Setting off from home at 3.30am to get to Hampton Court for my 5.30am access with a good weather forecast made the journey easy, I was at Hampton for a 2 day photoshoot. When I arrived, the sun had risen and most importantly it was very still, with no wind.
Making my way to the gardens, the first one to stand out was ” A Space to Connect and Grow“, designed by Jeni Cairns, which was the ultimate recycled materials garden and packed full of edible and medicinal plants and pollinating flowers.
On my own organic allotment and in my garden I like to use recycled materials and here there were so many design ideas as the whole garden was made from recycled, reused and upcycled materials. The funky water feature fed water from the roof of the outbuilding, which had a living roof and used old combine harvester parts, now that is what I call upcycling.
How many uses are there for an old oil drum, plenty it seems in this garden.
Another garden that made full use of recycled materials with a low environmental impact was the garden designed by Alexandra Froggatt ” A Garden of Solitude” in the Your Garden Your Budget category. The garden had a very relaxed and soft feel to it and was made with a budget of £15,ooo. The seating was made from reclaimed oak, and the garden used reclaimed concrete and gravel boards and a recycled glass wall with lighting behind it for use in the evening.
The garden was full of nectar rich plants and the design was based on the shape, colour and translucency of crystals, with a water feature and waterfall incorporated into the design. There was also a living wall planted with Carex “Frosted Curls”. For me this was certainly the most relaxing of the gardens and was proof that recycled can also be very stylish.
A garden that was all about community was The Flintknapper’s Garden – A Story of Thetford designed by Luke Heydon, it had some great design ideas, I liked the mulch made from old pine cones.
The Jordans Wildlife garden had very naturalistic planting, lots of edibles, medicinals and plants for insects, bees and birds. I really liked the thatched straw seating in the middle of the garden and the insect hotels and bird boxes on the edges of the garden.
Hedgehog Street designed by Tracy Foster showed how three neighbouring gardens whose owners all love hedgehogs, had incorporated hedgehog routes through their neighbouring boundaries. In the photo below you can see the hedgehog tunnel at the base of the wall, showing that contemporary garden design can also be wildlife friendly.
It was another favourite of mine as the wilder garden of the neighbours reminded me of my own wildlife friendly permaculture garden.
The Conceptual gardens based on the 7 deadly sins, had some very thought provoking gardens and ones that I really enjoyed photographing.
I first came across a garden designed by Sheena Seeks when I was photographing at Tatton Park a few years ago. When I saw the garden below it popped into my head that it was one of her designs, which it was. “Sloth – Quarry of Silences” won Best in the Conceptual Gardens category and a Gold medal.
The Wrath – “Eruption of Unhealed Anger” garden designed by Nilufer Danis was full of drama and atmosphere and gained a Gold medal and was a photographers dream with the backlit volcanic smoke and Kniphofia (red hot poker plants)
“Lust” designed by Rachel Parker Soden really attracted the crowds and press. The interior of the greenhouse was steamy, hot and planted with lots of provocative Anthurium, Orchids and Brugmansia as well as the Gloriosa plant which is used by many cultures in traditional medicine and has many uses, including the treatment of sexually transmitted diseases, impotence and infertility. (Note: ingestion of the Gloriosa plant is extremely poisonous and can cause fatalities in humans and animals).
“Pride” by Amanda Miller
“Envy, The Grass is always Greener” garden designed by Marcus Green had a real presence to it.
Having spent some time in Australia on travel photography commissions I was keen to see the Essence of Australia garden designed by Jim Fogarty, which had an Australian outdoor living feel.
The garden took its inspiration from the Rainbow Serpent which is an important Dreaming figure in Aboriginal culture. The Rainbow Serpent deck winds its way through the garden and through diverse natural attractions and landscapes of Australia, and an amazing array of Australian plants including Brachyscome Blue and Eremophila glabra in the photograph below.
For grand outdoor living there was the garden designed by Paul Martin, which had a gravity defying dining table.
Another outdoor living space was Al Fresco designed by Peter Reader with a beautifully built green oak frame pergola.
Finally it was great to see lots of insect and bee hotels in the gardens, here is one in the log wall of the Green is the Colour garden designed by Elinor Scarth & Etienne Haller.
And this one in the Jordans Cereals garden.
It was good to see lots of gardens at Hampton Court that had sustainability at the core of their designs with lots of nectar rich plants and planting for wildlife, with both edible and medicinal plants in the gardens, insect/bee houses and gardens made with recycled/upcycled materials. I look forward to heading back next year. Next stop is Tatton Park show, keep an eye out for my blog, or you can also subscribe too. Have a great summer of gardening.
For photography commissions my website is www.stephenstuddphotography.com
I also run small group travel photography holidays and flower photography workshops www.digitalphotographyholidays.com
I am represented by GAP Photos for my garden photography: http://www.gapphotos.com/imageresults.asp?photogref=139