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Hampton Court Palace Flower Show 2011
Hampton Court Palace Flower Show is running this week and I have been lucky enough to get a quick preview prior to judging today (Monday).
If you are short of time or a little confused by the whole thing (it is after all the largest flower show in the world) then this is my lightning guide to 10 highlights of the show.
1. The Conceptual Gardens. Unique to Hampton Court these are gardens, usually designed by young designers, that explore ideas not usually found in conventional gardens. There is one comprising entirely of edible fungi: more interestingly all the action is underground and only visible through a series of periscopes.
2. Jon Wheatley and Anita Foy’s vast show feature, the RHS Edible Garden. This includes fruit and nut orchards, wild plants for free foraging, a vegetable garden, an olive grove (a little optimistic) and even a hot house full of tropical fruit. For the thirsty there is a hop garden, a cider orchard and a vineyard.
3. Roses: none of the other RHS Shows have quite as many roses. Here can be found not only all the main rose nurseries but a rosy pavilion celebrating Lewis Carroll and Alice in Wonderland, which is also the theme for the children’s scarecrow competition.
4. The Thames. You can get to the show by boat, which is more than can be said for the NEC. 30 minutes from Kingston Station.
5. There are gardens inspired by six poets.
6. In a large blacked-out tent is the first night garden showing how to use lights in the garden. It is quite hot in there.
7. Next weekend there is lots of stuff going on for children including storytelling, rapping inspired by Lewis Carroll (presumably to the sound of various people turning rhythmically in their graves) and henna tattooing.
8. The remarkably tall Tony Smith has, at very short notice, made a garden of bosomy turf hummocks and smoking chimneys.
9. Tickets are still available either at the gate or online.
10. Enough, I think. Go and see for yourselves.
PS I am also now the newest (and I think possibly the youngest which makes a very nice change) member of the RHS Council. Thank you to all who voted for me and if you are not already a member of the RHS then you jolly well should be…
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