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July 2012

Hampton Court Palace Flower show 2012 - The show gardens, - my view

So even though it was raining and dull today, - I managed to get round all the show gardens. As a border designer, i'm looking for inspiration in planting combinations, - new plants that I havn't used before, and old favourites used in new ways, or with new props. The Hampton Court show usually means a huge blaze of colour, and some of that was missing today because of the appalling weather conditions of the last few weeks, but I found plenty to look at.

The Summer gardens, small garden category was where I started this morning. - these were my favourites

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I spotted the pink and purple teenage characters before I got into the show , the garden they were lounging in is called Social Deckworking, and is encouraging youngsters to get outside to socialise rather than shutting themsilves in their rooms. The grasses, phormiums, Salvias and Achilleas were a great mixture, But my favourite from this category, and the one that got the gold was.

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There's a white Trifollium which I spotted Tim from the Garden Network leaving with. Not one i've used before, so one to put on my list for next time a client has the right conditions.

My next port of call was the Large Show gardens. - I was so unimpressed with them this year, that I didn't even realise there were 2 categories, - Show gardens and World of Gardens.

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I liked the Horn player on the Swiss garden, - but the plants reminded me of the Chelsea rock bank in the 90's. The Gold winning Jordan garden did nothing for me, - and the bridge above although nicely planted didn't really make sense (one of those ones you have to watch the interview on TV, then you go Oh Yeah, - I hope!) The Badger beer garden had some lovely Beer bottle sculptures, but the wild flowers were done better last year by Copella.

The Concept gardens were my next stop. - I have to admit, usually i'm not a fan, but this year, there were great plant combinations everywhere.

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Simon Websters Do not adjust your set, had wildflowers in the centre, and silver leaved plants that worked really well with the dark paving, especially after the rain. The Free Fall grass combination was lovely and there was great movement as the wind was blowing. - I wasn't sure about the bubbling tubes (especially after comments about dead goldfish, - thanks Sara!) The best planting by far was on the Light at the end of the tunnel by Matthew Childs. - Lots of my favourite simple plants, combined in a perfect way to give a soothing effect.

My favourite gardens of the whole show were the Low cost High impact gardens. Personally, I don't think between £7000 and £13000 is particularly low cost, - it's the kind of budget most of my clients are working too, and I get the planting part of that after the hard landscaping is done, but I'm really happy to see that the RHS is realising that the show gardens have to relate to every day.

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This was Our First Home, Our First Garden, - created on a £7000 budget by Landform Consultants, - and I think the semi sunken area, the chimnea cooling space, and the planting are all lovely.

I'm lucky enough to be going back again tomorrow, - so it's Floral Marquee and Roses time on Tuesday


In Support of Perennial - Mad or....

Perennial are a Charity dedicated to providing Horticulturists current and retired with help, advice and support in times of need

I hope i've never desparate for their services, but it's a charity that's close to my heart, so i'm very pleased that I was invited to Hampton Court today to do my little bit to promote a project they launched today.

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This is an Etesia Lawnmower, - a bigger one than i've ever used, but a stalwart of the Landscaping contract industry.

And this is Phil Voice (with a supportive Rachel de Thame) who is going to ride said lawnmower from Bergerac in France, all the way up to John o Groats in Scotland

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Yes, - He probably is Mad, - (and yes that was Rachel's first comment about it) most of us only want to spend an hour or so on a lawnmower each week, he'll be on it all day for 10-15 days. - but it's all in a good cause. If you'd like to support Phil and Perennial, - hop on over to Just Giving , or Tweet about it #Mowerthon so that when Phil gets under way at the beginning of October, he's as near as possible to his target donation.