Hampton Court Palace Flower Show 2012

Hampton Court Palace Flower Show open up its doors to the public today. Unlike it’s more famous sibling Chelsea Flower Show, Hampton Court is more accessible and relaxed, less celebrity focused. This year, many gardens were pushing for ‘get going and get growing’ and ran a socio-political agenda, which made the installations very interesting. We’ve listed our favourite ones below.

Chris Beardshaw – Urban Oasis

The ‘Urban Oasis’ took up a huge section of the grounds and was divided up into smaller ‘garden rooms’. The bleak abandoned car in one installation, encouraged the visitor to think about neglected urban spaces, which can be transformed into green patches, such as community orchards.

Robert Kennett – Las Mariposas

The ‘Las Mariposas’ garden also carried a political message. The cubicle with live butterflies, barb wire and tropical flowers draws inspiration from Amnesty International’s Butterflies of Hope campaign, intended to highlight women’s plight in Nicaragua.  The colourful butterflies, many of them native to Nicaragua, represent the hopes and dreams of Nicaraguan women, who are exposed to sexual violence and abuse. The Frangipani tree is impressive.

Matthew Childs – Light at the End of the Tunnel

‘Light at the end of the tunnel’ is an installation from Matthew Childs, which reflects the garden designer’s experiences after he was injured during the 2005 Edgware Road tube bombings. The shaded tunnel, which goes from dark to light, barren to lush, takes the explorer on an uplifting and hopeful journey. It won gold medal in the ‘Conceptual gardens’ category.

Nilufer Danis – Our First Home, Our First Garden

An inspirational garden in the Low Cost High Impact Garden category, was Nilufer Danis’s ‘Our First Home, Our First Garden’. In its beauty and simplicity (with yellow and blue colour schemes) it stood out among the more complex installations just because it was so accessible. Designed with a budget of £7,000 and low carbon footprint in mind, it felt very contemporary. Apparently, the judges thought so too as it received the gold medal in its category.

Don’t miss:

The Garlic Farm

Don’t fear the smell, head over to the stall in the Growing for Taste Marquee and catch the most beautiful garlic breeds you’ve ever seen. The Elephant garlic alone is impressive.

The Russian Museum Garden

Capturing the essence of St. Petersburg is exactly what Heather Appleton did with her ‘Portrait of a Masterpiece’. Hidden babushkas (or Matroyshkas, as they are called), a chandelier, a moat, topiary cupolas that mimic St. Petersburg’s skyline, were all among the elegant features.

Medieval-style garden cottage

Nestled opposite a water-squirting elephant statue (also worth a look) this cottage is well worth a visit. Its design is just the kind of old-fashioned style that can make a garden ten times cosier.

Find more images from Hampton Court Palace Flower show here, and if you’re in urgent need of a gardener after seeing these images, post your job here.