Sunday, 13 July 2014

Project 52 - Week 26 - A Visit to Hampton Court Flower Show

I've fallen behind a little on this 52 Projects blogging challenge, but this week I did manage to complete one project that I've been meaning to do for a long time now.  Being quite a keen gardener and living in London, I have always wanted to visit Chelsea or Hampton Court Flower Shows, but in over 15 years of living in London, I have never got around to it.  This year, I was determined it was going to be different.

A little while ago, I decided to book myself and a friend tickets to the Hampton Court Flower Show.  The tickets were quite pricey at £30, but as it was a once a year event and as I didn't manage to get tickets for Wimbledon this year, I didn't worry too much about it.  What's the point of living in London, if I can't have the occasional day out at a special event.

Anyway, the tickets came through very quickly and before I knew it, it was the day of our visit.  My friend and I met and took the train.  It took us almost two hours from catching the train to actually get through the gate of the show, we did stop off in the beautiful walled vegetable garden at Hampton Court though.  My kind of garden.  As walled gardens go, it was huge. (This was less than half of it!) You would need an army of gardeners to keep on top of it, not to mention a few hundred to feed, to use all the produce.

As a little treat, I had ordered us each a Hampton Court Flower Show shopper when I bought the tickets, just in case we decided to buy some plants!  We had to collect these as we entered the show.  They were quite attractive, so I'll be using mine again.

The show site was pretty huge and quite overwhelming at first.  We found ourselves needing to buy a brochure to find our way around, which at £4.50 was a bit pricey.  I should perhaps have checked for a map of the site on line before setting out, but I'm not so organised.  Anyway, it was incredibly busy and we were surprised at how many people had plastic cart trolleys to fill with plants.  They were a good idea, but had to be negotiated in a crowd.  This did, however, make me feel slightly vindicated in buying the shoppers.

We had a good look around the show.  The Floral Marquee was very interesting, although it was crammed full of visitors and hard to move around at times.  I loved this pineapple plant with tiny pineapples on it.

This display of all kinds of alliums was fantastic too.  They looked like fireworks.

In all honesty and without wanting to sound too negative, it was also sometimes a little difficult to get close to some of the gardens, due to the crowds, but we managed to see most of them.  Here are a few of my favourites.


We spotted Charlie Dimmock, who was doing a live talk on the Theatre stage and caught a bit of Toby Buckland's talk there too.  There were cookery demonstrations all day long although we didn't stop to watch.  Talking of food, we had a very nice lunch of Falafel and Mexican veggie burger respectively, from a healthy food stall, washed down with a very agreeable glass of Pimms.  As with all these type of shows, there are never enough seats for everyone and you invariably end up sat on grass at some point, if you are able that is.

There were hundreds of stalls at the show selling all manner of goods, gardening related and otherwise.  We were actually quite surprised at how much of the show is focussed on selling you things.  Having said this, I did, of course, buy a few things.  Two white clump forming geraniums for my border, a lovely creamy coloured scabiosa called 'Moon Dance',

a few Allium Christophii bulbs to add to the ones I currently have in the garden and a small, but perfectly formed, bird drinking bowl. So sweet.

The bag did indeed come in useful after all.  I could have happily bought a whole lot more, especially roses, various achilleas and some beautiful hydrangeas, but I couldn't physically carry them home on the train, so that put paid to that. 

I also was given a free pack of seeds from the Macmillan garden, which were Queen Anne's Lace or Bullwort, a wild flower that looks like a delicate hog weed.  Very pretty.  I'll be giving them a try in my white/yellow border.

It was an enjoyable and interesting day out and I am pleased that I finally got to visit and experience the show.
Joining in with Dreamer at Living a Slow and Simple Life in the 52 Projects challenge, completing a must do task every week for a year.


  1. It must have been an enjoyable but very tiring day. I think you'd need a week to go round these big shows and then you wouldn't see everything. I love your spoils of the day.
    Love from Mum

    1. It was really tiring I have to admit, but we did really enjoy it. We probably could have seen more, but didn't really want to queue or brave the crowds for some things.

  2. It was busy but I coped as I hate crowded things where you have to step slowly. Wonderful & will go again but not every year !

    1. Yes, I agree it was bearable for the most part. Not sure when I'll go again. Like you, I doubt I'll go every year. It has made me a bit curious as to what Chelsea might be like.

  3. I am spending time in the garden right now.