Published: 26 July 2013
Hampton Court 2013 Part 2
We continue our stroll around the Hampton Court Palace Flower Show 2013 and look in detail at a couple of gardens with a message.
The show gardens at this year’s RHS Hampton Court flower Show were divided into several new categories. From the mix of traditional and modern Show and Summer gardens in the “Escape” zone to the thought provoking Low cost high impact and Concept creations in the “Inspire” areas. 
 
Across the show site there were some great garden designs for visitors to see and get inspiration from.  
 

Cool blues in the Willow Pattern garden.

Young people were taking part in many grow your own project displays.

 

Green mountains with lake.
Two concept gardens were of particular interest, both were challenging the visual senses as far as use of materials and plants, both were sending out strong environmental messages at two ends of the spectrum.  

Both gardens were cleverly designed and built to enable visitors to walk round all four sides enabling them to see the great attention to detail and pick up on the story lines.  

Tip of the Iceberg

At first sight this garden, called “Tip of the Iceberg” may have made many visitors gasp at the sight of a pile of old domestic freezers piled up in a pyramid. However if they did take a closer look at the thirty six Zanussi appliances they would have seen an amazingly complicated structure with so much hidden detail they would want to walk around several times so as not to miss anything. 
 
The story has a several deeper story lines, quite literally because the pile of white metal units represent the tip of an iceberg, therefore the implication is that there is an awful lot more of it below the surface. The cut sections of buried freezers looked very much as though they did in fact go far below the surface of the Palace grounds.

Another design message was to highlight the fact that tens of thousands of freezers are dumped each year creating scrap ‘fridge mountains’ that emphasise the throwaway society we find ourselves in.  

Designer John Tait in front of his iceberg on a very hot
show ground with the shattered glass around the base
appearing as an inviting cool sea.

Great growing conditions for alpine plants are possible in
this fridge mountain.
 
Adding to the cold iceberg theme the fridge pile was surrounded by glass fragments that had been imploded by sonic sound to shatter them into smooth fragments with no sharp edges. The effect really did look like ice shimmering in the sun on the extremely hot press day. 
 
Back on the mountain side idea of the design, all the plants were alpine species that looked quite at home in their man made habitat.

As the designers, Caroline Tait and John Esling commented “We all have to make good from piles of waste if only we could think outside of the fridge!” This concept garden did remind visitors that it is possible to create something striking from the debris of the modern world.  
 
It is certainly a thought that our old fridges or freezers could be given a new lease of life as a feature out in the garden. With some imagination and careful design a new trend in planting troughs could be on its way. It may not be everyone’s idea of a plant container but these strong, insulated units could be used in the garden as raised, or partly buried planters for a wide range of plant species, especially to grow your own crops. 


Ashes to Ashes

In memory of lost trees, the red roses representing the fire raging through the blackened stems.
The second garden report is about a garden that gives an interpretation of the effect that tree diseases are having on our countryside. Following a disease outbreak, often the dead trees are felled and destroyed by burning. This concept garden highlights the destructive power of fire and how the chaos is followed by new plants that follow on giving a new look to the affected areas.
 
Called “Ashes to Ashes” the garden shows the burnt remains of trees and wood ash covering the ground, the red roses representing the fire raging through. The charred timber head stones are a reminder of the lost tree species. The spiral shape design represent the spiral of life and as the fire dies down the countryside is at a low point, hence the narrow channel in the centre of the garden. As new plant live begins to take a hold and grow however, the garden is seen to open out into a green and lush area with tree species that have repopulated the land. The trees used in this part of the display were micro propagated elms that will hopefully be the future replacements following the Dutch elm disease outbreak over the past decades.    
 

The continuing spiral of new life erupts from the devastation. 
 
Designer Bruce Waldock referred the design to “The spiral of hope, from negatives come positive outcomes” With Ash die back disease about to claim millions of UK trees this is a reassuring message for all of us to bear in mind. 
Reported by Chris Allen  
   
 

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