Fantastic florals at RHS Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival

This year’s Floral Marquee was a theatre of colour featuring world-class nurseries and a huge range of plants – here are some of the highlights

RHS Master Grower

Two fresh, colourful borders of garden favourites created by Rosy and Rob from Hardy’s Cottage Garden Plants, Hampshire, formed this year’s RHS Master Grower display.

It incorporated annuals and perennials, some of which were bred by the nursery such as Anemone ‘Frilly Knickers’ and others like the new Thalictrum ‘Chantilly Lace’ bred by others (in this instance Elizabeth MacGregor Nursery, Kirkcudbright).

The mix of perennials and annuals exuded a summery feel with the differing heights of the plants offering a range of views depending on where one stood.

Perfect penstemons

Penstemons were order of the day for GreenJjam Nurseries in Worcestershire with a pleasing display showing the many different flower colours encompassing this group of perennials.

The short ‘bedder’ series presented at the front of the display with taller, soft lavender flowing P. ‘Thundercloud’ at the back were complemented by scabious, grasses, theatrical blue veronica and dainty gaura.

Handsome heuchera

Deep purple foliage and dark pink flowers are characteristic of new Heuchera ‘Timeless Night’ which was on the stand of Plantagogo from Crewe.

Forming neat mounds, it was joined by H. ‘Timeless Treasure’ with rosy pink flowers and foliage decorated with pewter veins.

The nursery’s exhibit deftly illustrated the diversity of these popular plants – from leaf shape, size and colour to flowers ranging from white through to red and deep pink which are all at home in a variety of garden situations.

Succulents and perennials

From East Sussex, W & S Lockyer had a range of perennials and succulents tastefully displayed in terracotta pots standing on a slate base.

The range of colours and leaf forms of the echeverias, aeoniums and crassula were impressive with Aeonium ‘Medusa’ standing out for its red striped foliage.

Awesome orchids

Members of the Orchid Society of Great Britain came up trumps providing all the plants on the stand. The 18 different Anguloa, commonly known as the swaddled baby orchid, were fascinating while the centrepiece of the stand, a 12-year-old Epipactis gigantea,  impressed.

It was grown by the society’s Stuart Meeson who worked hard to ensure the plant was still in flower for the show. He kept it cold and dry during the winter, covered it with mesh to prevent insects from pollinating the blooms and during the heat in May had to cover the polytunnel in fleece to prevent temperatures from rising.

Alstroemeria and peonies

Fabulous displays of cut peony stems from Primrose Hall Peonies in Bedfordshire artfully arranged in ornamental copper urns formed this colourful display. The nursery grows around 70 different interesectional types and of note on the display were the soft blooms of ‘Etched Salmon’ and dramatic ‘Old Faithful’ with velvet, wine-coloured petals and yellow stamens.

The nursery has also taken on the collection of alstroemeria from Parigo, a business set up in 1938 growing and breeding these robust cut flowers. Representing the whole colour spectrum, the display was made up of the short-stemmed ‘Little Miss’ series suited to the front of a border or in pots, to the taller forms which are excellent for cutting and displaying in a vase.

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The Royal Horticultural Society is the UK’s leading gardening charity. We aim to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.