With all the other posts going around of RHS Hampton Court I thought I would throw my hat in the ring. I planned to go to Chelsea however, they do not let children in so I resigned myself to the choice of other shows. I had been to Chelsea before so it was exciting to go to a different show for once.
Hampton Court feels like it is far away but if you get the fast train from Waterloo it is only 35mins and then a 10 minute walk to the show. I got off the train with all the other passengers destine for the show and starting walking across the bridge. Luckily, I chose the ‘coldest’ day of the week; I say that but it was still sweltering and muggy but at least it was not scorching. (not really sure of the metric of those words but scorching feels worse that sweltering I think).
Everyone was walking along with portable carrier baskets on wheels but I brought no such thing as I was determined not to buy plants all over the place. I did take alot of pictures for future purchases online. Take pictures of the plants you would like and hopefully along with a label and the shop name and then you can go back later and order online; to save carrying all the plants. It also means that I come to my senses when I get home and see that I probably didn’t have room for that giant standard rose even if it was the best thing I ever smelt.
It was also a chance to use my camera again; although after I arrived back home I felt that the pictures did not do the gardens justice. The designed gardens were very hard to get near as obviously people come to see them and the rest is add on.
At the gate there were a couple of ladies travelling from Canada and South Africa who wanted to see the show (it was members’ day) they struck up a conversation with me and said they would be charged extra because they were from overseas. They became my ‘guests’ (suggested by the RHS sign up lady) so they could go to the show without having pay extra. (I told them about this blog so perhaps they will read about it)
I am quite glad I went on members’ day even if I don’t use the membership for the rest of the year; the crowds were much smaller (although still very busy) compared with public days and with this weather I was glad for it.
So, photos; where to I start, they had many different garden arrangements showing off the best in colour and design. The first I came across was a ‘wide meadow’ type that was a ‘buzz’ with bees. Of course, now I have lost the paper that told me what all the plants were within the meadow but I was more interested in the bees than the flowers, to be honest.
Wildflowers was definitely a theme this year, even if they didn’t know it. It is all about attracting wildlife to your garden. Other years, the gardens were quite structured with a stark layout and mostly cultivars of foreign plants or not a stone out of place. This year, the gardens were more loose and had far more movement – it showed as the bees and butterflies were going crazy for them.
There were colour themes but much looser adherence to a strict colour palette mixing some quite strange colour combos. The photo below I found looked stranger in real life than on the camera. However, the bees loved it so I guess that is the point rather than pleasing our eyes.
The insects refused to keep still as usual – so unprofessional; I like the picture below even though it is out of focus as I got a red tail and white tail bumblebee in the one shot.
The garden below was called ‘The Entertaining Garden’ it has a place for standing (with cocktails I assume) and a bar in the back. It won a silver medal in the Lifestyle Garden category.
Quite a few red accents which were very pretty, however, most of the plants were purple hued. The butterflies and butterflies were getting drunk for sure, hundreds of them (slight exaggeration)
The bee below was escorted out as it had had too much to drink
Even the hoverflies were getting in on it;
Across the bridge was the flower hall (not actually called that) which had all the flower and plant vendors with displays of sale items. It was quite overwhelming to see that many plants on sale, however, I had vowed not to buy
anything many things lest I have to carry it home.
Giant pyramid of Lilium tempted me as they were all sold as bulbs and that would definitely be easy to carry home. Alas, in the end I did not see anything that caught my eye enough to purchase.
The Allium stands were also tempting as sold as bulbs; they has some really pretty and some strange ones for sale
They look like strawberries that were electrocuted (if strawberries had hair)
(Bees were even inside the flower hall)
Another (new found) temptation were the dahlias, so many to choose from and some really giant ones. Although, I think that might be false advertising as they grow ‘show’ flowers not ‘just in the back garden’ flowers. It would be nice if the had a show where everyone just showed flowers and fruit they had grown in their back garden as is, rather than show blooms and exhibition fruit/vegetables. I guess it is like the fashion industry, nobody is built like a runway model (except runway models) but people still put clothes on them.
It is hard to see from this photo but the blooms in the picture above for’Elma E’ are so large I could not get two hands around them (and I have giant palms) I am tempted to buy this one for next year just to see if they really do grow that big or just show blooms.
I also took photos on things that I just liked the look of that might find a place in my garden.
The large picture is Scabiosa atropurpurea ‘Chili Black’ and the one that looks like red queen anne’s lace is Daucus carrota ‘Dara’. I am a fan of anything red so these shades appealed to me. Ironically, (or is it coincidentally) the bedding plants I just received from Dobies had a Sabiosa barocca in it, which looks very similar.
I am also looking for some plants with height to place in the garden most likely along the fence. The one above was very tall and slender (80cm perhaps) with a tonne of the red bobble flowers (I think it was the same as the hoverfly flower above) called Sangiusorba ‘Chocolate Chip’.
Tiny alpine flowers with the macro lens (it was hard to take wide shots and then macro as I had to change lens each time and I was worried about being bumped) the coral daisy one is called Lewisia cotyledon ‘Rainbow’ but the other arrow shaped ones I did not get the label unfortunately and the seller has so many on their website I think it would take a while to find. I do like alpines though as they have some great ground covers to fill in spaces that would otherwise be bare earth.
Lastly, plants for shade; I have very little shade in my garden but I am interested in the choices that are out there. The obvious one is Hosta, they had a miniature hosta stand, where they sold only tiny hosta plants. I am not really a fan of hostas but these were cute and a nice shade of green.
There was a shade plant section, where I saw a strange plant; Campanula ‘Pink Octopus’. They start out as a lantern shaped flower but then the petals twist open and create a kind of leggy creature en masse.
The other was Gillenia trifoliata, not weird so much as just pretty with its red stems and white flowers
Ok, fine; I admit it. I bought something – I caved and bought one teeny tiny plant. Ok, five teeny tiny plugs. In red and purple and the flowers will look like this
Chysanthumums that almost look like dahlias
I did also go to the Flower Design Hall and the Rose exhibition but it was getting so hot by then I think I was going crazy with the people and heat. The photos were random and of no consequence so I will leave you with one last photograph which I wish you could smell as it was the nicest fragrance I have even smelt. Rosa ‘Ausglobe’ (aka Brother Cadfael) a peony rose 12cm wide, whose colour I am not a fan but would put up with if I knew it would smell like it does.
There were many other displays and gardens to see but it was very hard to get around to everything in one day. I spent five hours there and I think probably only saw half. Next year, I think I will aim for press day and hope to spend more time looking at the gardens on display hopefully not as crowded as my time.
Did you go to RHS Hampton Court? Did you enjoy it? Haveyou been to other shows you could recommend – or advise against?