I was rather bowled over by this Sempervivum dog - it gets my prize for ingenious use of plants
I’m not a great fan of sculpture in the garden (unless it’s very old and beautiful or a Henry Moore) but both of these made me smile – the sempervivum dog was accompanied by some equally appealing deer and the ‘nuts and bolts’ horse was staggeringly well made with its marvellous bicycle chain mane. I think I would have liked it even better if it hadn’t been so shiny.
Sculpted out of discarded machine parts in Africa - not for y garden but brilliantly executed
It was hard to believe that this pond isn't a permanent fixture - it even had a dragonfly flitting around
WWF garden evoked a chalk stream
I'm a great fan of the use of hoggin (compressed clay and gravel) to create paths. Here it curves round a log-filled rill
One of the strongest themes at the show was of gardens that looked more like fragments of countryside, from the wildlife pond in the RHS Edible Garden to the orchard in the Copella Garden which also featured an (in my opinion) underused material – hoggin. Its soft tones and versatility mean it can be used in a free-form manner like it has been here.
A very real looking rough track wending in front of the turf-roofed cottage
Copella's garden was fringed by an orchard
A white cliff and seaside planting in one of the Poet's gardens
The Silk Tree (Albizia julibrissin) is a refined relative of the mimosa
There was a world of plant temptations at the show, most of which I managed to resist on the basis of the fact that my garden is pretty well full to overflowing and I need to be editing out rather than adding at the moment. However, seeing the Silk Tree in the Palaeontologist’s Garden reminded me what a lovely airy small tree it is and it is now top of my list to go in a bed that is due to be trashed by builders and will need replanting. The one plant I did carry home was a Francoa – I saw this recently in a friend’s garden where it puts up with being tucked beneath a magnolia where the soil can be very dry. It keeps its foliage overwinter and then produces soft pink flower spikes in early summer. You can buy Francoa at the show, online or by visiting Culm View Nursery.
Francoa is a new favourite
The ravishing (and tender) Silk Hibiscus from Western Australia
I’m gradually becoming more disciplined about resisting the temptation to buy plants that require conditions that I can’t supply, but this didn’t stop me admiring the luminous beauty of the Silk Hibiscus and the magnificent Giant Honeysuckle on the Old Walled Garden stand. Their website is in development at the moment but you can request a brochure by telephone on 01789 720788.
- The Giant Burmese Honeysuckle lives up to its name – each flower is about 15cm long
The Wantsum from Court & Hunt was my personal 'Best in Show' - just the place to wait for a rendezvous with Mr Darcy!
Shepherd’s Hut makers, Court & Hunt have decided to branch out from the practicality of the hut and also make this delicious and totally covetable summerhouse on wheels. I hung it around for ages, wishing I had the life, the garden (and the money) that would accommodate it, but in the end I made do with a postcard. Can’t you just see it in the evening light with candles flickering in the sconces as Elizabeth Bennet waits a rendezvous with Mr Darcy?
The windows look old but are actually handmade by the designer