As ever, Jekka McVicar’s display showed herbs at their very best – and all organic too from www.jekkasherbfarm.com, while in the marquee Foxgrove Plants www.foxgroveplants.co.uk had a luscious display of diascias, penstemons and pennisetum.
Luscious display of diascias, penstemons and pennisetum | Jekka McVicar’s Herbs
Two plants in particular caught my eye at Hampton Court, a South African grass-like plant with intriguing cream flowers blotched with brown called Dietes bicolour. Apparently it does well in a sunny spot so it should do well in my garden. The other plant was on Warmenhoven’s stand where there was a fine display of alliums amongst which was this flower head that attracted this very busy bee – and me.
I was told that it is a Nectaroscordium meliofilum but I have been able to find no trace of it on their website www.warmenhoven.co.uk or anywhere else on the internet. I will report back if I manage to find out where to buy this lovely bulb.
I’m off to Wales in the morning for relaxation and garden visiting and will be back blogging from my own garden on my return.
Other things that caught my eye? Well I had planned to buy an old dolly tub to use as a water container in my greenhouse, but prices have soared (apparently the Dutch are buying them all to make tables). When I saw a galvanised dustbin being used as a waterbutt in Sadolin’s Nature to Nurture garden I realised this was the economical solution.
Galvanised Dustbinused as a Waterbutt
Hardware store here I come (and the lid will keep the mosquitoes at bay). This garden also had some of the prettiest cottage garden style planting courtesy of Philippa Pearson who can offer a postal design service.
Prettiest Planting by Philippa Pearson
The other side of the Long Water, the gold medal for Best Small Garden was awarded to ‘Pepa’s Karst Garden’ – the recreation of the entrance and courtyard of a typical Slovenian farmhouse.
The Gold Medal for Best Small Garden
So often this sort of thing is a pastiche, but here it had real authenticity. A surrounding drystone wall was studded with Sempervivums growing in the crevices and a wonderful ancient carved well-head was the centrepiece of the courtyard. Limestone was a major feature of the garden, as it is of Karst region of Slovenia, where spectacular populations of wild flowers thrive in the rocky environment.
Nearby a contemporary garden contained a highly covetable and very attractive outdoor kitchen with a woodburning oven.
Outdoor Kitchen and Oven
It had substance as well as style – so much more attractive than the ubiquitous chimenea – and not necessarily expensive to build. Raised beds held salads and herbs as well as colourful flowers. Lots of inspiration to take home.
Similarly, the Life Cycle Garden had some great ideas – the loosely stacked log wall would be perfect for the end of a garden as an inexpensive disguise for a boring fence and it would also make an excellent wildlife habitat. The nearby Coppice Garden showed how a small shady area could be given structure and style with a curving drystone wall and woven hazel fencing.
The Lifestyle and Coppice Garden
What is it about the RHS shows that attracts extreme weather? Over the years I’ve been drenched, frozen and sunburnt with monotonous regularity. It seems the weather gods do not smile on these events. Yesterday dodging the showers was the order of the day, but, as luck would have it, I was under cover whenever there were serious downpours, so, despite the weather gremlins, I managed to see just about everything there was on offer.
As with Chelsea, the recession has taken its toll with show gardens a bit thin on the ground, and – aside from the Conceptual Gardens – cutting-edge design was pretty well non-existent. Instead, the best gardens were all about ‘grow-your-own’ or nostalgia, or sometimes both. A beautifully realised allotment garden ‘The Growing Tastes Allotment Garden’ won a gold medal as the Best Show Garden. I must confess I suffered a serious bout of allotment envy – the flatness (ours is on a hill), the fertility (we are still working on that one), the lack of badgers (they’ve broken down the fence, trashed the peas and scoffed all our parsnips). I just had to remind myself that the show garden was fantasy while mine is the real deal.
Best Show Garden - Hampton Flower Show 2009