After the refinement of Chelsea, the Hampton Court Palace Flower Show is rather an assault on the senses. The sponsors’ messaging in the show gardens can be very in your face – a couple of years ago there was a giant pink tap to highlight the problem of weak bladders, and this year there was a giant washing up bottle lid and lots of bright recycled plastic in the (otherwise nice) Ecover garden. The planting often includes lots of clashing hot summer colours and it’s all too garish for me.
The Athanasia show garden was my favourite by a long chalk. It had really minimal hard landscaping (a big plus in my book), and a cool palette of shade-loving plants. It looked peaceful and inviting and like it had been there for a very long time.
I found out afterwards that the garden was inspired by the memory of Emma Peios, a garden photographer who died last year. I never knew Emma, but I know lots of people who did and were very saddened by her death. The garden was designed by Emma’s friend, David Sarton, and given her middle name, Athanasia. I’m sure this garden is a very fitting tribute to her.