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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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.