If you could pick just four words that summed up this year’s RHS Hampton Court Flower Show, then they would be Shakespeare, roses, and vintage style.
Hampton Court is justly famous for its roses and in the Midsummer Rose Festival you could wallow in banks of beautiful scented roses against a background of figures in impressive Tudor costumes, all on loan from the Royal Shakespeare Company….
The Bard was everywhere, not just in the rose marquee, but in the six show gardens based on his best loved comedies; a recreation of how his allotment would have looked (should he have had one) and even a Shakespeare themed scarecrow competition for the children to enter.
This is the RHS’s 21st flower show at Hampton Court, and it’s always fun to visit because you never quite know what you might find here.
It seems a little more relaxed than the Chelsea Flower Show in its approach to its gardens, hence you come across Dalmatian dogs made out of Lego, giant pink taps suspended in mid air and even the occasional tractor.
But the show is not all historical and old world, despite being set in the grounds of one of the great Tudor Palaces. Hampton Court is unique within the RHS shows by having the category of ‘Conceptual Gardens’, where innovative designers are invited to think ‘outside the box’.
These gardens are always fascinating; some of them are practically a work of art. Pansies growing through giant cracked paving slabs and a planting of birch trees at 45° with a life size wicker man pushing valiantly against them were just some of the more thought provoking gardens which did leave a few visitors scratching their heads.
There is always some floristry to get excited about at all the RHS shows, and although there was less at Hampton Court this year than normal, what was there was bang up-to-date – in an old-fashioned sort of way!
As any bride will tell you, the buzz word in flower style this year is vintage, and there was no shortage of it on display in the Vintage England Floristry marquee.
There were delicate china cups filled with miniature roses and old fashioned tins just brimming with wild flowers and grasses. Add in some home-made bunting and all that was needed was a cake stall to complete the village fete feel.
Of course, it’s illegal to collect wild flowers, and the disadvantage of using garden flowers is that they don’t have the lasting qualities of the cut flowers from your local florist, but don’t despair!
You can create your very own vintage look at home with a selection of the following, all available as commercially grown flowers from your local florist.
Try mixing cornflowers, snapdragons, Alchemilla mollis, and Ammi visnaga (which is a posh name for a flower that looks like Cow Parsley) in an old fashioned china or terracotta jug for the same natural effect.
And if you want some real country chic, then simply add in a few scented roses and you can have vintage style, a la Hampton Court.
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