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RHS Hampton Court Flower Show 2012 ….in the rain…

Back from this year’s Hampton Court Flower Show – and have just about dried out!  I went on the Friday, the penultimate day of the show, and yes unfortunately (but perhaps predictably) it poured with rain. Although I got soaked through and returned home covered in mud – my legs looked like a work of modern art and shoes did not live to see another day - I had a wonderful time. So many gardens and so little blog space… However, I thought I’d tell you about my absolute favourites.

My top two surprised me, being “conceptual gardens”, I blow hot and cold with this category because they are sometimes not clear in their message or have no plants (sorry old school here but for me a garden has to at least have something that grows…) however these two told a story and were challenging without being obtuse and both had beautiful planting. It was a pleasant change to leave the show knowing that my two favourite garden designs were conceptual and it gave me food for thought as I plan my own application for next years show.

“Light at the end of the tunnel” by Matthew Childs (Gold medal winner – Best Conceptual Garden)

 This garden was inspired by the 7/7 London bombings, after the designer himself was injured at the Edgware Road site. Based around a tunnel, everything about this garden graduated from the dense, dark and heavy to the light, fluffy and delicate as the garden moved through the tunnel. I loved this garden; it was pretty and hopeful and made clever use of layering, light and shade and texture.



Uprising” by Shea Daniel

This garden was a reflection on the UK riots of last summer. Constructed around striking dark grey monoliths, with a zigzag path weaving around the garden, the entire concept was urban and fiery. The effective and clever planting represented burning fires, and I particularly loved the use of Helenium ‘Wyndley’ and Hemerocallis ‘Golden Charm’ – both a very striking and powerful way to add to the overall effect of the garden.


Other gardens I loved at Hampton Court Flower Show 2012

Best garden for relaxing:  ”Coastal Drift” by Susan Wilmot and Adele Ford

I’d previously met both Susan and Adele and was really pleased to see their design, the result of winning a competition (Wyevale East Nurseries’s Student Design & Build Award) which enabled them to exhibit at this year’s show. This lovely garden was full of shapes and textures, with drifts and waves of planting, decking and landscaping coming together to create a gorgeous small garden and one I would love to sit in and relax all day!

Most fun designer to chat to:  ”Thisisme” by James Callicot

James Callicot, is just 17 years old – so its pretty impressive that this is his second show garden! There was a lot going on in this garden, and that was the point: it was about the different signals and messages interpreted by someone with dyslexia. I loved the fact that James had included lots of little details representing things which make dyslexic people feel safer: enclosed seating spaces, areas of solitude and places to relax. I was able to talk to James and he let me onto the garden, which is always brilliant because you can get up close and get the chance to take some different pictures.


Next year I’m hoping it will be my turn ….I’m currently working on my application, now just need to decide: conceptual or not …..

To see more of my photos from the show take a look at Ruth Ayoubi Design on flickr using the link at the bottom of the page.

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