My sweetheart and I were counting our lucky stars earlier this week to have the chance to preview the wonderful RHS Hampton Court Flower Show. If you follow my blog, you’ll not be surprised that almost my first point of call was to catch up with some of my old buddies who were doing some nervous, last minute petal tweaking (always a massive temptation) on the David Austin display moments before the judges arrived. I didn’t think they had too much to worry about.
Here’s a sneak peak of one of their new roses, Rosa ‘Imogen’.
While roses have to be forced to flower earlier than they would in the garden for the Chelsea Flower Show, for Hampton Court, some of the earliest flowering varieties usually have to be held back a little. There were signs that this had affected the colour of another new introduction, Rosa ‘Roald Dahl’, so I’m not sharing my shot of this one as it might be misleading: I imagine it will be more peachy in the garden.
Instead here are two recent new introductions, the delicate Rosa ‘Desdemona’…
…and one that always catches my eye, the bright yellow Rosa ‘The Poet’s Wife’.
Rosa ‘Strawberry Hill’, looking a little pinker than usual, was no less pretty for that. Where many English roses have matt green leaves, ‘Strawberry Hill’ has glossy foliage with a burnished glow on the edges of the younger leaves.
Before being hustled out of the Festival of Roses Marquee all too soon by the approaching tread of the judges, I took a shot of this pearlescent pink rose with a neat button eye.
Rosarian Graham Stuart Thomas once explained that this happens when roses have so many tightly packed petals that the inner ones are trapped by the stamens and ‘remain in an incurved cluster, shaped like a button’. It’s one of those tiny details that rosarians admire and I have learned to love too.
Not all the exhibits at Hampton Court were at the petal tweaking stage during our visit. The British weather is not always obliging. Last year we visited on the hottest day on record; this year it seemed as if rain had been more of an issue.
This muddy gardener may just have been cutting it fine to finish the design, but he appeared to be wearily wrestling with soil that had slipped away from the pyramid shaped, conceptual Wormhole Garden. I’m sure I won’t be the only one to see the irony in that. If you’ve already visited the show, please reassure me he got it finished in time!
I’ll post more pictures from the show soon, including some from the butterfly house, and a space age scarecrow as well as my favourite show gardens, but just wanted to post a quick reminder that the show is on for any readers who are tempted to visit.
RHS Hampton Court Palace Show Visitor Information
Address: Hampton Court Palace, East Molesly, Surrey KT8 9AU
The show runs until Sunday 10th July 2016. Gates are open from 10:00 to 19:30 except on the last day, Sunday, when the show closes at 17:30. It’s worth noting that garden gates all over the world usually shut at least half and hour before the official closing and no amount of pleading will reopen them (we’ve been caught out by that a few times on our travels). At a show like this, allow as much time as you can, as there is so much to see.
There’s still time to book ahead of your visit online and save money on the entrance charge. Be careful to use the official site.
One last tip – if you want to explore everything on offer, rather than just see and be seen, wear your most comfortable shoes!