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.
Hampton Court Flower Show 2014, Garden, Space to Connect and Grow – Designer – Jeni Cairns in collaboration with Sophie Antonelli, awarded Gold medal & Best Summer garden
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.
Seating from old oil containers.
Planters for vertical growing herbs, fruit and veg.
Bee and insect hotels and decorative wall made from old oil drums.
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.
A Garden of Solitude – Designer: Alexandra Froggatt, Silver Gilt awarded & Best Your Garden Your Budget garden.
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 of Solitude – Designer – Alexandra Froggatt – Sponsor – The RHS
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.
mulch from 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.
Jordans Wildlife Garden Selina Botham awarded Silver Medal
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.
Hedgehog Street – Designer – Tracy Foster
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.
Sloth – Quarry of Silences – Designer – Sheena Seeks
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)
Wrath – Eruption of Unhealed Anger – view of garden – Designer – Nilufer Danis
“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).
Lust by Rachel Parker Soden
“Pride” by Amanda Miller
Pride – The Stonewall Garden, Breaking Down the Walls of Pride – Designer – Amanda Miller
“Envy, The Grass is always Greener” garden designed by Marcus Green had a real presence to it.
Envy – The Grass Is Always Greener – Designer – Marcus Green
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.
Essence of Australia – Designer – Jim Fogarty for Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne, Best in Show gardens & Gold medal.
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.
Essence of Australia – Designer – Jim Fogarty for Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne
For grand outdoor living there was the garden designed by Paul Martin, which had a gravity defying dining table.
Vestra Wealth’s Vista – – Designer – Paul Martin
Another outdoor living space was Al Fresco designed by Peter Reader with a beautifully built green oak frame pergola.
Al Fresco – – Designer – Peter Reader
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.
Green is the Colour – Designer – Elinor Scarth & Etienne Haller
And this one in the Jordans Cereals garden.
Insect and bee hotel complete with bird box.
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