11 February, 2014

Hampton Court Flower Show 2009

 - gardening for biodiversity
in Cape Town, South Africa

Walking London streets in July 2009 I had an aha moment. Suddenly I saw the date on all those posters for the Hampton Court Flower Show. It's now, I'm actually in London, I could go! And we did. There were times when we were caught up in a solid flow of humanity and 'we are all going this way at this speed' - when my husband said never again. We are not used to city crowds any more. 

Dragonflies at Hampton Court

We came (and so did the rest of the world!), we saw, and it conquered us. SO much to see that the brain goes into overdrive, and explodes. Lucky lady sitting next to me in the train on the way there, was going again, to see the other half! This was my fleeting impression of what, looking back after a few weeks, had made an abiding impression. Lucky British gardeners and journalists have covered my ideas with greater depth and skill. 

Wildlife palace – one of Noel Coward’s “Stately Homes of England”? We will be working on building one of these. 

Hampton Court wildlife palace

I’ve lost the sense of scale in this picture. This metal water feature would have been 15 or 20 times life size, so the drama and impact was quite startling. My first reaction was - (what IS that flower?) Eryngium. I wish … 

Eryngium at Hampton Court

Sailing ship. In all the heaving mass of people, I only realised afterwards, when reading the blurb – that this ship sails on a sea of blue lavender and waving grasses. Got the plants in my garden, all I need is the ship to sail in. 

Ship in lavender sea

Bee mosaic. This was in a garden devoted to plants for bees. Do admire the honeycomb border. We’ve all seen lots of ho hum pebble mosaics, but this was a-maz-ing. 

Pebble mosaic of a bee at Hampton Court

Perspex bird. And this is the final image which stays with me. There were birds, sheep and an elderly shepherd, each engraved on a sheet of Perspex. Scattered over a wild flower meadow, with a tiny bog. And a wooden caravan of the gypsyish sort for the shepherd and his little lambs. 

Bird on perspex at Hampton Court

Somewhat tantalising to be flying home and only able to take souvenirs of the Jekka McVicar herbal greeting card variety. I was awed both by the lush display of a humungous variety of herbs, and talking to A Name I have read on garden blogs. Would have dearly loved the Eryngium water feature for my own garden!

Pictures by Diana and Jurg Studer  
of  Elephant's Eye on False Bay

(If you mouse over teal blue text, it turns seaweed red. 
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  1. A couple of very nice and interesting features to put in the garden there

  2. It seems a nightmare to me to be caught up in a solid flow of humanity. That's the reason why I have never visited a RHS garden show. Every year I plan to go but the thought of the crowds keeps me at home. Interesting links, as usual. You kept me busy for more than an hour :)

    1. Once was for my bucket list, but I prefer Heligan, or even Eden (despite the crowds). Gardens with not too many people, please.

  3. I don't remember seeing this in 2009. Thanks for showing us again. I never made a wildlife palace but one year I did make a lizard pagoda of stacked stones. I named it after the eastern fence lizard took up residence..

  4. That wildlife palace is fabulous. I can definitely see copying that idea. Wow. I'm so glad you're republishing some of these posts, for those of us who hadn't read them before. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Glad to hear you are not bored with - been there done that!
      I'm checking the links are still valid, reprocessing the photos from scratch, then reworking the text.

  5. How great to have been at least once to one of these big shows, even with the crowds. (I really like your photo of the bird on plexiglass.)

  6. A post well worth repeating, Diana! I've seen similar wildlife palaces, maybe just 'houses' -- not so elaborate -- in English gardens. Always vow to build one, but never have. I hate crowds, too, and don't even go to our Philadelphia Flower Show any more for that reason. I rely on virtual visits, like this excellent one. Thanks for your kind comment on my blog today. P. x

  7. Lucky you with all these design pieces....I love the critter palace and will have to remember this Diana...thanks for sharing this post again.

  8. Always a treat to catch a glimpse of someone's sweet imagination... and kudos to them for acting upon the thought and creating something whimsical to delight us. My favorite artist is James C. Christensen. He paints the whimsy his mind sees. Delightful!

    1. where I found a lovely lady engrossed in a good book!