Wow what a spectacular show. This year’s RHS Hampton Court Flower Show is awash with fabulous flowers, perfect plants and simply glorious gardens.
Every garden show has its highlights but for Hampton Court 2022 it was the gardens that made a real statement.
With several RHS Feature Gardens to weave the whole show together, the Show Gardens were the icing on the cake. Each one is a reflection of the story behind the design. Here are five of our favourites from this year’s show.
Over The Wall Garden 340*
What an incredible space. It’s a garden within a huge circular blue wall that envelops and holds not just the garden and its plants but the visitor too. It’s an uplifting space highlighting the work of the Over The Wall charity that encourages children to reach beyond the boundaries of their illness and discover a world of possibilities. It’s like a little world of wonder as you walk into this space. The colours embrace you and the orange solar globe draws you through the garden. But it’s the divine planting that lifts this garden into the upper realms of wonder. The dancing fairyesque heads of Echinacea pallida are a visual treat. It’s a see through effect that is so rich it’s like a woven wall hanging, with colours and textures to match. Filled with salvia, fennel, yarrow, kniphofia in bright but subtle hues that zing against the blue wall. Simply stunning.
Designed by Matthew Child’s Design
Macmillan Legacy Garden: Gift the Future 341
Like many show gardens these days, this garden has a lot of hidden messages. The main one is the importance of legacies to charities like the Macmillan Cancer Support Charity. The garden includes a self-fulfilling water feature representing the importance to regular funding for ongoing research. The whole garden embraces the concept of ‘gift the future’ highlighting the power of actions today that fuel a brighter tomorrow. It’s a formal design with a symmetric layout and a central water rill all linked together and complemented with generous planting. There’s a fresh woodland feel of greens and white and then a mix of summer perennials. I love the colour scheme, its soft and comforting, with a few highlights.
Designed by Sean A. Pritchard.
I found this garden quite mesmerizing. It’s dramatic and contrasting and makes you stop and think. Which is rather apt as it is a representation of someone living with Alzheimer’s. The dark ‘yarn-bombed’ sculpture reminds me of a walnut shell with its reinforced structure still present as the thinner sides fade away. But the garden designer describes the knitted patches as brain cells, each made by a volunteer that knows someone with this debilitating disease. It creates a claustrophobic effect that is deliberate. The whole garden reflects the changing dynamics in a family or a friendship group when someone is diagnosed with dementia. Each diagnosis has huge implications for every generation involved. The planting is serene and calm and rich with native meadow species, seasoned with giant scabious and thistles that add height and splashes of colour to the effect.
Designed by Ryan McMahon
What Does Not Burn 424*
This is a statement garden. One of two gardens at this year’s show addressing contemporary issues using garden design to make a point. And to be honest it brings you to a total standstill. It’s powerful, though provoking and evocative. The early morning sky on Press Day made the whole effect even more dramatic. It’s a snapshot of the Ukrainian landscape and culture. The silhouette of a burnt cottage is draped with an embroidered cloth, a symbol of life and identity. It was such a poignant sight at dawn. A beacon amidst the wonder of the show gardens, it draws you magnetically to its space so you can look in detail at the under planting of barley and wildflowers. A moving reminder of the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine and its food shortages and the effect on food supplies, especially grain. Food for thought doesn’t come close.
But what you can’t see is the hidden Ukrainian TryZub Sculpture inside the cottage; a symbol of rebirth and of hope.
Designed by Victoria Manoylo, Carrie Preston studiotoop.com.
Feature Garden Vitamin G 434*
Gardening is good for us. Gardeners know this. We envelop ourselves in nature without knowing that nature bathing or Vitamin G was a ‘thing’. It’s all about making the most of your outdoor space to improve your quality of life, sustain your health, grow your own food and soothe your mental stress. The Vitamin G garden is a feature garden at Hampton Court, which means that it isn’t officially judged. It’s a showcase installation to give you ideas aplenty about what could be achieved in a community space. Of course the G refers to garden and gardening and the association with vitamins suggests that it’s an essential nutrient for our well-being. I quite like the phrase and this garden does promote and present, just about everything that is good about gardening. It features a series of interconnecting capsules – your daily dose. Each capsule envelops an idea of something restorative, so there’s a yoga platform next to a plunge pool for gentle healing or wild swimming. A dining table with scented planting represents social interaction with friends and family, while the fragrant plants help stimulate and soothe the mind. It’s packed full of ideas and rich planting. Huge planters brim over with foliage and flowers, while the borders are soft, loose and enticing.
Designed by Alan Williams with Jo Whiley
- The numbers denote the stand placement within the RHS Hampton Court Showground.