Five Small Gardens from Hampton Court

Jean Vernon picks her five favourite small gardens from this year’s RHS Hampton Court Flower Show.

Katie’s Lymphoedema Fund: Katie’s Garden
Katie’s Lymphoedema Fund: Katie’s Garden is a fabulous mix of form and soft planting
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There are dozens of gardens at RHS Hampton Court Flower Show 2016, but it is the small gardens that steal the show for me. These are the gardens that you could imagine transferring to your own plot. If only we could wrap them up and bring them home. But what we can do is appreciate the design and work that has gone into each and every one of them and then take some of the ideas to recreate an essence of them in our own gardens.

1 Katie’s Lymphoedema Fund: Katie’s Garden (HC692)

Katie’s Lymphoedema Fund: Katie’s Garden
Katie’s Lymphoedema Fund: Katie’s Garden is a fabulous mix of form and soft planting

This garden glows with vibrancy. Soft pink raised beds are packed full of plants. It’s beautifully planted with a lovely mix of dark leaved sedums, lime green euphorbias, achilleas and tall valerianas, all beautiful cut flowers. A large rusted vessel filled with water is liberally seasoned with floating flower heads creating a beautiful effect. They move with the breeze. A pretty tiered table supports jugs of cut flowers and the back fence has crates attached displaying pretty accessories and flowers, like open sided cupboards. It’s divine.

2 CCLA: A Summer Retreat (HC691)

CCLA: A Summer Retreat
The CCLA: A Summer Retreat garden is inviting and inspirational Image: Jean Vernon

I simply love this Summer Garden. It’s a lovely mix of soft planting and interesting structures. A pretty little garden retreat raised up on staddle stones has its doors wide open inviting you in. The lush borders envelop a garden bench and obelisks and a rusted water feature adds a calm and cool looking effect. White silver birches punctuate the borders, planted underneath with a delightful mix of foxgloves, echinaceas, dahlias and agastache. What a delight.

3 The Lavender Garden (HC687)

Lavender Garden
The Lavender Garden is a beautiful mix of scent and serenity Image: Jean Vernon

The fragrance of this garden hits you first. The soft, spicy scent of lavender and no wonder when you see how tightly packed the lavender plants are in the planting. There’s a sunken seating area with shabby chic chairs and an upturned crate for a table. Steps lead up to a shelter, roofed with rusted corrugated iron and sheltering a large copper still and crates of picked lavender bunches. It’s a romantic mix of fragrance, soft colours and rustic accessories.

4 Final5: Retreat Garden (HC690)

Final5: Retreat Garden
A simple urban garden retreat. Image: Jean Vernon

Urban chic sums up this summer garden. It’s the perfect garden retreat for an urban space, complete with simple but stylish steel pagoda fitted with a retractable sail-like shade. Steel louvered panels create a modern backdrop. A graveled border is planted with plants bearing flowers in fresh and contrasting hues of blue and yellow, achilleas, caryopteris, perovskia and verbascum all add depth and texture to the planting.

5 The Drought Garden (HC655)

The Drought Garden
The Drought Garden is inspired by Beth Chatto’s Gravel Garden and the summer heatwave of 1976

It’s forty years since the heat wave summer of 1976 and this City Garden, inspired by Beth Chatto’s Gravel Garden in Essex displays plants that once established will cope with longer, hotter summers, if we ever see them again. It’s a sunny city refuge complete with seats to wile away the summer. Two small bridges cross a dried riverbed. I love the clumps of blue eryngiums and the simple use of colour, just greens and blue with a hint of silver.

Jean Vernon

About Jean Vernon

Jean Vernon is a slightly quirky, bee friendly, alternative gardener. She doesn’t follow the rules and likes to push the boundaries a bit just to see what happens. She has a fascination for odd plants, especially edibles and a keen interest in growing for pollinators especially bees. She’s rather obsessed with the little buzzers. Telegraph Gardening Correspondent, mostly testing and trialing products and Editor-In-Chief for Richard Jackson’s Garden.
@TheGreenJeanie
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