Mid­sum­mer trends from Europe

Hamp­ton Court Flower Show has ex­hibits of par­tic­u­lar in­ter­est to SA

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - LIFE -

KIRSTEN­BOSCH’S par­tic­i­pa­tion at Lon­don’s Chelsea Flower Show – 38 ex­hibits win­ning 33 gold medals – has pro­vided a di­rect in­ter­est for South Africans for decades. But for all of Chelsea’s pres­tige, the largest flower show in the world takes place at Hamp­ton Court Palace ev­ery July.

Much younger than Chelsea, the Royal Hor­ti­cul­tural So­ci­ety’s Hamp­ton Court Palace Flower Show was es­tab­lished in 1990, and takes place in 34 acres of gar­den sur­round­ing one of Bri­tain’s most fa­mous palaces. Sit­u­ated 20km south-west of Lon­don, this ma­jor mid­sum­mer gar­den­ing event in­cludes 34 gar­dens, 600 ex­hibitors and a spec­ta­cle of flow­er­ing roses.

Of par­tic­u­lar in­ter­est to South African gar­den­ers is the fact the Hamp­ton flower show fo­cuses on en­vi­ron­men­tal is­sues, out­door pa­tio gar­dens, de­signs by young land­scap­ers, school food gar­dens and grow­ing your own food. In 1998, a gold medal award-win­ning food gar­den cre­ated by the Ley­hill Open Prison at Hamp­ton Court Palace in­ter­est­ingly pro­vided the ba­sis for the film Green­fin­gers (2001), star­ring Dame Helen Mir­ren.

In­ter­na­tion­ally ac­claimed wildlife ex­hibits were to be seen at last week’s show. The Eden Pro­ject cre­ated a mas­sive but­ter­fly dome that fea­tured a mag­nif­i­cent ar­ray of beau­ti­ful trop­i­cal but­ter­flies, and an en­tire Bee Gar­den mar­quee pro­vided demon­stra­tions and ad­vice on gar­den­ing for bees and bee­keep­ing.

The gloomy re­ces­sion in Bri­tain re­mains a back­drop to all gar­den shows, and celebrity cus­tomised hen­houses were auc­tioned for char­ity at the show.

The large grounds at Hamp­ton Court Palace of­fer young de­sign­ers a plat­form for ex­per­i­ment­ing. A con­cep­tual gar­den cat­e­gory with the theme of “the chang­ing en­vi­ron­ment” drew a huge amount of me­dia at­ten­tion, and suc­ceeded in ruf­fling the feath­ers of many tra­di­tion­al­ists. Young de­sign­ers in­cluded a range of old fridges in one gar­den, and a gi­ant grass claw goug­ing the earth in an­other. Sev­eral ex­hibits were stylishly black­ened vi­sions of burnt-out forests – com­plete with 2m artis­tic flames and tomb­stones ded­i­cated to na­ture de­stroyed.

Among the 34 large gar­dens cre­ated by land­scape de­sign­ers for this year’s Hamp­ton Court Palace Flower Show were a num­ber of trends rel­e­vant to lo­cal gar­den­ers:

Multi-cul­tural gar­den­ing: Se­cluded, so­cia­ble pa­tio spa­ces are now be­ing de­signed to cel­e­brate and mir­ror the di­verse and dy­namic cul­tural make-up of mod­ern so­ci­ety. The vi­brant colour of walls and floor sur­faces, to­gether with sculp­tures and plants from across the world, re­flect dif­fer­ent cul­tures and hor­ti­cul­tural tra­di­tions – all in one gar­den.

The gold-medal win­ning “Lay­ers and Links” gar­den was cre­ated by a de­signer of Turk­ish de­scent who blended di­verse ele­ments – blue walls, artis­tic iron­work, pat­terned floors and English meadow gar­den – into a sin­gle gar­den.

The gar­den “Au­gust 1963 – I have a dream” cel­e­brated 50 years of progress in racial in­te­gra­tion and equal­ity since Martin Luther King jr’s fa­mous speech that month. De­signed as a place for con­tem­pla­tion, the gar­den in­cluded paving and wa­ter fea­tures in­spired by the Lin­coln Me­mo­rial in Wash­ing­ton. Blocks of plant­ing rep­re­sented racial seg­re­ga­tion and racial equal­ity, while wa­ter fea­tures with white and black wa­ter cas­cades flowed into the cen­tre of the gar­den to meet in a sin­gle pool.

Colour your gar­den: Bright colours dom­i­nated many of the pa­tio gar­dens this year. The “Four Cor­ners” meadow gar­den in­cluded only plants that flow­ered in sun­set shades of burnt or­ange, rust and gold. The de­sign was in­spired by the an­cient Cha­har Bagh Per­sianstyle gar­den lay­out, and was di­vided into four ar­eas by rills around a wa­ter foun­tain. Pic­ture frames on the fence of the gar­den were filled with minia­ture suc­cu­lents (Sem­per­vivum) in the tra­di­tion of ver­ti­cal gar­den­ing.

