RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show

Peter Morrell reports on a grand day out which had a distinctly international flavour

After Chelsea the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show is one of the Uk’s most highly rated horticultural highlights

The huge site in the grounds of the historic Palace is packed with great ideas many of them re-creations of gardens from both the UK and overseas. I was quite taken by the coastal gardens in front of quintessentially English beach huts and a range of American Gardens, including a facsimile of Thomas Edison’s garden, complete with Phonograph, at his winter home in Fort Myers, Florida.

One overseas garden that particularly caught my attention was ‘The Pazo’s Secret Garden’, celebrates the wonder, mystery and contrasts of the gardens of the historic Galician Pazos, magnificent palaces famous for their exquisite architecture and extensive gardens, where formal design meets the untamed nature of Galicia’s landscapes.

There was a lily pond and the garden was alive with the sounds of water running into a trough, at the end a secret door kept the mysteries of the palace’s interior hidden.

The garden designer was Rose McMonigall and I asked her where she got her inspiration. She explained that one of the key features of the garden was the Camellia, a plant which was introduced by traders travelling back from the Far East and thrives in the warm, moist Galician climate. The other main theme was the vines growing on the pergola. The grapes being grown make the very on trend Albariño wine.

Galicia is known as ‘the land of camellias’ and have become an integral part of the region. Visitors to Galicia can follow a dedicated ‘Camellia Route’; a journey that passes from northern to southern Galicia through 12 Pazos and gardens where the camellia reigns in all its glory. I could easily imagine sitting in a garden like this enjoying Galician seafood, reckoned to be the world’s best, while sipping a chilled glass of Albariño.

It was time to move on and at the Flower Show there was a wealth of things to see, the roses were magnificent and apart from plants there were many items to buy both for garden decoration and maintenance.

The icing on the cake and a big hit with the kids was the butterfly dome which housed 100s of beautiful specimens.

In all a great day out with the added bonus of a leisurely stroll along the Thames from the show ground to the railway station.

Next year’s RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show will be held on 3rd – 8the July 2018 visit: www.rhs.org.uk/flowershows for more information.

For more on Galicia or other regions of Spain visit www.turismo.gal or www.spain.info respectively.