Hampton Court Palace Flower Show is celebrating it’s 25th year, and it goes from strength to strength. I’m sharing my top picks of the show’s gardens and features with you, it was tough just to pick a few.
Celebration of History Scarecrow Competition
Following the theme of the celebration of history, this competition involved schools in the South East and there were some brilliant entries including Cleopatra, Charles Darwin and Shakespeare.
Henri Le Worm Community Garden
This garden aims to show children how much enjoyment you can get from being outside and how cooking and healthy eating can be fun. It promotes healthy living, looks at growing food and the importtance of local produce. I loved the quirky worm!
Just Retirement: A Garden for Every Retiree
Created by award-winning designer Tracy Foster and a team of volunteers, this garden aims to show how enjoyable retirement and gardening can be. It incorporates raised beds to show that gardening can be accessible, and vegetables to encourage a healthy diet.
Living Landscapes: City Twitchers
This garden was created to attract and protect garden birds in a small urban space. Seating allows bird watchers to cocoon themselves and the design shows how wildlife friendly gardens need not compromise on style.
The Massachussets Garden – Great Gardens of the USA
I’d kindly been invited to the show by Discover America, and they had two interesting gardens on display – the Charleston Garden and my favourite, the Massachussets Garden. Designed by Sadie May Stowell, the backdrop is a series of screens printed with images of the Boston skyline.
Noble Caledonia: Spirit of the Aegean
Designed by Esra Parr, this garden evokes the Aegean landscape with bougainvillea blooms, oleander and lavender. As you can see, it was being watered when I visited, with temperatures reaching 34 degrees, all the gardeners had a challenge keeping their gardens looking shipshape.
The Normandy Impressionist Garden
Taking inspiration from Claude Monet’s garden in Giverny, Normandy, this garden has recreated the famous Japanese bridge of the original. Designed by James Priest and created by Alexandre Thomas of the Agapanthe Gardens in Normandy, it features water lilies, agapanthus, weeping willow, purple and Japanese maple, bamboo and wisteria.
Rolawn: Freestyle Turf Sculpture
Commemorating the show’s 25 years and 40 years of Rolawn growing turf, it’s inspired by geology, the Land Art Movement and the way in which turf is produced to combine form and structure.
The Scotty’s Little Soldiers Garden
The charity Scotty’s Little Soldiers currently supports more than 200 children who have each lost a parent serving in the British Armed Forces. Designed by Graeme Thirde, visitors are encouraged to wander into and through this Show Garden. The ‘memory tree’ represents constancy.
The SMART Vision Garden: Having the Courage to See Beyond Mental Illness
SMART is a charity supporting people affected by mental health issues and focuses on keeping people well rather than on their diagnosis. Visitors are encouraged to look through the peepholes, to catch a glimpse of the lush inner garden. The external dark facade, wrapped in hazard tape, is designed to reflect attitudes to mental illness, however the reflective mirror interior symbolizes what can be achieved when you think “outside the box”.
The Turkish Garden of Paradise
This won Best World Garden, and I can see why, there were so many different elements to enjoy. Influenced by the 10th century gardens of Turkish emperors in Asia, this design by Nilufer Danis includes geometric architecture, fountains for cooling water and a pavilion to provide shade, plus a wall for privacy. Turkey is due to host EXPO 2016 in Antalya, with the theme “Flowers and Children”.
The Wellbeing of Women Garden
Winner of the People’s Choice Best Small Garden, it was designed to mark 50 years of research funded by Wellbeing of Women into issues affecting women’s health. Stepping stones mark each decade of the charity’s research work, and the plants used are medicinal, aromatic or sensory in order to promote well being.
The World Vision Garden
World Vision is the world’s largest international childrens charity. Their garden is inspired by Cambodia – with the orange rods representing rice paddy fields. Dark water symbolizes the fear of hunger that children there live with, but hope is represented by mirrored boxes shining light into the darkness and flowers showing that with the right conditions and irrigation, plants can thrive.
Hampton Court Palace Flower Show was held from 30 June to 5 July 2015. It’s well worth a visit another year!
Which is your favourite garden or feature?