Hampton Court Palace Flower Show (Part 4)

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Posted by @NEILMUIR1 on
The large and small Show Gardens at Hampton Court were next on my agenda. The ancient, majestic trees in the distance beckoned me towards them. This most beautiful place offered so many things to see, let's take a look at them.

 Looking at the Show Gardens is always interesting; yet sometimes it confuses both visitors and me. This one, called 'Diamonds and Rust', baffled a lot of people, including myself. The pipes in the middle blew smoke/steam at regular intervals, so it did attract a lot of attention. It was a conceptual garden that was trying to show contrasts of the relative time scales of geological time, ancient human history, and our industrial age. Personally I prefer the very old cedars in the background.


The next Show Garden was for a worthy cause, and intended to highlight the problem of overactive bladder (OAB), which affects over five million adults in the UK. The way the maze was done was clever; the planting was superb, but I will leave the colour of the walls to your own judgement.

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I loved this when I first saw it, as it was craftsmanship and horticultural skills both beautifully combined. It was called the 'Stockman's Retreat', and it was to me most graceful and indeed peaceful. Based mostly on woodland and perennials, it was perfectly done. It also won the 'Peoples Choice' award for the show as well as a Silver Gilt Medal.

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The Copella Plant and Protect Garden was outstanding! It is meant to show the life and death cycle in an apple orchard, and was planted with many apple trees. But more importantly, due to the loss of so many of our apple orchards, there is a need for continued replanting. The clever use of many plants to attract pollinating insects was indeed lovely to see.

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Everyone has heard of the W.W.F., the World Wildlife Fund. It was their 50th Anniversary, and to celebrate, here is their Show Garden. Of course it had to have their panda emblem in it! Their emphasis concerned the need to protect our chalk streams that are so important to the environment.

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Fountains always attract people; the gentle sound and nature of them are a true delight. There were some fountains at the Chelsea Flower Show, but with Hampton Court having more space, there were more of them here. I fell in love with some of them, for they are enchanting.

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I fully support this Show Garden; it was done for people with an incurable disease who were in a hospice. I particularly liked the garden room, and the mixture of both flowering and edible plants.

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'The Eye of the Internet Maze' was the name of this creation. If only the designer had looked at the huge maze at Hampton court, then he/she may have understood what a maze really is. Instead, you get this jumble of thorny plants, with a centerpiece in the middle. It was supposed to point out the trouble elderly people have going through the thorny jungle of the internet to get to the knowledge in the centre of it. The judges gave it a Bronze Medal.

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I did like this Show Garden done by Vestra Wealth. It was called the Gray's Garden, inspired by Elizabeth Gray's 1920 modernist style of furniture design. Some of her furniture was on display in the white pavilion. I loved the Agapanthus, and the scented Roses. It won a Gold Medal for the work involved, and most deservedly so.

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Water features are fascinating and magical things. The visitors at the show love to see them, and indeed to buy them. They are a wonderful addition to most gardens, not only as ornaments, but more importantly they do attract wildlife as well.

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I have seen the Black Forge's Art craftmanship at many shows and it is spectacular; it was lovely to see them here. There was a wonderful collection of weather vanes on view. I adore garden clocks and have some in my garden. They are so useful for the temperature, humidity and of course the time.

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A lot of people love garden rooms and there were plenty on sale here. I liked these and I got to take a picture inside one of them.

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The one on the left is more suitable for our climate. It has washable seats and fixtures inside it. Those on the right may look a bit out of place in some gardens.

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Here are the two smaller bubble rooms with their own garden, which is quite pleasant. The next one is very stately, but I cannot imagine it lasting over the gales of a UK winter.

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I am not quite sure what the next one is for, so I will leave that to your imaginations. I love the one on the right, as it is a very quaint and practical tearoom for the garden; how perfectly lovely.

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People like troughs. Some like old and unusual ones. Some collect the massive horse troughs that were filled with water for the animals to drink; they used to be everywhere. There were some lovely ones here, as you will see. The one on the left I liked, the one on the right I wanted to take home with me.

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But to me the star of troughs was this one; it was a showstopper. Unfortunately so was the price!


Now ponds and their owners are often forgotten at shows, but not here. This had everyone smiling despite the rain we had suffered. This system was mesmerizing and fits into your pond or around it, and then it spouts. After I adjusted my camera to hopefully the right settings, this is what happened. It happens at intervals and is not a constant flow.

