Plant list for Hampton Court "Red Thread" garden revealed

Robert Barker's debut garden at Hampton Court Palace Flower Show, 'The Red Thread', will display a wide range of plants supplied by Kelways Nursery.

Artist's impression of Robert Barker's Red Thread garden. Image: Supplied
Artist's impression of Robert Barker's Red Thread garden. Image: Supplied

An ancient Chinese myth states that when people are born the gods tie their ankles with a red thread and attach it to all the people whose lives they are destined to touch. Barker's garden represents a modern interpretation of this myth.

Two oak character posts will stand at opposite corners of the garden, symbolising people who are destined to meet. Six large oak posts, varying in heights and sizes, are arranged between them with red rope, threaded in a complex pattern to represent the journey destiny can take to connect two people.

The garden, which is being built by Terraforma Landscapes, will contain two multi-stemmed Cornus controversa in opposite corners. C. controversa is Chinese and is also known as the wedding cake tree, underlining the garden concept.

Pittosporum tobira 'Nanum' will be placed throughout the garden as a contrast to the sculptural oak blocks. They have been selected for their round-dome form and leathery, glossy obovate leaves.

Hydgrangea quercifolia will be planted at opposite corners of the garden next to two characterful oak posts. Chosen for their handsome, large, deeply lobed leaves, they will provide the garden with wonderful texture and depth.

Sanguisorba 'Tanna' is a key plant that will repeat the red colour of the rope used within the design. The compact burnet with stunning flowers will feature throughout the garden in drifts, with its attractive foliage combining well with Hakonechloa macra.

H. macra is a fresh green grass with a wavy carpet-like texture, and creates a calming effect. Used throughout the garden, it will add movement while Astrantia major subsp. involucrata 'Shaggy' adds delicate colour and works in harmony with the red rope structure.

'Shaggy' will be planted with companion plants such as Geranium phaeum 'Lilly Lovell' and Dryopteris filix-mas near the front of the borders that surround the large oak posts.

Other key plants include Rodgersia aesculifolia, Percicaria polymorpha, Gymnocarpium dryopteris and Molinia 'Transparent'.

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