Some of these pictures were taken at long distance with a wide angle lens. Please enlarge them to see them at full size.
The rain persisted and at some points became worse, so I took solace in the Plant Heritage marquee. This amazing living library is part of our national plant collection. Here are some Dahlias from the collection.
Here you see lovely Hostas and on the right is Agapanthus, also from our national collection. It is strange being outside a Royal Palace looking at Hostas and knowing the Patron of the Hosta and Hemerocallis Society is Prince Charles. He has an amazing collection of Hostas at Highgrove, his home.
Now I can dart back into the floral marquee; the rain has eased a bit. In Part 1 we saw Aliums outside, here we see Aliums and Hippeastreum on a beautifully designed stand inside.
This is the Hardy's Cottage Garden Plants stand and what a sight to behold! I could spend a long time wandering around here.
There were a lot of plants crammed on this stand and many of them were for sale. It's no wonder the stand was so busy.
Alceas, or hollyhocks as they are commonly called, are wonderful. Seeing them in this display is a true delight. In the photo on the right you can see them paired with white Digitalis, or foxgloves, an awesome combination.
I love sea hollies. They grow so well in my garden and around this area. It's nice to see them coming back into popularity. Everywhere I went I could see people carrying bags that held an orange and rusty flower poking out of the top; I was intrigued. It turned out to be an Achillea; however one of the leaves managed to blank out some of its cultivar name when I took the picture.
This display was nicely done and looked good, but as anyone who grows Hydrangeas will know, we can't usually have pink and blue ones together. Although they are the same plant, different soils will determine the color. It will have blue blooms if it is an acid soil, and pink if it is a lime or chalky soil. In addition, the blue Hydrangea in the picture on the right has a Buddleia next to it. Buddleias hate acid soils; in fact they grow between bricks in the lime mortar in the UK.
It is always lovely to go to a show like this. As you turn away from one display, you might bump into an old friend. In this case it's a remarkable plant called Mandevilla. They are often grown in the UK as standards like Fuchsias and they are show stoppers! These are not standards, but see what you think of them.
There were a lot of Japanese maple stands, as there are at most shows I go to. Some of them were so spectacular, I was envious of the people who were carrying them out!
I admit to being in heaven with some of them; however I have enough already, so I do not need anymore.
I can see Strelitzia reginae, or the Bird of Paradise flower, from a long distance since we used to grow a lot of them. This was a fine example. It also led me on to the orchids that follow this beauty.
The beginning of this display held everyone in awe. How breathtaking are some of these orchids!
I like Cypripedium, or the Lady's slipper orchids; I was a bit lost amongst some of those on the South American stand. Although I do appreciate and admire them, I leave them to the orchid lovers out there.
This stand won an R.H.S. Gold Medal. It is easy to see why, considering the quality of the plants on show and for sale.
If you adore orchids, I think you could have spent a lot of money on this stand.
The next orchid stand had some interesting things on it; they were extremely pretty as well.
The side of this stand held plants for sale and they were quickly being sold.
It is a shame that the whole of this stand had poor labeling on the plants. It was hard to see with the naked eye, and difficult to get with a camera. On some plants the labels were put in awkward places.
Hopefully you can see what I mean with the picture on the left. The clearly printed label saying there are plants for sale is easily readable, whereas the orchid's label in front of it is not. I gave up with the picture on the right, fancy overhanging someone else's stand. It also points out the difference in standards between this show and Chelsea.
The South American display did have orchids, as well as some stunning and unusual plants. See for yourself how you could easily get lost here.
Here is a little more of the South American stand in all its beauty. This rather amusing and very informative exhibit called Desert to Jungle was superbly done. It had some of my favourite plants in it. On the left is Gunnera maniculata, a tree fern in the middle, followed by Musas, commonly known as bananas, on the right.
The scent in the air almost made one want to sleep; it was beautiful but intoxicating as well. Here is the culprit that I call a 'lavender cake'. Thousands of different lavenders are used in creating this show and lots of lavenders were for sale at a very cheap price.
There were a lot of carnivorous\insectivorous plant stands at the show and all had something special. On the left is a little stand with plants for sale and on the right is a R.H.S. Gold Medal with a rather large Venus flytrap, or Dionaea muscipula, in the centre.
One more look at this lovely stand and then we'll move on to the next one.
Here's another truly delightful sight, Nepenthes and Sarracenias together.
A lot of people mistook the plant on the left for a Cobra lily or Darlingtonia californica, which it is not; it is in fact a Sarracenia X formosa.
While enjoying these wondrous plants, you might wonder if you have space for more of them in your garden.
Here are two breathtaking Sarracenias; the one on the right being native to North America as a lot of Sarracenias are.
Now for an exquisite Drosera capensis or cape sundew; we do have Drosera in the UK as a native plant but it is a bit smaller than this. A majestic Pinguicula or butterwort is on the right. Again we also have native Pinguicula in the UK.
I am always scolded for forgetting the cactus; here are some of them, although there will be more later. Since I was young, Lithops, or stone plants, have always fascinated me. These totally unique plants have developed a way of looking like a stone so no grazing animal would think of eating them; here are some Lithops for you.
I am off for some refreshment now as the rain has stopped and the sun is out. No, I do not drink Pimm's or Champagne. It never ceases to amaze me how the British can eat fish & chips, pies or sausages whilst standing in the rain, as they were doing earlier. That, of course, will be followed by strawberries and cream, washed down with Champagne. If you are wet on the outside, you may as well be wet on the inside.
It is amazing to think that the Hampton Court Palace Flower Show started with 25 acres of show ground in 1990, with the promise of more if needed. Now it is colossal and is billed as the Biggest Flower Show in the world. It is still a long walk from the train station, over the River Thames and to the Palace garden gate. Then there is another enjoyable trek through the Palace gardens until you finally get to the entrance to the show. From there you have over 25 acres on each side of the long water to walk around, while viewing the sights.
There is a lot more yet to see! Please join me for Part 3.
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