Gardening: Hampton Court Palace Flower ShowBy Linda Fort
July 13, 2012
Hampton Court Palace Flower Show was a fantastic celebration of real gardening last week.
I went to Chelsea earlier in the year and – to be perfectly honest – I found it a bit boring.
The big show gardens always seem to have thousands of pounds worth of paving and pools, and some kind of pavilion or summer house, ranked by a couple of rows of very expensive trees.
They will transfer happily and at prodigious expense to some posh London garden, but have little to offer the regular everyday gardener.
At Hampton Court, the designers have less money to spend and the result, in my view, is lovelier and more relevant to you and me.
The reason is that the beauty of the garden is created by the planting, and many of the ideas can be copied in your own garden.
There were also lots of plants and varieties new to me to make note of to seek out and copy later.
I particularly liked all the entries in the Summer Garden section including one called This Is Me, made in conjunction with the West Berkshire Dyslexia Association, designed by James Callicott.
There was a natural planting of perennials set against gravel which could be recreated in any garden.
The calm green and white planting of Corner of the World, by Nick Buss and Clare Olof, with white astilbes and ferns, would be easy to recreate in a shady garden.
A number of exhibitors chose to restrict their colour palette, with creams and whites a popular choice.
You need a garden as big as Sissinghurst to devote a whole section to one colour, but the rest of us can manage a white border or even a white corner – especially where you can see it at night and the white flowers gleam in the moonlight.
They certainly won’t be gleaming in the sunlight, which is still in very short supply as I write this.
At least the weather – though still wet – has warmed up a little and the vegetables are at last beginning to grow. However, I will be astonished if I get a single tomato this year at the rate the plants are growing.
I have never seen vegetable plants progress so slowly through the summer months before.
And vegetables to be good and tasty must grow quickly.
We gardeners can do our bit to replace water when it is lacking – even warmth can be provided early in the season with a bit of garden fleece – but light is not in our gift.
These overcast days are quite simply not what the gardener ordered.