Want to get news alerts delivered direct to your inbox?Edit your email preferences
Hampton Court Palace Flower Show is coming over all poetic this year with a range of gardens based on poems from some of Britain's best loved and highly esteemed poets. From the quirky world of the Jabberwocky to the mournful lost love of Bryon, visitors to the gardens will be immersed into imaginative new worlds that beautifully present the poems.
The Poets' Gardens illustrate a creative interpretation of six poems by six diverse designers. Drawing on the landscape and symbolism of the poems, the designers have created six visually exciting concepts. Walk in the steps of Kipling as he searches the sea for his lost son; discover a witch below Mont Blanc or watch out for the dangerous Jabberwocky at every corner. There is something for everyone in these glorious Gardens.
Keats' 'On The Sea' designed by Barry Chambers
Keats writes of how the sea has a way of washing away the mundane, stressful ties of human existence with its wild unbound nature. This garden symbolises the sea with its wild, unbound nature through clever use of planting and simple colour palette.
Visitors look through into this sea cavern through a large cliff-like archway with three faces of the Titan God's of the Sea peering down and see how plants are used to create images of the sea, both above and below the water with lettuces and seaweeds. The pathway is made of natural materials and the planting pattern represents the idea of waves and the sea.
Barry Chambers is an excellent plantsman who firmly believes 'Gardens are metaphors and gardening abounds with them'. He has won 'Best in Show' at Malvern, 2010. He has been gardening professionally since 1996 with 'Changing Spaces'.
Shelley's 'Mont Blanc' designed by Jayne Thomas
The poem Mont Blanc shows Shelley's appreciation of the power and majestic nature of the mountain Mont Blanc. Shelley was fascinated by folklore and witchcraft and like the mountain itself, the legends that surround witchcraft and its folklore are dramatic and represent forces of nature.
The garden design is based on a witch's knot pattern and uses elements in the threes as the number 3 is significant in witchcraft iconography. At the centre is the mountain and 'a vast river Over its rocks ceaselessly bursts and raves' down to a waterfall with a cave and the witch hidden behind. The lush river bank and meadow planting draws the viewer's eye to the waterfall and brings warmth to the contrasting white topped peak and conifer trees. A swirl of blue planting represents the glacier 'Glace de Mer' for which Mont Blanc is famous for.
Jayne Thomas is a keen gardener who trained on a RHS Diploma (Horticulture) level 3 and a three year BA Hons degree completed 2009. She won silver at Hampton Court in 2010.
Byron's 'Loves Last Adieu' designed by Yvonne Matthews
Yvonne Matthew's interpretation Loves last Adieu embraces aspects of romanticised loss. Featuring a breathtaking range of over 3,000 bedding plants and a range of unusual plants from black petunias to creeping roses, the garden has a range of colours that embrace the colours and themes of the poem and uses Myrtle and roses that are mentioned in the poem.
The garden's shape is based on a Victorian hearse. There is a square pecloa made of drainpipes full of funeral coloured flowers, failing dreamily from this is Dichondra 'Silver Falls'; which invites the visitor to peer though to see the large urn. This urn is a beautifully captivating metaphor for the 'love lost' with Petunia 'Black Velvet' and Euphorbia 'Breathless White' spilling from it.
The garden is being sponsored by Co-operative Funeralcare and has enlisted the help of a funeral director and his staff to help erect this stunning garden.
Yvonne Mathews was discovered by Robert Hardy of Hardy's Cottage Garden Plants in 2001. Since then, she has gone on to win eight silver gilt and silver RHS medals. Yvonne previously worked in patchwork quilting and had a craft shop, but after having a second child, went back to local college to study garden design. Yvonne lives on the Isle of Wight.
Kipling's 'My Boy Jack' designed by Heather Appleton
This garden has many startling symbols themed around the poem My Boy Jack, which describes Kipling's search and wait for news of his son Jack, lost in France during the First World War.
The garden is based on evergreen blocks of yew rising uniformly above the grasses. Shading these are Lombardy Poplars - so typical of French countryside - and represent Kipling's longing for news from France. Interspersed are contemporary sculpted birds that soar above the landscape. The garden is set by the sea with overhead sails marking the garden entrance offering shelter over the not entirely comfortable rock seats symbolising Kipling's line 'Oh dear, what comfort can I find?' The planting is deliberately simple and remind us of lost lives like the poem; waves of grasses and blood red poppies catch the breeze moving like the 'tides' of the sea. Most hauntingly the boardwalk path which acknowledges Kipling's long search for news of his son, leads nowhere.
Heather Appleton trained at Leeds Metropolitan University graduating in 2009 with a BA in 'Garden Arts & Design'. She has previously received two gold awards at 2007 Tatton Park Anthony Nolan Trust and in 2010 at the BBC Gardeners World Live NS&I. Heather believes that Kipling's poem has stood the test of time due to its themes and its simple delivery of a message of loss.
Lewis Carroll's 'Jabberwocky' designed by Bill Butterworth
'O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!' He chortled in his joy'. This garden takes inspiration from the marvellously imaginative world of the Jabberwocky in particularly the moment of denouement when the hero faces down his fears and the Jabberwocky, who previously seemed monstrous, has now been resolved harmoniously into an opportunity for musical creativity and personal transformation. The main structure of the garden is a sunken seating area with the 'Jabberwocky ramp'.
The purpose here is twofold, first to dramatise the descent to earth of the 'defeated' monster and secondly to reinforce the sense of nurturing enclosure initiated by the box/mirror hedge structure. The area is fit for play with 'Tulgey Wood' transformed into 'whiffling' Silver Birch and the 'wabe' being a sensuous walk composed of chamomile and other aromatic species. These themes in the garden support its purpose as the garden is being designed and built by the Kids Company in Kenbury, South London. Bill Butterworth has used the Jabberwocky to support the charities ethos of transforming damaged lives by creating a space made of lots of recycled materials and a perfect haven for musical creativity and self expression for the charities young people.
Bill Butterworth has designed and built gardens for almost twenty years across the North East of England, Yorkshire and currently East Anglia. During this time he has designed and built two previous RHS Show gardens. The first won a Gold Medal at BBC Gardeners World Live at the NEC, the second a Silver Medal at RHS Chelsea Flower Show.
Wordsworth's 'Rural Architecture' designed by Nick Buss
Rural Architecture is a poem set in rural Lake District during the 1850-60s and involves boys climbing a crag and building a giant out of stone which gets destroyed by the time they come back. Nick Buss is providing a 'slice of the Lake District' within the heart of Hampton Court with real dry stone walls and scrubs native to the area saved from the Wildlife Trusts property. The garden will bring together the story from the 1850s.
Nick Buss's first small garden exhibit which he designed on behalf of Owlsmoor Primary School 'Learning to Grow, Growing to Learn' won a Gold medal in 2009, followed by achieving a bronze medal in 2010 for his garden 'Work Rest Play'.
The Hampton Court Palace Flower Show (5-10 July 2011), for tickets: 0844 338 7528 or www.rhs.org.uk/hamptoncourtpalace
RHS show information: 020 7649 1885 or www.rhs.org.uk/hamptoncourtpalace
On Facebook: Search for Hampton Court Palace Flower Show or go to http://www.facebook.com/pages/Hampton-Court-Palace-Flower-Show/118231588253099