At this year’s RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show (9-14 July) many of the gardens are promoting the use of plants for pollinators, grow your own and the reuse of materials in a creative way, while others highlight the ‘pop-up’ trend bringing make-shift gardens to the show.
Planting to attract wildlife is a prominent theme at this year’s show with many gardens using plants as a food source for pollinating insects as a key element. Surrey Garden’s ‘Bugs in Boots’, for example promotes ecological gardening within the Low Cost, High Impact category. By using plants from the RHS Perfect for Pollinators list designer, Caspian Robertson, demonstrates how intelligent planting within a garden can provide both sustenance and a maintainable living environment for a wide range of insects.
Continuing the theme, Victoria Truman and Liz Rentzsch Garden Design have designed the ‘Hot Stuff Garden’ which, drawing inspiration from Christopher Lloyd’s sub-tropical garden at Great Dixter, encapsulates a planting palette for bees and wildlife. While the flowering annuals and herbaceous plants of the meadow in Mariko Naka’s Spirits of the Land garden provide a food source for pollinating insects and the range of grasses a habitat for insect and animal species to live in.
In addition to the gardens, the Show has a number of exciting wildlife features dedicated to bees and butterflies including the RHS Butterfly Dome with Eden, which contains 3,000 tropical butterflies, the largest exhibited collection in the UK, while an exhibit built especially for their native cousins will be situated outside. There will also be a ‘Bee Garden’ feature bursting with nectar and pollen-rich plants to entice bumble, honey and solitary bees.
Many designers are using simple, sustainable ideas, such as using recycled waste products in their garden features to highlight environmental issues. ‘The Ecover Garden’, designed by Matthew Childs will include strips of recycled plastic woven in with the garden’s planting to inspire consumers to consider the environmental impact of the products and plastics they use. Designer Bayley LuuTomes’ garden ‘The Native Shower’ uses recycled glass bottles to transfer water into the garden and provide irrigation while the ‘Tip of the Iceberg’ Conceptual Garden includes a collection of old fridges, some used as planters, arranged in the form of an iceberg to symbolise society’s wastefulness.
A number of this year’s gardens also contain edible planting ideas, demonstrating that growing your own products can be not only delicious and practical but also a stylish choice of garden feature. Examples of this include Kate Turner’s ‘Moveable Feast’, a garden inspired by the transistory lives of Army Wives, which will contain herbs, vegetables and fruits, including many interesting varieties such as cucamelons, tomatillos and quinoa and the ‘Jardin du Gourmet’ garden which includes a sunken area dedicated to harvesting food.
Both the ‘Jardin du Gourmet’ and ‘Moveable Feast’ gardens demonstrate that the pop up trend is spreading to the gardening world. Designed as reusable gardens, which can be assembled and dismantled with ease, they are built for purpose and allow gardens to be brought into any kind of space. Sophie Walker’s ‘A Valley Garden’ also follows this trend. A vibrant, green oasis inspired by John Rhys’ Wide Sargasso Sea, it is designed as a ‘pop-up’ installation that can feature a different planting scheme each time it is remade.
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