Hampton Court Flower Show

Last weekend I went to Hampton Court Flower Show with my parents. It’s not too far from here but feels like you are well and truly out of the city. It was glorious summer day with everyone in straw hats and rocking the linen trousers. And plenty of chances to eat ice cream or sip Pimms. Basically a classic English day out.

In theory it’s all about the show gardens. Here are a few…

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This one has Winnie the Pooh on the bridge and was designed to celebrate his 90th anniversary.

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However, it also has a large number of exhibition areas. There’s an extraordinary marquee filled with every rose on planet earth (at least it seems so).

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And another hall with a variety of growers, many of whom specialise in one plant type. It was in there that I spotted this gorgeous orchid from a French company which my parents kindly bought me.

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And there was pretty of other impressive displays as well. These guys were HUGE.

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And then are the things that inspired me a bit. I came away thinking I could use pots more, especially to isolate plants that suffer from slugs like hostas.

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And to try using decorative supports.

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Or converting unexpected items.

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I really liked these supports for beans, probably because I am struggling to grow my own this year. My dad felt pretty confident that these wouldn’t be too hard to make at home (but he quite good at that kind of thing).

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The main thing I noticed was the planting style. I’ve always thought the trick to an attractive garden was the group types of plants together in drifts and that’s kind of what I have been shooting for – although that may not be that obvious to the casual observer.

However, I noticed that plants were being placed in a more random mixed in style, certainly with limited planting but not with one type altogether in a group and the another.

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And I thought it was kind of lovely, and something I could give a go.

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Spring!

It is well and truly here. And many of the bulbs I planted last Autumn are pleasingly emerging.

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Some old faithfuls are coming back.

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Some new addition doing ok.

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I love these little guys, have pots and pots of them now.

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And the edible bits also looking OK. Strawberries are back…

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And the fruit trees I put in have flowered and seem happy. I have high hopes for these this year.

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Can’t wait for summer.

Summer Gardening

I’ve been busy working on the garden this year. When I moved into the house the garden was all lawn apart from one small bush and a rose. And so I have been slowly adding to it and starting to fill out the beds, although that obviously takes some considerable time.

I made two trips over the summer which were kind of inspirational.

One was to Grow London, a new event held in Hampstead which I think is run by the same people who organise the Affordable Art Fair. Essentially it was a large exhibition with sellers of plants, garden furniture, landscape gardeners and many more.

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They made it really easy by having a free shuttle service from the tube station.

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They had some quirkier products like these Seed Bombs.

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And some ideas to steal like a plant stand made from an old painted stepladder – something to look out for eBay and try at home.

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Plenty of other ideas…

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And I did buy. And I’d go again.

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The other was a trip to the Chelsea Physic Garden. It was founded in 1673 and is still arranged as a botanical garden. I went with my parents and it’s a great summer afternoon out and a really interesting insight into our changing relationship with plants not to mention the fact that it’s really very beautiful (and the cakes in  the restaurant aren’t bad too).

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Spring has sprung

And there has been some sun.

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And in response the garden is starting to get it’s act together. I planted hundreds (and that’s not an exaggeration) of bulbs last year, most of which I imagine have been feasted on by the local wildlife. Those that have made it through seem to be stirring.

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And all inspired by this I invested in a bunch of flowers for the house too. It always feels extravagant to do this but I love them every time I look at them, which must make it worth the expense.

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