The Garden Guide

Garden designs at the RHS Hampton Court Flower Show 2011 - a review by Tom Turner

I noticed three good garden designs at Hampton Court in 2011 - and found many of the others disappointing. There was a new section on Poet's Gardens, which seemed to bring out the worst in designers and the Conceptual Gardens section has run out of steam. My heartiest congratulations go to the RHS Edible Gardens display. I wish they could persuade owners with front gardens to use them for food, instead of paving them as private car parking areas. My other two commended gardens are Abstract Modern compositions.


The RHS Edible Gardens aim to combine 'use with beauty' - as all the best gardens do.

"I am, because of who we are" is a very puzzling title for an attractive composition, designed by Caroline Comber and Petra Horakova for CDN Consular Services. The success of the design rests on the contrast between the green delicacy of the plants and the rusty strength of the steel.

Paul Martin in association with Vestra Wealth designed the best garden in the show. It was inspired by the architect/furniture designer Eileen Gray and shows, as has often been done at Chelsea and Hampton Court in recent years, that there could and should have been Abstract Modern gardens in the 1920s and 1930s.

Though undeniably striking. The World Vision Garden by Plantify is only a visual stunt. It uses water and plants but it does not deserve to be classified as a garden.

Here are two good reasons for abandonning the Conceptual Gardens category, or else for re-defining its purpose.