Trends at the Hampton Court Palace Flower Show 2006

Trends at the Hampton Court Palace Flower Show 2006

Trends at the Hampton Court Palace Flower Show 2006

The Hampton Court Palace Flower Show (4-9 July) is the largest annual flower show in the world.  This Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) event illustrates the best in gardening during high summer with almost 50 gardens displaying inspiring designs for any sized garden.  Trends emerging at this year’s show include:

Water wise

With water shortages becoming an increasing concern throughout the country, particularly in the south-east of England, several designers are illustrating creative ways to maintain a garden in dry conditions.

The Mayor of London’s ‘Sunshine Garden’, designed by Paul Stone, will feature a lavender hedge along with a drought-tolerant vegetable bed, chamomile lawn, Mediterranean plants and lots of other water-saving and eco-friendly ideas to demonstrate that you can have a beautiful garden without using lots of water.  Staff at Southend-on-Sea Borough Council have filled ‘The Cockler’s Garden’ with drought-tolerant maritime plants common along the Essex coastline such as sea kale, horned poppy, maritime cabbage and fennel.  Rosy Hardy of Hardy’s Cottage Garden Plants will feature drought-resistant plants amongst ornamental grasses and a vegetable patch in the ‘Daily Mail Cottage Garden’ inspired by the South Downs countryside.

Drought-tolerant plants also feature in gardens by Capel Manor College (‘Time Line’), Filmscapes Ltd (‘Solar Eclipse’), and in the ‘Low Maintenance’ section of the RHS Window Box and Hanging Basket Competition.  Talks and demonstrations on dry gardens and water-wise techniques will feature in the RHS Talks & Demonstrations Tent throughout the week.

Happiness and Well-being

With a recent study revealing that Britain is less happy than in the 1950s, the RHS is prescribing a large dose of ‘floral medicine’ at the Hampton Court Palace Flower Show.  With exposure to plants proven to reduce stress and improve mood, the thousands of blooms at the show will leave visitors on a natural high.  Some designers at this year’s show have created gardens specifically to enhance personal well-being including:

‘The Weleda Garden’, designed by Anny Konig of Pea Green Boat, has been designed specifically to improve mood by using features such as cascading water, rustling bamboos, medicinal herbs and warm stone to create an uplifting and revitalising garden.  ‘Calm’, a small garden designed by Alan Smith of Barleywood Designs, is a relaxing space filled with textured green foliage, simple white flowers and trickling water.

Independent Age’s ‘The Well Garden’ maximises the therapeutic properties of plants.  The garden is destined for the St Anne’s Well Nursing Home in Sussex which cares for patients suffering from illnesses such as Alzheimer’s, Dementia, Arthritis and Parkinson’s.  Here, plants stimulate memory and alertness through varying textures, colours, forms and sound.


It’s drought-tolerant, it’s a wildlife magnet, it’s pure aromatherapy, it’s even edible – is lavender the best shrub that you could plant this summer?  Garden designers at the show seem to think so with the fragrant plant appearing in several of the show gardens.

For ‘The Homebase Living Room’ garden, Phillip Osman has used lavenders for their colour and fragrance in the sanctuary area of his ‘outdoor room’ combining them with irises, alliums and foxgloves.  Downderry Nursery from Kent will be creating ‘Lavender Fields’ a sweeping lavender display at the entrance to the Daily Mail Garden Pavilion comprising 700 plants of Lavandula x intermedia ‘Grosso’.  Downderry Nursery will also be selling lavenders throughout the week in the Floral Marquee.  Isle of Wight Lavender will exhibit alongside roses in the Festival of Roses marquee.

Love and romance at the peep show

It must be another summer of love as visitors are invited to take a peep at some tantalising features at this year’s show.

Get an eyeful of Wayne Richards’ garden ‘The Danger of Need’, one of five gardens in the new Conceptual Gardens category.  Visitors will be invited to spy on ‘Adam’ and ‘Eve’, played by two actors, inside the lushly-planted garden which is surrounded by a wall of peep holes and television screens transmitting the scene from inside. 

Groundforce presenters Tommy Walsh and Kirsty King have designed a small garden with a bold theme for Bayer Healthcare ‘Senses StimulatED’ for the ‘SortED in 10’ campaign which aims to challenge the taboos of impotency, or erectile dysfunction (ED).  The garden will be stylish and include plants known for their aphrodisiac qualities whilst providing a haven for couples to rekindle romance. 

Trevor Tooth has taken the theme of love and relationships one step further with a show garden, ‘Love, Life & Regeneration’, inspired by his one-year old son.  The garden illustrates the personal journey Trevor has taken on becoming a father. 

Those who prefer a little subtlety with their romance will like Fran Forster’s design, ‘The Perfumed Garden’.  The garden is in honour of Jean Patou, the famous Parisian couturier and creator of Jean Patou fragrances including ‘Joy’ a scent made from rose and jasmine.

The Nation’s Favourite Flower

This English garden classic has recently been voted the nation’s favourite flower in a survey run by the RHS with Dorling Kindersley and UKTV Style Gardens.  Twenty new roses will be launched in the Festival of Roses marquee, more than ever before, including Rosa ‘Tickled Pink’ from Fryers Roses which has been named the Rose of the Year 2007, an impressively bold rose with large scented blooms of a seductive pink colouring.

Container planting grows

Gardeners with small spaces will find big ideas at this year’s show which is fast becoming the home for container planting inspiration.  A new show feature, Inspiring Spaces, will demonstrate creative ways to enliven small areas such as a shady corner, a small front garden or an exposed balcony.  The plots are designed by garden centres and other professional organisations and offer new ideas for container planting.

Also at the show, the RHS Window Box & Hanging Basket Competition will include themed categories for the first time.  Displays will be entered into the categories ‘Wildlife-friendly’, ‘Edible’, ‘Low Maintenance’, ‘Scented’ and ‘Bountiful Blooms’. 

The gardeners at RHS Garden Wisley will be creating a special container growing display within the Growing & Showing Marquee over the show’s final weekend (8-9 July).  The display will demonstrate how to grow produce such as spinach, French beans, chillies, courgettes, lettuce and herbs in containers.
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