What a joy to be invited to attend the Hampton Court Flower Show press day yesterday. Unlike Chelsea, the grounds are spacious, and thoughtfully laid out for visitors, with many places to sit in the shade and enjoy views of the Long Water and the beautiful Hampton Court Palace beyond.
I spent most of the morning in the floral marquee, a sweet shop full of gorgeous plants exhibited by wonderful nurseries from far and wide. For the first time this year it is showcasing several Plant Heritage collection holders – I was particularly interested to see the Echium collection. There was also a vast array of interesting plant seeds for sale at the Plant Heritage membership stand.
A selection of must-have plants found in the marquee. Bright green ferns, Heuchera ‘Sweet Tart’, Meconopsis paniculata (if I find I can grow it here), trailing Oenothera ‘African Sunset’, and gorgeous Sedum oregano.
I then went for a leisurely stroll around the grounds, stopping to look at the interesting garden designs, quirky exhibits (my favourite being a large display of space-themed scarecrows made by school children) and numerous stands selling everything you could possibly wish for in your garden.
I stopped for a chat with staff of the Historic Royal Palaces, and learnt about their online gift shop – http://www.historicroyalpalaces.com
Next I enjoyed a free glass of champagne when mistakenly ushered into the RHS celebrity enclosure by a young and clearly short-sighted RHS press officer. I was swiftly steered out again when she realised her error, but allowed to keep the bubbly – and I took the nice pic of Emilia Fox above … I do hope she doesn’t garden in those shoes.
Then back to my favourite marquee, to find something to take back as a reminder of my lovely day out. I settled on a pretty little ivy from Fibrex Nurseries, (the bright green one on the left below), and a packet of seeds of the much longed-for Sanguisorba obtusa from the Plant Heritage stand. Perfect!