We were lucky enough to be given tickets for the preview day of the Hamptons Court Palace Flower Show,and got to see the BBC filming for their coverage later this week. Here's Monty Don and Joe Swift getting ready for a cosy chat.
The Garlic Farm won the award for best exhibit in this section with their gorgeous Garlic Plaiters Cottage, featuring together with lots of garlic of course, large quantities of cow parsley, It was a lovely day, far hotter than I had expected, and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.The best day, weather wise of the week I suspect. We also had the honour of being amongst the peasants to be swept aside at one point by a flurry of suits and uniforms ushering the Duchess of Cornwall around, I wonder that poor old Camilla got to see anything much from inside the battalion of escorts, she'd need to be eight feet tall.
The show gardens were all interesting, with the quest to be different in the concept gardens veering off into the frankly weird, but I was amazed to see that the brilliant garden by Chris Beardshaw, the Stockman's Retreat, was only awarded a silver gilt when it was to my mind the best garden in the show, not just because it was beautiful but it was about gardening and practical skills, and certainly one of the few show gardens bearing much resemblance to reality. Ideas, and concepts are great, but unless you're a millionaire you need practical skills to bring your ideas to life, and to avoid having a huge disconnect between the idea and the reality which I often feel is where show gardens can fall down.
Although I am prepared to suspend disbelief when viewing show gardens, I was nevertheless disappointed with the upside down garden that I had seen previewed on TV, Excuse Me While I Kiss The Sky - sounded good and looked great on tv, but in realityit was just too much scaffolding and didn't work at all for me. And The World Vision garden for example was lovely to look at but the gardener in me couldn't help wondering how on earth you'd get a lawn mower into the bowl of grass apparently floating on water!