Yesterday afternoon we felt very fortunate to be able to preview the flower show that is being held from 10-12th June at the RHS’s lovely Harlow Carr Garden. I’m sure it’s not a coincidence that the show is timed during the flowering of their blue poppies (meconopsis).
I’m planning a post about these very soon, but couldn’t resist sharing a couple of pictures in advance. Blue poppies have a unreal beauty that is almost startling: I’m sure I do a double take whenever I see them. The flowers tend to nod, so it’s easy to miss seeing the beautiful details on the sheeny, silken petals. I love the veins that ripple through the background colour of this flower as it shades from white to pure blue to purple. For me it would be worth the trip just to see the poppies, but there’s more. Much more.
The flower show itself would be less remarkable if it wasn’t in such an inspirational garden setting. At this time of year, thousands of alliums in the wide flower borders compete with the blue poppies for our attention, yet many would argue that the famous Harlow Carr candelabra primulas are even more spectacular.
I’ve tried several times to capture these vibrant flowers in a picture, but never feel I do them justice. It’s as if my iPhone camera lens is dazzled. Go and see them lighting up the long, stream side garden for yourself if you can.
A sculpture trail has been installed for the whole of June. I liked these ceramic badgers by David Cooke, available in a limited edition. They can also be created in bronze if you’re feeling flush!
Clusters of white, pavilion style plant stalls are scattered through the garden during the flower show. The format will be familiar to anyone who has visited the larger event at RHS Wisley. Specialist plant nurseries take part, many creating a small, inspirational garden vignette featuring the plants they have for sale. I’m always impressed by the quality and variety of plants on offer and enjoy the chance to meet expert growers.
This is a glimpse of a corner of Plantagogo’s selling stand. I find all kinds of shade plants fascinating, and consider one of their specialities, heucheras, as seriously underrated, so always make time to see what these people have on offer. It was great to see Corydalis ‘Blue Heron’ for sale as we’d admired it (or a very similar cultivar) in Seattle’s Chihuly Garden just a couple of weeks ago.
No British Flower Show would be complete without a little bunting. I’ve been meaning to get some for my house but keep neglecting to follow through with it!
Golden Hill Nurseries had blended pink hydrangeas with variegated, golden and bronze foliage plants in their vignette. On paper, I wouldn’t have expected it to work, but it was very effective.
Proctor’s Nursery’s colourful display included stately white bellflowers and orange echinaceas, softened by ethereal grasses and masses of feathery white flowers.
Their sturdy Verbascum ‘Pink Petticoat’ seemed more on the apricot side than the name would suggest, but was no less desirable for that.
My sweetheart was soon deep in a conversation with the nice people from Wack’s Wicked Plants, explaining how in his part of the world, insect eating plants grow in the wild, but more sparsely, and you have to risk encounters with snakes and alligators to get to them. Perhaps that’s why my picture seems decidedly askew.
Well, I can always blame that can’t I? I always get excited when I find myself in the midst of flowers so I was in several minds whether to focus on the veined patterns on the funnels, the unusual hooded flowers or on the whole scene. But you get the idea.
If you are planning to visit the show, try to leave time to explore Harlow Carr, including the conservatory, the kitchen gardens and the scented garden, one of my favourite places in Harlow Carr, where the roses and peonies are just starting to emerge.
If you’re overseas or not able to get there this year, I hope these pictures will give a flavour of the garden and the show.
Entrance to the show is free for RHS members and is included in the normal price of garden entry for non-members, making it great value. For more information, visit Harlow Carr’s website.