Hampton Court Flower Show: Sunshine Garden



Set in the historic grounds of Hampton Court Palace, on the banks of the Thames, the Hampton Court Flower Show is a lower key, more informal event than the Chelsea Flower Show in May. This summer there is a serious drought in south-west England so there is a "hose pipe ban"--that means no sprinklers on the lawn, only watering cans permitted. The English take this restriction very seriously. In response to this and the larger issue of climate change, the Mayor of London has sponsored a "Sunshine Garden" at the Show. Designed to resemble a typical London back garden, it is made entirely from recycled or sustainable products and is full of water saving ideas that can be applied anywhere. The designer, Paul Stone, has included a compost bin, a wormery, and water butt (plastic barrels for collecting water). There are no hanging plants because they absorb too much water. He has used a mixture of native and Mediterranean plants such as geraniums, cosmos and rosemary. Vegetables that require less watering such as rhubarb, french beans, carrots, asparagus and beet root are being grown. There is an insect hotel made from recycled London Gin bottles. The paths are made of reclaimed bricks, the "lawn" is chamomile which requires no mowing and the hedges are lavender, so they add vibrant colour and smell wonderful. Gabion fences contain recycled clay pots and provide nesting places for insects. There are several shady areas for sitting, and for moving the potted plants so that they won't dry out so quickly. At the rear is a red double-decker London bus for viewing the panorama. :: Royal Horticultural Society

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