Tapestry visits the Hampton Court Flower Show 2016

Tapestry visits the Hampton Court Flower Show 2016

Tapestry Design Studios were fortunate to have tickets for the preview of this year’s Hampton Court Flower Show, and even more lucky to have a dry evening in which to enjoy it!

Our pick of the show gardens
This year’s show gardens had plenty of inspiration to take away… we particularly related to the practical nature of the brief for Squires 80th Anniversary Garden, designed by Catherine MacDonald, which won a gold medal. Fulfilling its brief to provide a functional yet elegant contemporary garden for an older couple within a standard rectangular plot, it featured lawn, fruit and vegetable production with storage, a water feature and entertaining terrace and a colour palette to reflect the company colours. It was great to see how all this could be so stylishly accommodated in such a common shaped plot. relaxing-garden

All photos courtesy of Kate Marshall – Tapestry Design Studios.

The best interpretation of a brief, and in fact, the best ambience I felt, was in the gold-medal winning garden Dog’s Trust: A Dog’s Life. Composed entirely of dog-friendly (non-toxic) plants, it has been created to mark 125 years of the Dog’s Trust’s work, but also to provide a safe and enriching environment for dogs, and their owners to enjoy. I loved the long pool of shallow water and pebbles with sculpted metal dogs posing playfully in it, and the idea of using a diverse range of hybrid plants as a nod to the many breeds of dogs who are successfully rehomed. shallow-water-feature

And a special mention to the Pancreatic Cancer Garden: Striving for Survival, a conceptual garden which stopped me in my tracks. Poignantly displaying 97 burnt branches in a wasteland, flowing into an oasis of plants with three solitary trees, it represents the dismal 3% survival rate for pancreatic cancer, but with the hope for a breakthrough. Bleak but compelling and a fascinating example of how clever garden design can convey a powerful message.

Common themes
Wildflowers and meadows are very popular components of the gardens this year, a haze of colour and grasses, perfect for this time of year. Magenta Sanguisorba seemed to be a ubiquitous choice, as was Digitalis in shades of apricot and, love it or hate it, Astilbe.
Brightly coloured man-made features, perhaps at odds set amid a natural landscape, also appeared to be somewhat of a theme – yellow plastic dogs, blue sculptural handrails, a bright blue pool amongst a tropical garden, to mention a few.

Favourite product
We were excited to find the Kadai firebowl from Wilstone House & Gardens – an enormous metal bowl for cooking over or as a firepit, but here displayed as a day lounger – filled with ornate cushions and underplanted with extravagant foliage plants to give it context. It would be perfect for one of our current projects, a Moroccan inspired courtyard in Wivenhoe. mediterranean-garden

Favourite plant of the show
Well several actually… Very relevant to life around Colchester are the plants of The Drought Garden (Best City Garden) designed by Steve Dimmock, – most notably the dusky palette of Eryngimum maritimum (sea holly) and Pennisetum villosum ‘Feather Top’ (feathertop grass) – spiky and fluffy together in perfect parched soil harmony. cottage-garden

And, call me old-fashioned, but the beautiful Lavender Garden by Shropshire Lavender, won a well-deserved gold medal in the Summer Garden category. As we approached we were greeted by a cloud of perfume in the air. Maybe it’s that lavender was my mum’s favourite flower, but I loved that the whole garden was devoted to this most classic of summer flowers – showcasing its simple elegance and celebrating its versatility. gravel-garden So after a picnic by the lake and fabulous fireworks over the Palace, it was time to head home, filled with ideas for more Tapestry horticultural masterpieces.

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