Colour-fest at RHS Hampton

There’s simply no getting away from colour and – thankfully – plants at this year’s RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show. Many of the show gardens seem to have made a welcome return to putting plants rather than hard landscaping first while there are take-home ideas aplenty from pretty pastel combinations to in-your-face primary colours.

Now, I must admit to a bias towards Cotswold designer Paul Hervey-Brookes. I’ve followed his career since his first show garden – in a tent – at the Malvern Autumn Show back in 2008 but his gold medal-winning exhibit this year is one of his best.

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Colours in the border echo those of the hard landscaping

Paul is known on the gardening circuit for his skill at planting up a border but even so he has excelled with his Viking Cruises garden. There’s a sense of movement in the planting that drifts under trees, with variations in height and some beautiful combinations.

How’s this for a mix of blue?

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Campanula lactiflora ‘Pritchard’s Variety’ with Echinops ritro ‘Veitch’s Blue’

Or pink – the bees were loving it.

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Oregano and perilla

Who says green is dull?

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Alchemilla mollis with the vertical lines of Liatris spicata ‘Alba’

Simple but really effective.

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Nicotiana sylvestris adding height to the planters

I really loved these Achillea ‘Summer Berries’.

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They come in a mix of colours that Paul had carefully separated out to give different effects. Here is the cream with bronze variant.

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Cream and terracotta achillea with Aster lateriflorus ‘Lady in Black’ and Deschampsia cespitosa ‘Goldschleier’

And Persicaria bistorta is given a whole new feel when combined with carex.

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I was glad to see I’m ‘on trend’ as I’ve just planted up an old wine box with this erigeron.

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Another Cotswold success at this year’s RHS Hampton is Martyn Wilson, who also started his design career at the Malvern show. He has won his first RHS gold medal with a celebration of the regeneration of brownfield sites.

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I really liked the colours in this garden – rusted steel, oranges, creams, yellows and the odd touch of purple from buddleia.

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The attention to detail was superb.

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While my Cotswold neighbours are using refined colour combinations, two of the show gardens are unashamedly brash.

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Bright, primary colours dominate the ‘Journey of Life’ garden by Edward Mairis, which has an acrylic wall in rainbow colours.

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Charlie’s garden is all about colour

In Charlie Bloom’s ‘Colour Box’ garden it’s the plants that sing out. Built with donations of time and products rather than financial sponsorship, it is dominated by plants in every colour.

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“I think the public want to see plants at a horticultural show rather than lots of impressive hard landscaping,” explained Charlie. “The idea was to rebel against the concrete and box ball fraternity and go mad with colour.”

That said, it’s a garden that has plant combinations you could try.

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I also liked the peep-through architectural wall from Stark and Greensmith.

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And the way the plants were set off against it.

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Here are some of the other things that caught my eye.

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Beach huts on the ‘Fun on Sea’ garden

There was more than a touch of the seaside.

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Southend Council’s ‘By the Sea’ garden

And some boats.

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Hoyland Plant Centre’s Floral Marquee exhibit

It was good to see vegetables weren’t forgotten. Here on the gold medal-winning Blind Veterans UK garden by Andrew Fisher Tomlin and Dan Bowyer.

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A nifty way to grow strawberries on the RHS Kitchen Garden by Juliet Sargeant.

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And an edible green wall.

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Finally, at the end of a long day . . .

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Plants, Shoots and Leaves’ stand

there are some tempting places to sit and rest . . .

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Hardy’s Cottage Garden Plants’ annuals display

or even lie down.

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‘A Bed of Roses’ by Fryer’s Roses

RHS Hampton Court Flower Show 2017 runs until July 9. For more details, visit the RHS website.

* Flower-filled Mini (pictured top) is part of Primrose Hall’s Floral Marquee display.