Rosa ‘Nostalgia’ (Pococks Roses)
Dreamy and feminine, but with just the right notes of earthy purple, and those roses were sumptuous: it’s not often I like pink roses but for these, I would make an exception.
Rosa ‘Burgundy Ice’
Astelia ‘Silver Spear’
Pittosporum tenuifolium ‘Tom Thumb’
I also loved ‘Natural Spheres’ based on the Kandinsky painting, exploiting the naturally spherical shape of plants like alliums and echinops as well as artificial spheres such as trimmed box balls. Other plant ‘paintings’ included a Damien Hirst airplants-in-a-glass-box and Monet’s waterlilies.
All in all, it was an inspired and delightful play on the concepts of garden and art, and still makes me smile.
The World Vision Garden
I’m not usually that sure about what you might call ‘land art’. I tend to find myself wondering how you’re going to mow an inverted grass cone, and other such imagination-killing practicalities.
But in this case: to hell with the mowing conundrum. Marry land art with a sheet of water and you have absolute sculptural perfection.
The thought behind the garden was that the mound above the water represented the children who have all they need; the sunken grassy pit was those in poverty. The screens fragment the view and from only one perspective is the sphere seen, in reflection, as a perfect whole.
Oh yes – and the planting was subtle, understated and, I thought, sublime, especially against the brooding slatey greys of the (recycled plastic, though you wouldn’t know it) screens.
Allium giganteum, Ammi majus, Deschampsia cespitosa “Goldschleier’, Gaura lindheimeri “Whirling Butterflies’, Nassella tenuissima, Stipa gigantea, Thalictrum flavum ssp. glaucum x rochebrunianum ‘Elin’, Verbena “Lavender Spires”, Verbena bonariensis, Veronicastrum virginicum “Fascination”
But don’t miss it: it’s quite unlike anything I’ve ever seen at a flower show before.
Inside a tent, the blazing sun outside blacked out, you entered a twilight world of shadows where you fully expected bats to swoop through the dusk catching moths. And it elevated garden lighting to an art form: Neil Wilkins, glass sculptor, is a very, very talented man. Pure theatre.
I surprised myself with how much I liked this one, actually: it was a bit ‘boy’ for my usual taste what with all those crisp lines and bachelor decking, but it was the planting that won me over. I particularly liked these ‘floating’ planters in the middle of the water feature, filled with nothing but foliage: but what foliage. Podophyllums, an epimedium and an iris or two: not much colour but some truly subtle contrasts of foliage and texture. Serene, soothing, tranquil. And a lesson in why too much colour (other than green) is bad for the nerves.
I should apologise for my prolonged absence: life, or rather a series of RHS flower shows, got a little in the way of blogging for a while. And I’ve sold my house, so I’m a bit preoccupied by my state of flat-out panic about our imminent homelessness. Of which more later.
But for now I’m sitting in the press tent at the RHS Hampton Court Flower Show and this is the view from my window. I’m not entirely sure life gets much better than this: so I resolve to turn my mind away from estate agents for a day or two and just enjoy. See you later!