So, here we were, on the very first day of the show.
It's an exciting time in the gardening world. We prefer Hampton Court to Chelsea, as the latter is, to put it plainly, a little 'Knobby'
We had battled an M3 jam, but arrived in East Molesey in perfect time to have a coffee, before getting the boat that would take us to this years show. It was the first for Rebecca, and we hoped that it would inspire her, and not come across as just a 'trade show' or such like.
The emphasis this year was distinctly more on the retail outlets, of which there were many, but very unique and enticing. Although there were some 40 garden designs on display, most were fairly small, and consisted of very predictable 'fluffy' summer planting. It would seem that garden designers have ceased to take any real innovative chances.
One exhibit that caught my eye consisted of a rusty metal box, that when entered, shocked with an interior of mirrored walls, and a path that was flanked by flower meadows (all be it on a small scale). Not something that one would want to have in their own garden to come home to and relax with a beer at the end of a hard days work, but a unique idea.
We held back on the spending, as we wanted to see just what was on offer. An idea to replicate these ribbons in our Acacia trees was agreed upon.
One garden design, 'Brilliance in Bloom', designed by Charlie Bloom, was a little busy for our taste, but like most designs, had aspects that we liked. The mosaic in the floor was good, and the water feature was something that we have to have. We have been looking for a water feature like this, that we can both agree upon. Amanda prefers more contemporary designs, and I like things more along the lions head spewing water, or a tiered rock effect. This satisfied both of us, and we have since been in touch with Charlie Bloom and are going to try and get one.
The three of us scrutinised each design as we came upon them. Rebecca didn't like the bold yellow backdrop of this one. I did, and all made for some interesting discussion.
The detail in these rusty panels was beautiful (it would appear that I have a 2018 'Rust Thing' going on. If you can magnify the image, you may hopefully appreciate the detail even more.
Rotating pods, what can I say. Amanda and Rebecca like them, I could be persuaded, but not for £9000.00
Lunch was a simple affair. Sandwiches, crisps, and a bottle of Moet, taken by the cooling fountains on the lake.
This sculptors work was a little unsettling, but pulled us in nonetheless. I particularly liked this one, but couldn't face him in my garden of a morning.
It was a hot day, 30 degrees, and people wandered about slowly. No rushing.
My own personal favourite garden design was by Rosemary Goldsmith. 'Best Of Both Worlds' was a design that could actually be adapted to any garden. It's described as being split into two halves, for two very different people. Jack and Sam, but I saw it as a very well proportioned quadrant, with each section offering something specifically different depending on ones mood. A low seating area around a table with a fire installation in the middle, for cool days with friends. Another area that had a cold pool surrounded by slabs, where one could relax on a hot day, with a book, thoughts, or in pleasant company. A third area, with a simple table and a couple of chairs, for morning coffee, and/or a glass of wine at the end of the day. The fourth and final section had a simple pot water feature, that brought a gentle and peaceful sound to everything. Stand by it, stare at it, and think, if ones mind can allow.
The hands were very nicely made, and very tactile, but not sure what I would do with them. I did like them. Maybe in a border somewhere?
This glass panel designer is always here, and we always make a beeline to see what's the latest on offer. Seriously good work, seriously good prices, but one day we will have a shower screen made like this!
My overall verdict on the garden designs on display? Lacking, safe, and sometimes concentrating far more on a 'message', than on what it is to be a garden that someone could enjoy in it's own right, and for themselves.
We didn't enter the vast area where plants were for sale. I think Amanda took pity on me, and decided that time was too short. We did however settle on this huge Buddha. Beautiful colouring, we had been after one, and picked it up for a snip. It was heavy, but that's the price of love. Further love was called upon for all of the ridicule I took when boarding the boat, and the bus to the park and ride. But it was worth it.
The girls toasted it with a couple of cocktails before we left. Appropriate? Don't care. It's a stone head.
And he looks rather good at the end of our garden!