The RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show 2017


The RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show 2017

Joe Swift

My first ever visit to the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show was in 2008, it was a bus trip, and it took hours to get there, and it rained……lots.

However my more recent visit was a much more enjoyable experience, good company, decent weather and ice creams.

There are a lot of blogs currently on the Hampton Court Flower Show, so I shall add my own take on what I saw.

Giant Green Animals.

As soon as we walked in through the gate we were greeted by some giant green animals, great fun, imagine having some of these peering over from your neighbour’s garden at you all day.

The Show Gardens

Blind Veterans UK: It’s All About Community Garden

Circular Show Garden designed with blind and visually impaired veterans in mind while employing traditional craftsmanship.

Gold Medal Winner, Best Construction Award.

A lovely, large, circular garden which celebrates the activities of the beneficiaries, volunteers and staff at Blind Veterans UK. It is a community garden that brings together everyone involved in the charity as well as offering sensory stimulus to those with vision impairment as much as everyone involved in the garden. There is a large Liquidambar styraciflua at the centre which tree provides shade and a 40-year-old apple and pear trees which create a small orchard. Other plantings include, roses, dahlias and grasses, and a small plantings of edibles create a kitchen garden.

The designers Andrew Fisher Tomlin, Dan Bowyer have stated that they did not want to use too many scented plants as not to overpower the veterans.

This was a really nice garden, great design, amazing construction, even more amazing weaving.

After the show the garden is going to be broken up and used for further projects by the charity Blind Veterans.org.

On The Edge: The Centre for Mental Health Garden

The topical issue of mental health is explored in this garden of two parts, which conveys the journey through depression to acceptance

The Garden was awarded a Silver-Gilt.

I think it had Gold written all over it, the garden shows the journey from mental ill-health on to acceptance.
You enter via a narrow path, pushing through a spiky planting scheme, tall hedges invoke a feeling of claustrophobia. You walk towards an uncomfortable steep staircase into a dull, disorienting area. Pushing on, you step out onto broad, open steps which lead down towards a therapeutic area beside a reflective pool.

There was a lot of thought and personal experience in this design and I really liked it.

Colour Box

A celebration of the way gardeners help each other, coming together to produce something beautiful and colourful

I had been looking forward to finding this garden, the sketch in the show handbook did not do it justice. the garden is a celebration of people within the horticultural community just helping out, Charlie originally put a request on twitter if anyone could help with plants, materials and time in order to build the garden, so in fact she was not sure of how the garden would end up as she did not know what resources she would have.

I know of a couple of Horti types that I follow on twitter got involved and were able to help with construction, I saw the pictures posted on social media, it appears also that cake was involved.

A close up of the intricate metalwork walls.

The end result is a very bright but simple design, a mass of colourful plants that I found very pleasing, I also adored the metal fencing design which I’m noticing more and more at RHS shows. The Garden was awarded a Silver Gilt Medal, but I decided it should have Gold. So there.

Perennial Sanctuary Garden

Intriguing spiral paths lead into the centre of this garden as they intersect beds of colourful planting that create appealing plant combinations between grasses and perennials. A central area behind a bamboo screen creates a sense of calm from the turmoil of the world outside.

This is another garden that I really wanted to see, it’s a garden which supports the Charity Perennial –  The Gardeners Royal Benevolent Society,  which supports Professional horticulturalists when times get tough. I am a professional horticulturist, and I know of a colleague who benefited from the Charity’s excellent work a few years ago, so I’m always keen to support.

The garden was in a large circular design, and represents  how Perennial can help those receiving help to gently move from the chaos of their lives to find a personal sanctuary.

The spiral shape of The Perennial Sanctuary Garden, has a changing colour scheme of plants that represents the journey that client takes as they move, with Perennial’s help, from the chaos of their personal circumstances to safety – finding sanctuary in the storm. As you travel through the spiral garden the inner planting becomes taller and restful, and in the centre of the garden the planting is a single species of tall bamboo, screening the outside world from view.

The Garden was awarded a Silver Gilt Medal, but once again I gave it my Gold.

Southend Council: By the Sea

Smart beach huts, immaculate decking and subtle planting give a relaxed seaside feel

Two gardens built by young offenders, the aim is to give young offenders new skills and opportunities in life, and apparently the decking is built from timbers salvaged from Southend’s iconic pier.

Both gardens are very bright and vibrant, which appear to be a theme running through many show gardens this year. The gardens were awarded a Silver Gilt Medal.

Small but nice features littered these gardens.

I liked the small, but interesting features in these gardens, such as this homemade wall mounted plant pot holder with matching petunia colour to the wall.

London Glades

This is the very opposite of a typical urban garden – a freeform undulating space where it’s said that part of every plant is also edible

Gold Medal Winner and Best Garden for a Changing World.

This garden has been designed with edible forest principe, whereby the many layers of planting offers edible crops, trees, shrubs, vines, herbs, roots…

The design of the ground has been used by the Hugelkultur or Hill culture, old rotting branches and garden waste is heaped together and covered in topsoil and planted on top in order to mimic the natural forest floor. I’ve heard of this concept before, but have never seen it in the flesh so to speak.

It was a lovely and welcome respite from all the bright colours and noise of a busy show ground, i noticed when the designed was being interviewed by a camera crew on the garden, he had everybody take their shoes and socks off so they could enjoy the soft, moist moss under their feet. I almost joined them.

I think this was my most enjoyable Hampton court visit to date, a plant was purchased and I provided ice cream to the good company, there was so much to get to try to see and I  know I missed stuff.

We also saw sheep in wellies, Steel Slugs, Hairy bikers and a rather sweet ice Cream Van.

I also spent quite a bit of time in the floral Marquee, but I will cover that in another post.

The happy place.

There was so much to try to see, and I only purchased the one plant.

Salvia nemorosa ‘Crystal Blue’

I’m already looking forward to next years show, so with thanks to @papaver for driving us both.   Here are a last few images of the outside of the show.

2 thoughts on “The RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show 2017

  1. Sounds like you had a great day and I am slightly envious (very actually). The gardens you featured all look great, lots of colour and interest and also some great stories behind them. I am a little concerned about your lone purchase ….. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

Feel Free to Leave a Comment..

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s