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Monday, July 14, 2014

Hampton Court Flower Show

The One Show garden
I decided to go to the Hampton Court flower show at the last minute, managing to get both a ticket and a day off work. It was partly to make up for the disappointment of missing the Chelsea flower show. Not only were we going on members' day, but we even had a delightful sit-down lunch to look forward to.  Unfortunately I indulged in oysters at a restaurant the day before and was stricken by food poisoning. So we didn't go.

I left for Hampton Court - 28 miles away - in good time and expected to get there just after the opening time of 10am.

I finally got in at 12.45! Unbelievable.

For the last seven miles it was nose-to-tail, traffic just creeping along a centimetre every 10 mins or so. I was relieved I wasn't with J. because like most men, he has zero tolerance of traffic jams.

By the time I got to the show I was feeling slightly frazzled.

It's vast, and very crowded. I didn't stay long in the flower tent because there were too many people. I took a few pictures of plants that impressed me. - see below, Meanwhile the rose and floral arrangement marquee was very disappponting. I'd anticipated being hit by the scent of hundreds of roses, but it was an olfactory let down.

The rose displays were underwhelming. I realise in July roses are past their past but I still expected more abundance of blooms from professional growers.

I perused some of the show guides and saw that Mary Berry was due to speak at 2.30 in the food theatre. I went over there at 2pm but the queue was already massively long so there was no chance of joining it and being able to get in.
The World War 1 display

On the plus side, the show gardens seemed easier to access than at Chelsea and looked better in real life than they did on TV.  There was a fascinating World War One section with a schools' scarecrow competition and trenches showing how the soldiers grew plants. There were some fabulous stalls for laydeez in the Country Living Magazine marquee. All manner of "tut," from jewellery to clothes and oil paintings.

 

By 3.30 I decided to confront the traffic again but first called by at some of the vendors selling plants (very good idea to site these near the car park!). I bought a few plants including three salvias, a penstemon, a couple of grasses and a couple more erigeron.

I may well go again next year but definitely by public transport, and with a partner in crime (not a husband....) to make it more fun. And I realised that I really enjoyed last year's Hyde Hall flower show, the nearest RHS garden to us. It may have been modest, with no show gardens, but it was a delight to get around and some of the plants I bought are flourishing. So that's a date for the diary towards the end of July.


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