Highlights from the Hampton Court Flower Show15th July 2009 • Hampton Court Flower Show • Stephanie Donaldson
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.