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A Japanese 'Virtual Reality Garden' was next on the list for me to see. The Japanese maples were nice and the trimmed box balls lovely, plus the rocks, but what it was supposed to show was lost on me. Yes, it did have a red bubble outdoor room where you could socialize and go on the Internet; maybe the plants and box balls were to match the red bubble? The next garden was superb as it was so simple all just set in circles, and yet to me very sublime in its beauty. The judges liked it; however, a lot of the visitors just thought it was bland, and had no colour. To me the use of these lovely birches or Betula albosinensis with white foxgloves was very well done.

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Now for some small gardens that I like so much. This one caught my eye just because it was so tranquil and brilliantly done. It was called 'Cultivating a Palaeontologist' and is supposed to resemble things from the prehistoric era into the near past and the future. I just dreamed of sitting there on a summer's night having a cooling drink, and listening to the waterfall; quite enchanting.

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The next small garden was called 'Cinema Paradiso' and apart from the silver TV screens and Internet devices in the wall, it was very nice. They got a lot of plants into a very small area.  The benefit was that so many plants were scented and the heavenly different perfumes wafting around were gorgeous.

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 This was a very common scene in many small UK gardens during the war: a simple shed and a small vegetable patch for feeding the family, with a few flowers just to cheer things up. This was typical to show what had to be done, as food was so scarce due to rationing. It was well built by the Southend Youth Offenders Service. 'Wild In The City' was built as more urban dwellers become unaware of the countryside, and the need for biodiversity and wildlife. Using materials to attract wildlife, it was designed as a place to chill out and relax from the stress of hectic lifestyles. Underneath the round wooden floor is actually a pond. I must say I liked this a lot.

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The judges were not too keen on this one and neither were the visitors, yet I loved it. It was called 'A Precious Warning' and is based on the story of Easter Island. On Easter Island the whole ecosystem collapsed due to over exploitation of its resources, which is exactly what we are doing to the planet now. The lush tropical bits are to show what the other Islands have learnt about sustainability. Well done Plumpton College students, for reminding a few people what happened there.  Another great garden was called 'The Potential Feast' and reminded me of Tuscany where everyone dines al fresco. It was full of herbs and vegetables in a limited space using vertical planting.

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Then there was the 'The Bright Idea' or was it a bright idea? It was a 20-meter tube of LED lights that flash to represent a human brainwave! The grass underneath is supposed to be brain matter and the bedding plants represent a bright idea! The judges liked it, but the visitors and I did not. In the background is another conceptual garden called 'Excuse me while I kiss the sky' with pot plants hanging upside down. I did not even bother to get a full picture of it!


Garden ornaments are very popular, so here are some for you all to see and wonder about.

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A bit of advice about footwear at Hampton court. On the left you can see sensible rubber Wellington boots, although there is one man in open toed sandals. On the right the lady is wearing black heels, which sink very easily, and are not a wise choice. Even if it is dry there are a lot of bridges to cross and a lot of walking to do.

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Here are some of my memories of the show; such a spectacular and historic place! The first one shows looking up the long water and towards the Palace; then one bit of the showground as it is on both banks of the long water.

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I have been to Hampton court many times, but when you see sights like this and the Tudor gardens, it just draws you back there; it is like a magnet.

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Finally after a long walk to the Palace Garden gate to go home, you say goodbye to this scene; now just how beautiful is this?


Did I enjoy Hampton Court, well the answer is even if there is not a flower show, everyone enjoys Hampton Court, for it has a presence about it that is both beautiful and haunting at the same time. The maze everyone gets lost in, the vinery is something to behold, and the Tudor gardens are a part of our long history. The flower show is the biggest in the world, and is impressive in its own right. I think that all credit should go to the RHS for staging such an event as this, and to the young men and women RHS porters (students) in their green uniforms. To push wheelbarrows of plants that people bought across all that mud to the car parks, which are a long way away, is a credit to them. It was a long day with a lot of walking and sliding in the atrocious conditions, so I wish to thank everyone who has joined me on my muddy trek.



Part 1.

Part 2.

Part 3.



Comments and Discussion
Thread Title Last Reply Replies
Beautiful by kareoke Sep 11, 2011 10:08 AM 5
Your Muddy Trek by Petalpants Sep 10, 2011 8:06 PM 7
Favorite gardens by ge1836 Sep 8, 2011 6:51 AM 6
Thank you! by ctcarol Sep 7, 2011 7:35 PM 1
Jealous by marti Sep 7, 2011 6:53 PM 14
A piece of heaven. by Happy_1 Sep 7, 2011 12:12 PM 4
So Beautiful by Ridesredmule Sep 7, 2011 10:54 AM 5

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