Jul 142013

Athanasia Garden

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.

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  5 Responses to “Athanasia”

  1. It looks a lovely garden, quite Chris beardshaw’y, and I much prefer it to his Hampton one this year (I usually love everything he does but found the iron structure overpowering.
    Its interesting what you say about not having met Emma but coming into contact with people who did. My wife was a huge fan of Elspeth Thompson, sadly she never got to meet her. To be honest I hadn’t really heard much about her apart for my wife mentioning her book when she got it. A few months ago she was mentioned and I found myself reading her blog, and becoming incredibly teary-eyed (I can no longer go back to read it).
    We had a holiday in E Sussex last year and inadvertantly walked right past her old house, I’m kind of glad it was only afterwards that I realized that.

    We didn’t get to Hampton this year, how did you rate it compared to other years? (P.S The Ecover garden was a vast improvement on what they did last year…..)

    • Yes, so sad about Elspeth Thompson. I used to really like her writing. I was very moved by what her husband wrote on her blog.

      I enjoyed all the marquees at Hampton Court but most of the show gardens left me a bit cold. And they were very thin on the ground. Plus the layout was new, and a bit confusing and it was too hot to retrace my steps!

      I’m going to buy a piano when I’ve moved house. So I will be avidly reading your blog : )

  2. […]   Roll on two years and Barry Clarke is back again with choice specimens from his national collection (of 170 species and 30 hybrids), this time with cuttings aplenty. Not only did he have pom poms, but also small plants of  Rubus x fraseri, very similar in habit (and flower) to this gorgeous R.oderatus above. It does produce small quantities of edible fruits, so I’ll look forward to tasting these whenever they appear.  Although determined to leave the show empty-handed this year (there’s no room left in the garden), I departed from the Plant Heritage marquee with my two plants in hand and my heart full of joy! Thanks Barry! I loved Matthew Childs’ ‘A light at the end of the tunnel’ garden last year which was about recovery and hope after he was injured in the July 7th bombings. His planting this year on the Ecover sponsored garden was positively exuberant and deservedly won a gold medal and best in show. Flowing planting, winding paths and three interlocking ponds expertly illustrated the ‘Water is life’ message and with their supersized products, Ecover was none too shy in pointing out their role in sustainable use of plastics for their products! Water and wildlife friendly planting seem to feature in many gardens this year and I really liked how Peter Reader used rills to divide his garden into distinct areas in his Four Corners garden. Peter has just finished retraining from doctor to garden designer, and won the Provender Nurseries 2012 Student Design and Build Award to create his first show garden at Hampton Court. Impressive! And lastly (for this post), I loved the “less hard landscaping and more plants” ethos in The Hot Stuff Garden, designed by Victoria Truman, Liz Rentzsch and Marcus Foster. Taking inspiration from the planting in the Exotic Garden at Great Dixter, this simple but lush garden was, for me, equally best in show. Hampton Court Flower Show continues today and tomorrow (13 and 14th July 2013). More gardens and fab comments can be seen and read at Weeding the Web, Vegplotting , Alternative Eden and Through the Garden Gate. […]

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