Tuesday, July 06, 2010

The Hampton Court Palace Flower Show

Last night my husband and I attended a special preview of The Hampton Court Palace Flower Show, which runs from today until Sunday 11th July. Set in the grounds of the beautiful Hampton Court Palace, most famously home to Henry VIII, this annual show is one of the biggest flower shows in the world. It was a privilege to attend before the show opens to the public, and there were so many wonderful things to see, from the larger show gardens to the gem like “small gardens”, Shakespeare’s Comedy Gardens and huge flower pavilions. Some of the UK’s best garden and floral designers are showcased here, alongside a great deal of international talent as well. Over the next few days I’m planning to share some of my favourite things from the show with you.
There were a number of really wonderful large show gardens with very different themes.  More traditional concepts were juxtaposed alongside some very innovative ideas. The Best Show Garden award was won by the Reflections of Thailand Garden but my favourite was the silver medal winning Combat Stress Therapeutic Garden designed to be used by ex-Service personnel undergoing treatment for Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome at a treatment facility known as Combat Stress.  

I spoke with one of the ladies involved in designing the garden and she was explaining that it will be installed at Combat Stress’s headquarters in order to help promote healing amongst those traumatised by the horrors of combat. The garden has clear lines of site all round the garden to help avoid fears of ambush, benches and seating areas backing on to solid walls for security and no places where any explosive devices could be hidden.  The service men who visited yesterday before the show opened were captivated by this garden’s great sense of peace and safety. Care and attention was paid to the selection of plants, all in peaceful hues with an emphasis on blues and purples and many of the flowers are lightly scented providing aromatherapy as well as visual therapy.  The grass is even covered with a very fine, practically invisible mesh to allow use by wheelchair bound visitors all year round.  
However aside from the visible meaning and care put into this garden, it is quite simply gorgeous, and would have been my own personal choice for best in show.  
It wasn’t all serious themes though - check out this Legoland Pirates Landing Garden!  What a great garden for kids!

It was a silver medal winner too.  Watch this space over the next few days for more of my favourite things from the wonderful Hampton Court Palace Flower Show!  

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