The 2015 Hampton Court Flower Show – A First-timer’s Impressions

I visited the 25th Hampton Court Flower Show on Saturday, the penultimate day, after several days of stonkingly intense heat (OK I am British and have thick blood). I’ve never been before and I had high hopes of something like Chelsea (I’ve been twice), but edging towards the avant-garde like the Chaumont-sur-Loire International Garden Festival (I would love to go). I imagined strolling through the grounds around the palace, encountering show gardens round each corner, between giant topiarized trees.

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In fact the RHS show area is heavily partitioned away from the palace and is set up down the distant Canal Vista, so no wandering around iconic mazes. I should have done my homework or at least ordered an advanced copy of the catalogue. No matter, it was fun anyway and I enjoyed trotting over the multiple walkways set up over the canal, hoping to catch a bit of spray from the fountains.

I found the show layout a bit muddled, with the show gardens dotted here and there, but that is partly because someone else was holding the map. Also some of the commercial outlets had pretty impressive displays themselves.

Tree fountains

Tree sculpture fountains by Quist Ltd. I want one on these!

In the end we wandered until lunchtime and then I grabbed the map to make sure I saw certain gardens before home time, particularly the World Vision Garden transferred from the Chelsea Show.

World Vision Garden

The World Vision Garden: Bold, bright and beautiful

I loved it and the tapestry of plants surrounding those striking rods was intricate and gorgeous:

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I enjoyed some of the Conceptual Gardens and my favourite in the entire show was the Equilibrium garden:

The Equilibrium Garden

The Equilibrium Garden – Perfectly proportioned and planted

The Malawi garden was serious, clever and fun; containing at its centre a kaleidoscope of maize endless reflecting/stretching to the distance.

Malawi Garden

Malawi Garden. Easy to miss the surrounding planting in the rush to the view holes though.

The SMART vision garden used lots of symbology and ideas about mental illness and was effectively presented and planted. It had the draw of the viewing holes too. Hard to resist.

SMART vision garden

SMART vision garden

The Gatsby Jazz Band provided lunchtime entertainment, but I hate deckchairs. They are the most uncomfortable invention, though they provided a nice summery seaside feel.

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How English!

Later we enjoyed the Tootsie Rollers, a vintage girl band with some nice acappella and classic songs.

The Tootsie Rollers

The Tootsie Rollers

The Summer Gardens class provided a good run of pretty, small, themed spaces in colours I love. (By this point the place was heaving, so I have taken the liberty of editing the crowds out of the next two photos to focus on the gardens – hence they may not be quite how you remember them at the very top left and top right).

The Healing Urban Garden

The Healing Urban Garden – Great shapes

The Wellbeing of Women Garden

The Wellbeing of Women Garden – The water feature is a bit stark for my liking, but great movement from the sparse grasses

In the World Gardens class, in the centre of the show ground somewhere, shining like a jewel was the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism’s Garden of Paradise. It was brilliantly fresh and lush, even on Saturday. Those rills are so cooling.

Garden of Paradise

Garden of Paradise

We finished at the Floral Marquee. It was like heaven. So many stalls with great displays and plants for sale. Shame about those pop-up plant trolleys though, some people were using them like weapons.

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Exuberant displays everywhere in the floral marquee

This Campanula caught my eye. You can really see the octupuses/octupi.

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And that is enough I think. It was a lovely day. I did buy some plants of course (hardy salvias), but then who didn’t.

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About Frogend_dweller

Living in the damp middle of nowhere
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11 Responses to The 2015 Hampton Court Flower Show – A First-timer’s Impressions

  1. It sounds like a perfect day to me. Don’t those groynes in The Equilibrium Garden look fab? They’re giving me ideas about what to do with our motley collection of rotten oak gate posts! Yes, best thing about deck chairs are the colourful candy stripes.

  2. Chloris says:

    What wonderful photos. And a great post.I don’ t know how I missed the World Vision Garden. And the deckchairs, if only I had found the deckchairs, I had to lie down amongst all the sheep poo under the lime trees.
    On dear I am afraid I was one of those awful people with a plant trolley but I tried not to use it as a weapon. And I didn’ t run over your toes as I was there on Tuesday. The Salvia stand was divine, I loved them all. Which did you buy?
    By the way, what is your name or could you make one up if you want to remain anonymous?. I can’ t keep calling you Frogend Dweller.

    • Liz, I am Allison. I had no idea when I started what a strong sense of community or how friendly garden/nature bloggers were. The World Vision garden was tucked down the Feast/Cookery end. The lime trees were a life saver for many I think. In the morning the trolleys were fine and I liked the idea, but by mid-afternoon people were probably tired and I had sandals on. I bought some Salvia ‘Valerie’ and ‘Emperor’. Emperor is a beautiful dark mauve and the bees already show a preference for it.

  3. Enjoyed the tour. I usually don’t go to flower and garden shows, mainly because of the crowds. I have been to Chaumont, though, and had a mixed reaction. I’m usually not a big fan of conceptual gardens, thought there are exceptions. Love the mix of plants in the World Vision garden but not so much those glass rods. I do like the round viewing holes in the Malawi garden, and I’d love to get a closer look at the Paradise Garden.

  4. Christina says:

    You describe it just how I remember it, from years ago. A bit second best to Chelsea.

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