Wednesday, 17 July 2013

It's Hot in the Garden

  The weather has finally turned for the better and we're in for a warm spell. Hurrah! So, following my trip to the Hampton Court flower show I thought I'd post a selection pictures of what's 'hot' in the garden at the moment - and the planting schemes designed for this year's show certainly were.

  There were several different categories of show garden: conceptual gardens; show gardens; low cost - high impact gardens; and summer gardens. Here are just a few....

  Conceptual Gardens - designed to "engage, to provoke, to stimulate debate and to inspire":

'Desolation to Regeneration' designed by Catherine MacDonald
'Desolation to Regeneration' designed by Catherine MacDonald
  The designer used colour and sculpture to depict the journey from wildfire deforestation to regeneration.

'Tip of the Iceberg' designed by John Esling & Caroline Tait
'Tip of the Iceberg' designed by John Esling & Caroline Tait
  A graphic illustration of the mountain of fridges thrown away each year, here "given a new lease of life as building blocks and planters."

  Show Gardens:
'The Ecover Garden' designed by Matthew Childs
'The Ecover Garden' designed by Matthew Childs
  The Best in Show was awarded to this garden and rightly so for Matthew's superb planting combinations, with the blues representing the movement and colour of water. I loved the tactile stepping stones too.

'Vestra Wealth's Jardin du Gourmet' designed by Paul Martin
  This calm garden featured a sunken dining terrace, a fully functioning outdoor kitchen and an attractive array of edible planting.

'The McCarthy & Stone Garden' designed by Chris Beardshaw

  Attractive planting design solutions, including beech hedges and a wildflower meadow were central to this garden, with contrasting textures and foliage forms.

  Low Cost, High Impact Gardens - designed by members of the Association of Professional Landscapers these gardens gave the public an idea of the what could be achieved with a modest fixed budget of £7,000, £13,000 or £15,000:

'In at the Deep End' designed by Peter Cowell & Monty Richardson
  This 'floating' patio was created within a budget of £7,000 among bog-style planting borders, designed to offer solutions where drainage can be a problem.

'Bugs in Boots' designed by Caspian Robertson
  The budget for this ecological garden was £13,000. It was designed to flood during heavy rainfall with the water permeating slowly into the soil rather than running off elsewhere. I thought the metalwork sculptures here, forming an informal fence, were great.

'Mid Century Modern' designed by Adele Ford & Susan Willmott
  This garden was created with a budget of £15,000 and included retro spherical hanging seats. In fact, when I was studying at the English Gardening School I included very similar seats in a bespoke pergola design for one of my own projects!

'A Room with A View' designed by Arun Landscapes
  Built with a budget of £15,000, I thought that this garden felt quite desolate because of the muted brown, blue and green tones, however I really liked the reclaimed timber stepping stones.

Summer Gardens:

'The Garden Pad', designed by Dan Bowyer

  This was one of my favourite designs: a simple, sunken garden, enclosed by attractive planting. 

'The Hot Stuff Garden' designed by Liz Rentzsch, Victoria Truman & Marcus Foster

  Here a cobbled path led to a simple circular terrace surrounded by five Sorbus aria forming a living pergola. The planting was airy, colourful and delightfully summery. 

Victoria Truman & Heather Martin
  NB. I must admit to a little bias here, having trained alongside Liz, Victoria, Marcus and Andrew (of APS Landscapes, who was also involved in building the garden) at the English Gardening School. Here's a picture of me with Victoria (left) celebrating their fantastic Silver medal.

'Layers & Links' designed by Raine Clarke-Wills

  Another sunken garden, incorporating clipped box and integrated seating into the formal design.

'A Cool Garden' designed by Ruth Marshall
  I thought these wiggly rills were just wonderful.

'Four Corners' designed by Peter Reader
  This garden featured another colourful selection of summer flowers.

'Willow Pattern' designed by Sue Thomas
  Inspiration for this garden was taken from the blue & white Willow Pattern plates, with the planting scheme and landscaping reflecting a traditional Chinese story. 

  Of course, unlike the Chelsea flower show, there were plenty of plants to buy at the show, with the nurseries having filled wonderful containers to show off their magnificent plants. Naturally I couldn't resist and came home on the train inspired to create a hot border before next year's show comes around.
Ixia 'Hogarth', Achillea 'Walther Funcke' & Helenium 'Moerheim Beauty'
Hampton Court, Tuesday, 9th July 2013

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