• Caroline Crawford

Thoughts on Hampton Court Flower Show

The great thing about Hampton Court Flower Show for me, apart from the gardens, is the relaxed atmosphere, the space and the ability to go along at the last minute as work allows. So, despite the heat I popped along on Saturday afternoon. While there were some worthy themes to the gardens, I suspect what most people come away with are some ideas about summer planting and a few choice design ideas for their own gardens (plus a few plant purchases!).

As a designer I tend to focus on design details; how does the hard landscaping combine with the planting, are there any exciting new materials, furniture and styles of planting, and so on. So to that end - here are some of my favourite highlights.

The Pete Oudolf borders filled with grasses and summer perennials were a joy to wander though. Not many people can replicate them on this scale but there are many, many planting combinations to be inspired by and take home. Plants included: Stipa babata, Echinacea pallida, Centaura Purple Heart, Eringium alpinum and allium Millenium

When designing garden I’m always looking at how to integrate and frame seating and dining areas within the space. I particularly liked the use of tiles in this seating area. It adds a quirky charm, drawing you into the seating area and contrasting beautifully with the rustic elements of the furniture and decked walkway.

In a different style altogether, the ‘Landform Bar Garden’ presented a great urban garden with bar area defined by a steel pergola, a comfy seating area and cool, shady planting with a restrained and effective colour palette - this had great layout and very useable spaces.

COR-TEN steel was as popular as ever and took many forms - edging for borders and ponds, water features, back-drops and panels, and pure sculpture. Used well, it compliments the planting and adds a permanent point of interest in the garden.

And finally for sheer understated, naturalistic brilliance I have to mention the Countryfile 30th Anniversary Garden - it’s aim to connect visitors - beautifully executed, deceptively simple and I think, a real triumph.

#Planting #GardenDesign #HamptonCourt #PeteOudolf #Grasses #Perennials #Plantingdesign #RHSFlowerShows

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