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Garden designs at the RHS Hampton Court Flower Show 2013 - a review by Tom Turner

I hope I am wrong, but I came away from the show with the impression that fewer resources and less design time is going into the Hampton Court Show Gardens then in the past few years. My suggestion to the organizers is to encourage the designers to focus, even more, on 'what you can do with your own front garden and back garden'. Much of the show is a gardeners market for plants and fixtures and fittings - so the designers might as well show how to do something stunning 'in your own garden'. It is evident that this is what visitors are coming to the show to see. There were some good, and bad, fountain, pools and water features on display - as shown on the below video.

 

 
Hampton Court 2013
Hampton Court 2013
My favourite design was Ruth Marshall's 'Cool Garden' intended for 'a new spa building within a large rural estate'. The design makes use of corten steel for the water channels - corten remains a much-underused material. Designers tend to love it but clients remain sceptical about 'rusty iron' in the gardens.
 
Hampton Court 2013
Hampton Court 2013

.My next favourite is Maurice Butcher's 'Between the lines'. This is a design which the garden owner could really make and really enjoy.  I can see myself sitting out there with a cold beer in weather much as it was for the 2013 Hampton Court Show: HOT!  The canvas would protect me from the hot sun and the waving grass would make me feel cool - and I would know that not too much maintenance was required.

 
Hampton Court 2013
Hampton Court 2013

Tony Smith's grass mounds in 2013 were much more appealing than his grass mounds in 2012 but, other than using them for show gardens, it is hard to think of a use for them

 
Hampton Court 2013
Hampton Court 2013
The Valley Garden by Sophie Walker is visually dramatic, calming and appealing - but it is a closer to a work of Conceptual Art than to a garden design.
 

 

Hampton Court 2013 Hampton Court 2013

Coints and Grykes (left) by Benedict Green worked well. But the pile of broken fridges did not. One of the staff manning the stand said I could 'love it or hate it'. I chose 'hate'. 'Tip of the Iceberg' by Caroline Tait and John Esling.