy memories of this, despite the dodgy footwear choice.
Over the years the Hampton Court Palace Flower Show has grown to be the worlds biggest flower show, & is a wonderful day out.
all photos: Jill Anderson