Small is beautiful when it comes to show gardens at this years’ RHS Hampton Court Flower Show. There were lots of small gardens, installations and exhibits showing visitors inspired ways to plant up a small space. Flower shows are awash with great ideas and designs for more modest plots, showcasing great plants, neat landscaping ideas and lots of great garden accessories too. So if you’ve got a small balcony, a patio garden or just a little corner for your garden you can glean lots of ideas. This year there was a cluster of four gardens under the banner of ‘Get Started Gardens’. Designed with beginners in mind, these gardens illustrate affordable, achievable designs seasoned with lots of great ideas.
The Wooden Spoon Garden 371
I don’t think I ever expected to see a garden designed around wooden spoons, but then I didn’t know that Wooden Spoon was a leading Rugby charity funding life-changing projects around the UK. The garden itself is a low maintenance space designed for maximum use to encourage those afraid of gardening. It’s full of surprising features, not least the wooden spoon trellis fence and the neat bird feeding posts around the plot. The garden has a sunken terrace instead of a lawn, which offers privacy and a sense of seclusion. The borders are planted with easy to grow and pollinator friendly bistort, astrantias, heucheras and penstemons. There are lots of other wildlife friendly touches, like hedgehog access and a stack of hollow stems for cavity nesting insects.
Designed by Toni Bowater and Lucy Welsh (bowaterwelsh.co.uk)
Turfed Out 372
This is a fabulous garden. I love the fact that it doesn’t contain a lawn at all. Instead it incorporates a simple gravel garden and herbaceous plantings. Together they form a low maintenance, cost effective space ideal for the small gardens of a new build home and beginners. The plants have been chosen for their climate friendly needs, most are drought tolerant once established and require minimal additional watering. But it’s the richness of the planting that really stands out. It is stunningly beautiful, mixing soft blues and pinks and mauves with pops of magenta against a backdrop of soft silvery foliage.
Designed by Hamzah-Adam Desai (toneandmanner.co.uk).
I need to put a disclaimer here. I did help advise Sue Kent on the pollinator aspects of this garden. But she had already grasped the important aspects and this garden is a triumph in so many other ways. It’s designed for anyone that finds physical work a challenge and to promote and explore the diversity of ability. There are so many reasons why our own gardens are not the perfection we strive for, whether we are time challenged, or physically challenged in some way.
This garden offers so much more than ideas. The whole project was a total inspiration; it was crowd funded to raise the money to build it and designed by Sue Kent who gardens with an upper limb disability. She is a total inspiration, gardening with her small hands and her feet and her garden shows so many ways to make gardening easier for anyone that finds physical work a challenge. The garden is a low environment impact garden richly planted with daisies, a plant with a sunny disposition, a reflection of the garden’s creator. There are so many points of interest, but for me it is the success of the planting in particular to support pollinators. The borders were alive with insects. It’s a triumph from every angle.
Designed by Sue Kent
The Pig Hotels 48
This little plot captures the essence of The Pig Hotels (LINK thepighotel.com), where the kitchen and garden teams work hand in hand to create inspirational menus. It’s a celebration of seasonal produce from a British kitchen garden and could be easily recreated at home. I love that there was room for a café table and chairs; Perhaps a nod to the restaurant at the various locations of this brand. But also a reminder that our gardens support every aspect of our lives and our health. The tiny space is packed out with herbs, fruit, leaves and edible flowers that can be grown to enhance our diets and our health and our moods.
Grow the Universe 40
Allotments make important contributions to their neighbourhoods, especially when incorporated into a community. The Grow the Universe plot within the RHS Allotments at Hampton Court was brimming with ideas and inspiration. First it is built using recycled materials showing you what can be achieved sustainably and on a budget. But more than that it strengthens the message that allotments are a solution towards food poverty, improving mental and physical well being and sustainable living. These spaces should be widely available and protected.
All small green spaces have the potential to provide for a community in so many different ways and should be cultivated and not neglected. This plot showcases what can be achieved in a small space, on a budget and sustainably and it is very, very inspiring.