Gardeners are creative and generous with their advice, ideas and inspiration. And garden shows are amazing places to spark ideas, share insights and highlight interesting concepts. At this year’s RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show there were plenty of ideas to take home from every feature garden, show garden and small garden. Here are a few that caught our eye.
Green roofs are nothing new. But this one on the Good Earth Grow House & Compost Kitchen plot within the RHS Allotments really made me stop and stare. A little playhouse, probably designed for little ones with an interest in gardening, was roofed with plant trays just full of fresh and vibrant seedlings. Salad crops for cut and come again servings or micro-greens. They were tightly arranged on the playhouse roof using the solar rays to fuel their photosynthesis, but also insulating the space below from the summer heat. It looked like these were old polystyrene trays, though they could have been some eco-material recycled for sustainability. Nevertheless it was a cute, clever idea. Making more growing space in a small area, insulating the building below not just from heat but also from cold and generating a generous crop of ingredients.
Making use of different materials in our gardens is all part of the interconnectedness of gardening. But I wasn’t expecting to see a garden gate in a flower pattern, made up of old horseshoes. It was a feature within The Tram Driver’s Retreat (plot 53) at RHS Hampton Court Flower Show. It’s striking yellow paint in a sunflower effect within a timber frame. You might need someone with welding skills to make something similar, but it could allow you to see the potential in all sorts of other tools and metal items. Food for thought.
Sole Survivor Gardening
Imagine if you were shipwrecked somewhere and had to create a garden using whatever you could find. It’s could be a fun project with the kids, but instead of beachcombing you use whatever is to hand in your home and garden. Making new uses for materials that might otherwise be thrown away. It’s a mindset that we could all learn a little bit from. So I loved this creation by Kath & Yaz who make natural homegrown remedies and grow unusual plants and vegetables. They garden with an understanding of biodiversity and they work with nature. But their plot is the snapshot of a sole survivor living off the land after the earth has been abandoned. It’s a growing space augmented by salvage and I love the way it has been used to make a growhouse from plastic bottles and more.
Making divisions in our gardens is important for so many reasons. It can mark a boundary, divide a space or even create some privacy. You can use all sorts of materials and methods, from fence panels and trellis, to fedges, hedges and more. In the RHS Vitamin G Garden, posts have been cleverly used to partition the space. You could recreate this effect with fence posts, driftwood, stakes or other materials and creatively break up a larger space, or form a barrier to the garden beyond. It’s a clever technique that could be replicated in gardens large and small, even as an alternative boundary divider. Paint them with suitable garden shades and add another feature easily to your plot.
I think it was the yarn bombing that drew me to this garden. All sorts of great garden creatures recreated in wool. There was even a bee! The Walton Charity Community Allotment show garden glowed with its creativity. Turns out the yarn bomb creatures were part of a lock down project that generated joy with its creators and the community. I especially loved the snails.
But there was another colourful, simple and creative element to this garden. A brick edge made from decorative bricks, each one hand painted with a name, a design and a pattern. They were funky, friendly and fun. Used together as a bed edge it personified the community spirit that built this garden and is something that you could recreate in a family garden or a school garden.