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Plant writings, gardening thoughts & observations of Paul Hervey - Brookes, Award Winning Garden Designer & Plantsman.
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Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Hampton Court, Talks & Walks

On the social front I am fresh from Hampton Court. We had a good lengthy nose around on Tuesday and really enjoyed ourselves. The Show Gardens were all interesting from a designers point of view, it is endlessly engrossing studying the way people interpret the space they create along with looking and evaluating your own design take on the garden. I often imagine the gardens with ‘this’ added or ‘that’ moved slightly. I am sure many other garden designers would tell you a similar story. Being so large, I am sure there was plenty we missed. One thing which sets Hampton apart, like Malvern, is its setting. The Wren facades are your constant partner when walking the show ground and their subtle, rather understated but large presence it a lot to live up to as a designer when in such close proximity.


Naturally you take something away from going to the show and for me it was a beautifully constructed, grey painted Shepards Hut complete with wood-burner. Its proportions where immaculate, the height of the hut in relation to the wheels was actually a rather joyous affair. I have decided that this is the Office to aspire to!


The other more subdued feeling I took away from the show was, ‘Don’t look for more merit than your learning deserves’, take what you want from this but for me, the wider landscape of Hampton Court was an unquestionable lesson. Away from the din and razz mataz glamour, if you want, of the show and the right here and now, the architecture of the palace and the gardened landscape are there for much longer, lasting as a testament to well executed design. This is the same with a La Notre design its sheer brilliance doesn't persist due to a retrospective historical need. Far from it the French are a forward thinking people, in their V Republic, the gardens from Versailles, Vaux le Vicomte and the garden at Chateau de Gourdon have all survived principally because there were good enough to last.


The best show gardens last in photographic sense and the best designers will be commissioned to create lasting testaments to their skill as designers and artists using plants and landscape as their medium. I leave Hampton Court rather looking forward to Malvern Autumn Show. In just under 3 months time I will be there with all the other designers who have a passion for plants, gardens, and the ways they can be used to create a sense of place.


Now with one left to go on the 29th July, I thought I would just touch on the series of garden walks I had been asked to do at the Rococo Garden, Painswick. These walks have all attracted good numbers of people wanting to, rather nicely for me, spend an afternoon strolling the garden talking about its history and more often than not, talking about plants and gardens in general. It has lead to a number of other garden walks and talks with gardening groups which has been really enjoyable and unexpected. Luckily for me I love to be involved in a conversation about horticulture and you always find something out you didn’t know before and I have to confess I have been invariable invited along for lunch or tea and cake so I can’t complain.

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