RHS Hampton Court Flower Show 2018

The Mr Men come to RHS Hampton Court Palace flower show.The Mr Men come to RHS Hampton Court Palace flower show.

In the blistering heat of an unusually hot British summer the Hampton Court Flower Show gardens were displayed at their absolute best this year in the glorious sunlight.

The RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower show is one of the best garden shows of the year. Maybe it's because of the scale of the show (it is the largest show by far), or perhaps its glorious setting within the grounds of Hampton Court Palace, but it's certainly one of the season's highlights and is invariably blessed with stunning weather too, which definitely adds to the day.

Show Gardens

Large Show Gardens

The B & Q Bursting Busy Lizzie Garden at the 2018 RHS Hampton Court flower show

The show gardens are always a highlight, and this year they did not disappoint. The B & Q Bursting Busy Lizzie Garden designed by Matthew Childs (Gold medal winner and best show garden) was delightful, with a red theme running through the whole garden. While Busy Lizzies might have been unfashionable of late, they seem to be making a bit of a come-back, perhaps in part because they don't need dead heading regularly, and once they start flowering they just go on and on.

The Best of Both Worlds Garden at the 2018 RHS Hampton Court flower show

The Best of Both Worlds Garden designed by Rosemary Coldstream (Gold medal winner) was very interesting, featuring two very different gardens adjacent to each other in the same space, with the garden being designed for a couple with different tastes. The feel of each section was lovely; one, a typical cottage garden, the other a more contemporary mix of foliage and golden grasses.

Both gardens, despite being contrasting, worked surprisingly well next to each other, with both also sporting a water feature. This garden shows a complete chalk and cheese feel, yet really worked, outstanding!

The Santa Rita 'Living La Vida 120' Garden at the 2018 RHS Hampton Court flower show

Whilst there were many spectacular gardens this year, one that particularly stood out was The Santa Rita 'Living La Vida 120' Garden designed by Alan Rudden (Gold medal winner). The Mediterranean feel of this garden was absolutely perfect, with striking yellow walls running throughout the garden made. The garden really made you feel like you were in another country, especially in the glorious weather we've had this summer.

The planting was low maintenance with the silver of the Agave Americana (American Aloe) repeating throughout the garden against the yellow and steel walls; just beautiful. You could certainly see this garden working well in any country with a hot climate, particularly with a glass of cold wine or a cool beer.

Small Show Gardens

Of the selection of smaller gardens there were two that stood out A Very Modern Problem and Conscious Consumerism.

The Very Modern Problem Garden designed by Pollyanna Wilkinson (Silver Gilt medal winner) showed the effects of social media on our perception of life and what we are told to aspire to against the starkness of humdrum reality. The media portrays an idealised version of perfect family life and by reference, their garden, yet in reality life is never like this.

The A Very Modern Problem Garden at the 2018 RHS Hampton Court flower show

This garden, split in two halves by a large computer tablet acting as a viewing port, highlights this fact perfectly. One half of the garden could have been plucked out of the pages of a glossy style magazine, while the other half is the reality, with an un-cut lawn strewn with kids toys and a sad looking rotary washing line. Very poignant!

The other garden, Conscious Consumerism designed by Joseph Gibson (Gold medal winner), highlighted the highly detrimental impact that our modern lifestyles are having on the environment. It forced you to stop and think about the direct effects of our lifestyles and the ongoing damage being done to our fragile planet.

Stopping and even reversing these effects however is eminently possible, as demonstrated by the Battlefields to Butterflies garden designed by Todd Longstaffe-Gowan. This garden showed how nature can return even after such devastation on the landscape as the trenches in World War I, when years later the landscape was once again awash with trees, flowers and wildlife.

Floral Marquee

Calycanthus floridus

As always, the huge Floral Marquee was a riot of colour and scents from the myriad of flowers on display and it's always exciting when you discover a new plant that you've never come across before. While it may not be a new plant as such, as long as it's new to you then it's a result. This year, that plant happened to be Calycanthus floridus for us. Instantly you're thinking, "where can I put it?"

All in all, a great day out, and extremely fortunate with the weather too. How could you possibly wish for a better day?


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