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.
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.
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.
I loved it and the tapestry of plants surrounding those striking rods was intricate and gorgeous:
I enjoyed some of the Conceptual Gardens and my favourite in the entire show was the Equilibrium garden:
The Malawi garden was serious, clever and fun; containing at its centre a kaleidoscope of maize endless reflecting/stretching to the distance.
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.
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.
Later we enjoyed the Tootsie Rollers, a vintage girl band with some nice acappella and classic songs.
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).
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.
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.
This Campanula caught my eye. You can really see the octupuses/octupi.
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.