RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show– where perennial memories are made…

The life of a Lewes Landscaper…So this week Simon nearly melted in the heat while building a beautiful Lewes Courtyard garden.

The life of his other half…So this week (guiltily but all in the name of research!) I delighted in the quintessentially English experience of visiting the lovely RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show (on now until 5th July). This is a tradition which has now firmly been carved by my mum and I and one which I really cherish.

Allium sphaerocephalon

Every year she buys me a plant. 2014’s plant was Leontopodium alpinum (edelweiss), as I had never seen it before and got slightly over excited when I spied it in the floral marquee.  In my head it had a daisy like form, but it was totally different to what I had imagined with a white felt like foliage, small but strong. It sits proud in one our raised beds -a perennial memory of our day together. This year, she treated me to a huge batch of Allium sphaerocephalon (round-headed garlic) which will be duly delivered in September. I have their planting place already planned and know that next summer when they start to bloom, it will be her that I think of.

The Macmillan Legacy GardenMacmillan Legacy Garden plantingIt was a show with some great show gardens. Our highlight amongst many, was The Macmillan Legacy Garden, designed by Ann-Marie Powell Gardens.  The planting was beautiful and did create a real sense of calmness with a very wonderful palette of colours. I particularly loved the mass planting of Geum ‘Totally Tangerine’ and Astrantia  ‘Star of Beauty’. The Verbascum ‘Firedance’ was also very striking. The fern pod was beautiful, particularly with the birch growing through.

African Vision Malawi GardenThe SMART vision gardenSynaesthesia GardenThis year’s conceptual gardens had the theme of ‘sensations’ where designers were asked to create immersive and interactive installations. From a design perspective many chose to invite the ‘audience’ in, breaking down the barrier of the show garden’s fourth ‘wall’ as it were. So the African Vision: Malawi Garden, invited us to peep through metal peep holes. The SMART vision Garden, invited us to peep through metal slots. The DialAFlight Synaesthesia Garden invited us to walk through a white canvas dome.

Audience for synaesthesia gardenSMART vision audienceThe message that the designers of these gardens were aiming to communicate were, of course all very different. What interested me most was how the audience responded, they were delighted by the invitation of interactivity through the design, at being ‘participant’ in the experience. I wonder if this trend will develop further.

My background is in contemporary arts and I was very excited to see that Track, an ‘environmental work and moveable participatory installation’ by Graeme Miller is happening this weekend 3-4 July. It is part of the Winchester Hat Fair. Take a look at the film of the work. A very different perspective in audience participation – fully immersive and interactive. If you get the chance I would highly recommend that you check this out. One day I would love the chance to be viewer and particpant of this piece…to lie back and watch the world go by.

X Sophs



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