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Here’s what stole the show at Hampton Court for me this week:


Much to my surprise, as I’m aware I’m usually a bit more conventional – even, dare I say it, square – about these things, it was this tiny experimental garden from Rebecca Butterworth, Victoria Pustygina and Ludovica Ginanneschi which for me beat into a cocked hat all the bells-and-whistles big show gardens and even the quirky Henry VIII’s Wives gardens (not sure jawbones will catch on as garden ornaments but you never know).

The thing I liked most about it was that as you approach, the mirrors create the illusion that the planting is stretching away underneath the ground like some subterranean cavern. It’s a truly lovely effect.

The planting was fabulous too – all big gorgeous colocasias (alocasias? never could tell the difference) and the slender elegance of Cyperus alternifolius: there were some very understated hemerocallis in there too in just the right shade of dusky pink and butterscotch. It was all beautifully well-judged and deservedly won not only a gold medal but also Best Conceptual Garden.

The garden has a painfully pretentious official write-up – presumably originating from the designers themselves which is mildly worrying – but I got around that by not trying to ‘understand’ it too much. For me it worked simply as a small but exquisite little piece of planting heaven.

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