After a year's delay (our tickets had originally been for the July 2020 show) it was time for Hortus and parents to head down the M1 to Hampton Court for my first visit to the Garden Festival.  This week, I was going to write about my garden as usual and pop in Hampton Court as one of my Six, but there was just too much to include so it's getting a whole Six on Saturday to itself.

Just to let you know this is not a review of the show, just photos of the bits a really liked.  Spoiler alert - the crashed aeroplane wasn't one of them.

The clouds looked a little ominous, but in the end the rain stayed away.

1. Tom Stuart-Smith Iconic Horticultural Hero Garden

Didn't the RHS used to award people medals?  Well nowadays it appears they've gone a bit Marvel Universe and declared them to be Iconic Heroes.    Well Tom Stuart-Smith does seem to have managed to live up to his billing with this design, described as a planting rather than a garden.  It features drought tolerant plants that had managed to stand up to some torrential downpours the night before.

You get that photo twice because it looked so lovely.  

Plenty of Echinacea, Perovskia, Nepeta, Macleaya and Agastache wove through the beds.

There was just a little shot of orange from the Kniphofia at one end of the garden.  The full plant list is here.

Also additional hero points go to Tom for using Sunnyside Rural Trust to grow the perennial plants.  They provide training and work experience for people with learning disabilities and they have done a wonderful job.

2. Colour

In the show gardens there was a predominance of bluish purples, pale pinks and creams with silver.  This is Tom Stuart-Smith again, but I did joke that they must have all chosen their plants from the same trolley.

3. RHS Garden for a Green Future

The design of this garden is also aimed at growing plants for our changing climatic conditions.  They were chosen to tolerate summer drought and winter wet, with stone lined gullies which would take away excess rain.  Despite the drought tolerant brief, the garden has a lovely lush woodland feel.

It was hard to see into the centre of the garden, but on the tele programme it looked great.

4. Down Memory Lane

I was charmed by this garden, and more particularly by its make-do-and-mend greenhouse constructed from old windows and doors.  With its windy brick path and water feature made from an old watering can, it could have descended into twee-ness, but didn't. 

Cosmos and tomatoes were jumbled in with roses.  I'm afraid my pictures don't quite do it justice.

5 Punk Rockery

I thought this garden was so inventive.  Its concept is to make the most of what is already in your garden, even if that is lumps of concrete and broken bricks and next to no decent soil.  

It was full of personality from the gravel of broken bricks and tile to the dustbin lid pond.  The large rocks are lumps of concrete.  The planting is designed to be happy with the poor soil.


I would certainly have found this very inspiring when I first started gardening.

6. The ones I want to take home

A couple of things caught my eye and will be on my list to order for next year.  

Firstly this lovely burgundy Allium.

And this very cute Rose, with its perfect little posies of flower, which I hadn't seen before. 

I did manage to buy a couple of tiny bare root Benton Iris from Plant Heritage, which I will attempt to keep alive.

That's all for this week.  Next week it will be back to my garden where the Roses require some serious dead heading.

Thanks as always to the Propagator for hosting Six on Saturday.


  1. I am green with envy, it looks wonderful!

  2. It's years since we went to Hampton Court Flower Show. It was always a good day out; more open, spacious and relaxed than Chelsea - though Chelsea still remains my favourite. Of all you have shown, it is the allium in the last photograph which takes my attention - one to order, I think.

  3. It must be a superb place to visit and it's true that it would have taken more than 6 items with 16 pictures to illustrate this visit. It nice to see all that ! Tks.

  4. Lovely to see pictures of a place I will probably never get to with so many wonderful plants.

  5. Thanks for showing us Hampton Court, all the show gardens you featured are lovely, I am especially intrigued by the Green Future one, it's so lush with that interesting spidery plant and I almost want to jump into the photo to explore it.

    1. I wish I knew what the spidery plant was but even after looking at the plant list I'm non the wiser. We need Jim!

    2. Mystery solved - Chloris knew the answer. (see below)

    3. Great, thanks. It's a pity that it's not hardy.

  6. My wife and I keep meaning to go to Hampton Court Flower Show. After seeing this I must make more of an effort and actually arrange it!

  7. The Iconic Hero "planting" is just beautiful! I love the metal garbage can lid, it just works there with those plants. A great idea! If I had a lid I'd do that. Of course, being in Oregon, I had to look up who this Iconic Hero was!

    1. I'm glad you enjoyed it. I'm sure the planting looks even better in the sunshine, but the overcast skies probably made for a better photo!

  8. Great to see some highlights and opinions on the flower show. I've seen lots of photos on social media, but not much insightful commentary!

    I think I like the Punk Rockery best - it reminds me of my rockery (but it looks better)!

    1. I think the garden's designer (Amanda Grimes) did really well to make something attractive out of 'rubbish'.

  9. Oh I am so envious, what a treat. Thank you so much for sharing some of it. The Garden for a Green Future is a bit misleading as that Cyperus is not hardy here. I would have been tempted by that rose too.

    1. It's not on the issued plant list, so I wonder how it got included. As you say, a bit misleading. The trouble with all the plantings for climate change is that very few plants can really cope with dry summers, winter wet and -15C.

  10. The Tom Stuart-Smith garden looks wonderful. Just my thing. I’ve only been to the Hampton Court show once, but what an experience.


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