I always leave my visit to the Floral Marquee at Hampton Court till last, not so much saving the best till last, but mainly because photographing outside needs to be done early before bright sunshine sets in.
By the afternoon the exhibits in the marquee are complete and looking pristine, it’s a welcome oasis of quiet calm in the hurly-burly of the show-ground, this is on press day you understand, I expect there’s a lot less calm in the days that follow.
There are 90 nurseries exhibiting here, a huge space to get round and lots to see, but it’s good to be reminded of old favourites:
and ones that I haven’t got round to planting yet
The plants above were all on the Hardys Cottage Garden Plants exhibit, which won them another well-deserved gold medal.
Herbs are a great attraction at shows, they look lovely as plants in their own right and you can eat them, they’re a sort of instant upgrade for almost any dish you can think of.
I’m always on the look-out for unusual plants at shows, but there’s a lot to be said for reliable old favourites like mint and thyme, especially lemon thyme, they’re all perfect for summer.
Lots of herbs can be grown from seed, I’ve grown flat-leaved parsley and dill this year, but if you haven’t got the time, buying a few plants makes for a lovely little herb garden in the smallest space. Some sun and plenty of light are usually required.
A disadvantage of the quiet oasis bit is that the exhibits aren’t manned until later, I felt a little niggle at this because I couldn’t buy any plants, like being in the best chocolate shop in the world with everything out of reach. But they’re going to be very busy people this week, so taking a well-earned rest in the lull before the storm seems reasonable.
I did buy a Pelargonium Attar of Roses from Fibrex Nurseries, a plant that I’ve been lusting after for ages. Commonly known as rose geranium it has pretty, little pink flowers and scented leaves that can be used in cooking.
I hope they’ll change the name to Plant Marquee one day.
Happy gardening, Jill