Hampton Court show gardens focus on edibles, recycling and engaging children

Herbs and vegetables, recycled materials and a focus on children were some of the features of the gardens at this year's RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show.

A total of 18 show gardens exhibited at the event on 8-13 July, with designers ranging from newcomer Helen Ellison to Chelsea 2007 Best in Show winner Sarah Eberle.

Gold awards went to: the Porsche garden, designed by Sim Flemons and John Warland; the Holiday Inn garden, designed by Sarah Eberle; and Hardy's Cottage Garden Plants, designed by Rose Hardy as a Daily Mail garden.

Dorset Cereals Edible Playground, designed by Nick Williams-Ellis, scooped Best Show Garden. A larger version of the small garden exhibited at Chelsea in May, the garden is part of a national campaign to encourage schools to develop a kitchen garden.

RHS show assessor Andrew Wilson said that all the judges had been impressed by the high standard and ethos of the Dorset Cereals garden.

He said: "It was a really well-executed garden and great fun to be in. It had the thought and met the additional bits about getting people interested in food and planting - and horticulture generally - from an early age."

A SELECTION OF THE BEST GARDENS THIS YEAR

1. The Traveller's Garden with Bradstone

Designed by Amanda Patton after she won the Society of Garden Designers and Association of Professional Landscapers (APL) contest, the garden was inspired by Walter de la Mare's poem The Listeners.

The garden was built by winners from this year's APL awards and aimed to highlight how the quality of outdoor space influences well-being.

2. Sustainability can be Sexy

First-time show garden designer Helen Ellison, of Floral & Hardy Gardens, created this family garden using many recycled materials, including a seat-belt hammock, mulch from old car tyres and a glass path.

The garden featured a hobbit house made from stacked turf, along with a wildflower area and log wall for encouraging insects and butterflies.

3. Dorset Cereals Edible Playground

Winning Best Show Garden, the Nick Williams-Ellis designed space features raised beds of salad crops, vegetables, herbs and fruit. Wheat, barley and oats form hedging. It will be transferred to a Dorset primary school after the show. Contractors were Goddard Landscapes and The Gardens Group.

4. The National Year of Reading Garden

Created by designer Sally Court to highlight the pleasures of reading, this garden features a "magical forest" planted with ferns and moisture-loving perennials.

Once the show is over, the garden will be recycled at a primary school in Hampshire, and will form the launch of the National Year of Reading's campaign Reading Outdoors. The contractor was The English Garden Company.

5. The Homebase Room with a View

Different levels and a maple glade underplanted with meadow grass feature in this garden designed by Philippa Pearson and built by Scotscape.

A vegetable garden incorporates organic principles, including companion planting and drought-tolerant planting.

The garden was inspired by Rievaulx Terrace & Temples in North Yorkshire.


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