Despite wet weather, which looks set to last all week, the Hampton Court Flower Show got off to a good start yesterday ready for RHS members and public who will flock to the showground from today.
Exhibitors put the finishing touches to their show gardens and floral displays today ahead of Hampton Court Flower Show's official opening this morning. Despite the wet start, the atmosphere was buzzing and designers waited with anticipation for the RHS medal presentations in the afternoon.
Paul Hervey-Brookes, 2009 winner of the Bradstone-sponsored Chris Beardshaw mentoring scholarship, bagged a Gold for his Discover Jordan Garden. Mr Hervey Brookes had already had success at Chelsea, having been part of the team that created Hillier Nurseries' Gold medal-winning exhibit at the London flower show last month.
Meanwhile, the 'low cost, high impact' garden category attracted a lot of attention and is bound to be popular with visitors in the current tough climate. Landform Consultants was awarded Gold and 'best in show'‚ in the category with its 'our first home, our first garden' exhibit. The show garden is designed for a young couple in a new home with a budget of £7,000, and aims to provide a relaxing space in which to entertain, with an added nod to sustainability and the garden's carbon footprint.
Other low cost, high impact gardens in the newly-introduced category were awarded Silver-Gilt and Silver medals for designs with budgets r anging from £7,000 to £13,000.
Highlights included the launch of a new rose by Fryer Roses, called 'You're Beautiful', which was presented by Sir Lancelot on horseback in the Romance & Roses marquee. Other exhibitors in the marquee included David Austin, Harkness and Peter Beales Roses - all fresh from the Great Pavilion at Chelsea.
Garden products and tool suppliers were also there to sell their wares, with Hozelock, Bulldog Tools, Darlac, Stihl, Mr Fothregills, Access Garden Products and Wolf-Garten & Wilkinson Sword all taking stands.
A number of gardens also focused on the recent riots in Hackney. One feature, a Riot of Colour, created by the Edible Bus Stop Project used a chaotic scene, complete with graffiti-covered walls and a vandalised taxi cab, juxtaposed with flowers and vegetable patches, to illustrate the benefits of green space and a community project in an urban environment. Contributors to the garden included Homebase, Vital Earth and Lafarge.
The Bradstone-sponsored Poets Retreat garden took home a Silver medal, as judges favoured its neutral colour palette and planting designed to highlight seasonal change. It is the second RHS medal Bradstone has won this year after bagging a Silver for its Panache garden at Chelsea.
With 600 exhibitors, Hampton Court Flower Show is expected to attract 160,000 visitors this week. Exhibitors who have taken part every year since the show's launch in 1990 include Squires Garden Centres and Hardy's Cottage Garden Plants.