Roses at the Hampton Court Palace Flower Show

Rosa 'A Shropshire Lad'

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’.

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’…

Rosa 'Desdemona'

…and one that always catches my eye, the bright yellow Rosa ‘The Poet’s Wife’.

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.

Rosa 'Strawberry Hill'

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.

Pink rose with a 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!

Mud wrestler

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!

37 Replies to “Roses at the Hampton Court Palace Flower Show”

  1. We didn’t get time to do the roses on top of all the other things I wanted to see! Great to see your beautiful images of a few of them 🙂 I had fun photographing those conceptual gardens!! Highlight for me was the butterfly dome. Exquisite planting to match the beauty of the butterflies themselves 😀

    1. I loved the butterfly dome too. I wish I’d had a bit more time to look at all the children’s space scarecrows. I left it till late as I wasn’t expecting there to be so many. The mark of a good show is perhaps that however much time you allow, you’d always like a little more (feet permitting, that is!).

      1. I don’t think there’s ever enough time to see the whole show in a day!! I think a lot of the space stuff will be coming to Wisley Gardens for the Summer Holidays as they’re holding a Rocket Science themed activity series. Think it starts near the end of the month!

        1. I love Wisley but not the journey to get there. I’m eagerly looking forward to the opening of the new RHS garden which will be much closer.

          1. Oh I’m really excited about the new garden but I have no idea when I’ll make it up there!! I’m very lucky that I live just a short drive away from Wisley 😀 We were there almost all day yesterday for Arts Fest during the day and Open Air Cinema at night! Can’t beat a bit of Dirty Dancing on a hot summer night 😉

    1. My favourite amongst these is the first one: ‘A Shropshire Lad’. It’s not fully open here, but I never get tired of seeing or photographing that rose.

    1. They do smell especially nice when they’re all together, but they’re never overpowering, like a room full of lilies can be.

    1. I’d recommend a stroll in an English rose garden for anyone who wants to relax – or a bath with a few drops of rose oil dispersed in it.

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