Bright or­ange was also the back­drop for a 1950s-themed gar­den which cel­e­brated the low-cost, high­im­pact era of “Mid Cen­tury Mod­ern”. In­spired by a vin­tage ad­ver­tis­ing poster, the gar­den in­cluded a pa­tio and pool in a se­cluded seat­ing area.

Blooms in red, or­ange and yel­low also dom­i­nated “The Hot Stuff Gar­den”, which had a cir­cu­lar ter­race with pa­tio chairs.

Food gar­dens: The Hamp­ton Court Palace Flower Show spe­cialises in cook­ing demon­stra­tions and food gar­dens. The most im­pres­sive food gar­den cre­ated last week was en­ti­tled “A mov­able feast”. In­spired by army wives, the gar­den showed how to cre­ate a food gar­den that can be trans­ported to wher­ever army fam­i­lies are re­lo­cated, mak­ing use of in­ex­pen­sive, colour­ful con­tain­ers.

The plant­ing scheme fea­tured the in­gre­di­ents needed for a feast, while a river of yel­low plant­ing sym­bol­ised the rib­bon of hope used www.lud­wigsroses.co.za DIS­TRICT SIX: A guided tour of Dis­trict Six with the Cape Nat­u­ral His­tory Club. To­mor­row, 9.30am-noon. Book­ing es­sen­tial. Con­tact Eleanor on 021 762 1779. JULY GAR­DEN­ING: A talk by Sandy Munro on what to do in your gar­den this month. Thurs­day: Stodels Bel­lville at 10am and Stodels Mil­ner­ton at 1pm. Con­tact Deirdre de Wet on 021 919 1108 or e-mail Deirdre@stodels.com www.stodels.com FYN­BOS: At­tend a talk on fyn­bos gar­den­ing with Jacky de Fynne. by mil­i­tary fam­i­lies when a loved one is away on a tour of duty.

Pro­mot­ing the es­tab­lish­ment of school food gar­dens has taken on a new ur­gency in re­ces­sion­ary Bri­tain. The Royal Hor­ti­cul­tural So­ci­ety’s Cam­paign for School Gar­den­ing uses the Hamp­ton Court Palace Flower Show as a stage to hon­our the coun­try’s best school gar­dens and iden­tify heroes in school gar­dens across the coun­try.

Not­with­stand­ing the glamorous plat­form given to Bri­tish schools at Hamp­ton Court, South Africa’s own school food gar­den­ing ini­tia­tive is Thurs­day: Stodels Ke­nil­worth at 10am and Stodels Con­stan­tia at 1pm. Con­tact Deirdre de Wet 021 919 1108 or e-mail Deirdre@stodels.com www.stodels.com ROSE PRUN­ING: At­tend a win­ter prun­ing demon­stra­tion. Next Satur­day, 9.30am. Western Cape Rose So­ci­ety, Dur­banville Rose Gar­den Club­house, Dur­banville Road. Con­tact Joy Webb on 083 583 3379. GUIDED GAR­DEN WALK: Join Heidi Timm for a stroll through Kirsten­bosch’s up­per gar­den. Next Satur­day, 10am to noon. Walk is free, but gar­den fees ap­ply. Book­ing es­sen­tial on 021 799 8783. still well ahead of the curve in­ter­na­tion­ally.

Es­tab­lished in 1990 by Food and Trees for Africa, and spon­sored by En­gen and The Wool­worths Trust, the Edu-Plant cam­paign has trained more than 40 000 ed­u­ca­tors in food gar­den­ing and green­ing for schools.

More than 600 schools across the coun­try are as­sessed an­nu­ally, and 60 make it to the fi­nals, with 21 hon­oured by win­ning in var­i­ous cat­e­gories. Last year, the top award for the best school food gar­den in the Western Cape was won by Ver­ge­sig Pri­mary School in Robert­son. PLANT HACK: Join a plant hack at Pringle Bay. July 28, 8-11.30am. Con­tact John White­head on 028 273 8807. RESTIOS, GRASSES: A talk on grow­ing restios and grasses in your gar­den. July 31, 10am. Morne’s Su­per Plants, 150m north of Tokai & Main roads, Tokai. Con­tact 021 715 4666. IN­DIGE­NOUS PLANTS: A talk on the prop­a­ga­tion of in­dige­nous plants, by Trevor Adams, hosted by Room­togrow. July 31, 10.30-11.30am. San­lam Hall (Gate 2), Kirsten­bosch. Talk is free, but gar­den fees ap­ply. No book­ing. Con­tact Cathy on 021 465 6440 or 072 201 2535.

LAY­ERS AND LINKS: A de­signer of Turk­ish de­scent cre­ated this se­cluded, so­cia­ble space, de­signed to cel­e­brate and mir­ror the di­verse and dy­namic cul­tural make-up of mod­ern Bri­tain.

AT HOME: Two large arm­chairs are at the cen­tre of a gar­den en­ti­tled Home Spun.

BUT­TER­FLY HAVEN: But­ter­fly gar­den­ing was pro­moted in a but­ter­fly dome, a re-cre­ation of the Eden Pro­ject’s fa­mous Rain­for­est Biome in a 25mdi­am­e­ter, 9m-high dome.

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