The last time I was at the Hampton Court Flower Show I was pregnant with my daughter, you know, the one who’s just finished her first year at uni. And even then I didn’t ‘do’ the show, instead I took my mother on the Gala Evening, the night before the opening as a birthday treat.
Roll forward 19 years and I admit it, I approached Hampton Court all wrong. As with Chelsea, I’d bought a late ticket (which started at 3pm) but then due to work commitments in the morning ended up not getting there until 4pm, and taking another half hour finding the OH who was apparently deaf to his mobile. It wasn’t a good start. Add to that a general irritation with carrying my overnight bag, feeling generally hot and bothered as well as overwhelmed and bewildered by the size of the site, and I was in a right old grump.
However, a restorative marmalade ice cream from Purbeck ice cream and a greenery immersion in the Floral Marquee, and I soon started to perk up. And, of course, having spoken of my relative abstention on the plant purchasing front last week, it soon went all wrong to the extent the OH had to buy a trolley to carry everything back to the Isle of Wight!
The first purchases were two Mandevilla ‘Sundaville Pink’. This was actually prompted by seeing Clematis ‘Princess Diana’ looking really good on another display and reminding me that the two I have growing in rectangular planters on the decking (with the lipstick pink Pelargonium ‘Surcouf’) really don’t look good and clearly aren’t happy. The plan now is to move the Clematis out and replace with the Mandevilla. Apparently the Mandevillas quite like being restricted so I was instructed to plant them into a larger round pot and then place that in the planter. It also makes it easier to bring them in for the winter, although I somehow doubt that will ever happen…
Number two was this gorgeous Sanguisorba obtusa, shown off beautifully here in front of a black back drop. I’m hoping I can find a dark hedge to achieve the same effect, but whether I can also provide the moist soil conditions they prefer is another question.
The OH also treated me to a packet of ‘Just Jenny’ sweet peas, but I’m not sure I’m that keen!
Other plants which caught my eye (but not my wallet) were Nicotiana mutablis. I’ve just planted this out all round the back of the Swing Beds, so good to note I still like it
This Digitalis illumination ‘Cherry Brandy’ was a stunning colour, but, like D. mertonensis I was moaning about recently, it was really quite short, and I do like a Digitalis to ‘tower’.
Although I’m generally uncomfortable with plants the ‘wrong’ colour, I was rather taken with this Delphinium ‘Red Caroline’, but then I felt bad about it!
I loved this Coreopsis ‘Mercury Rising’. It reminded me of Chocolate Cosmos but I assume would be a whole lot easier to grow.
I also loved this double Lychnis coronaria ‘Gardeners’ World’,
talking of which, guess who I spied close by. I loved your frock, Carol!
Inspired by the stunning circular Hosta bed at Whalton Manor, I’m considering planting up a round metal bath I have, solely with Hostas, and a couple took my fancy, firstly H. ‘Mrs Minky’
and also diminutive H. ‘Slim and Trim.’
A last foliage plant to catch my eye was this Aralia cordata ‘Sun King’. I’m a sucker for a lime coloured leaf.
Oh and the OH liked this, Allium ‘Forelock’. Yes really.
Back outside I made very limited progress with viewing all the show gardens. I did however, enjoy the Dog’s Trust garden, particularly the relaxed, relaxing planting.
and I also liked the sunken ‘All the World’s a stage’ garden
with some unusual planting combinations.
I think this was part of the World Gardens, which demonstrated a really effective contrast between the lush planting and the arid hard landscaping.
And these little succulents growing amongst the pebbles in the gabions on this Kent ‘Feel Good Front Gardens’ exhibit were inspired.
And to finish, a special mention for this Conceptual Garden, the ‘Red Thread.’ Not only was it designed by Robert Barker, an ex student of my Capel Manor tutor, John Gilbert, but a couple of my class mates helped with the planting. I was delighted to see it won gold.
Watching the coverage on the BBC last night made it clear I had missed some real treats, so apologies for such an incomplete post, but it does beg the question whether this is one show best enjoyed from the sofa!