Floral Finds at Hampton Court

I thought I would share with you my favourite flowers in The Floral Marquee at RHS Hampton Court on Monday.

Before this, I made sure to pop in to the ‘Festival of Roses’ exhibit.  I did try to like the other rose growers’ stands, and the Peter Beales stand was quite nice.  But rather like at a school play where you enjoy the performances of the other children, you are just bursting with pride when you see your own child up there.  You only really have eyes for them when they are on stage.

It was very quiet at this time in the morning, and I spotted Rosarian Michael Marriott being interviewed.  No one else was around, so I earwigged a bit, whilst sniffing some of my favourite roses.  ‘Desdemona’ was particularly fragrant.

Rosa ‘Desdemona’ RHS Hampton Court 2018

The roses looked a little odd in the bright white indoor lighting of the marquee.  I will try to remember this the next time I see myself in the mirror under harsh strip lighting. We all look better in natural light.


I found myself hanging on Michael’s every word, and a dozen questions popped into my head, but the interviewer would go on.  I sniffed a few more roses.  The journalist finally started packing up her recording equipment.  I was just about to approach Michael when another interviewer appeared, asking for five minutes with Michael Marriott.  Being a  nice person though, he said that I had been waiting first.


We talked about flower-form and fragrance, and how much this varies. Obviously I could have chatted all day, but was conscious that Michael was a man in demand.  I was touched that he was happy to talk to a humble blogger.


Rosa ‘Young Lycidas’

I heard one radio interviewer later saying that she couldn’t stand gardening.  I expect this comes across to the exhibitors, who have put their heart and soul into this show.  So maybe it is nice for them to mix it up a bit with genuine enthusiasts.  And you can’t get much more enthusiastic than a garden blogger.

I had to cross ‘The Long Water’ to get to the Floral Marquee.  I was stopped in my tracks by this allium sculpture by Ian Gill.

Ian Gill sculpture.

The first exhibit on entering the Floral Marquee was the National Dahlia Collection.  If you love ‘Café au Lait’ you are probably going to like ‘Café au Lait Royale’ even more.  I do.

Dahlia ‘Café au Lait Royale’

Then there was ‘Hardy’s Plants’ who are introducing this new Crocosmia, ‘Firestars Scorchio’.  It was very appropriate.

Crocosmia ‘Firestars Scorchio’

I didn’t note the nursery for this Echinacea ‘Hot Papaya’.  Echinacea doesn’t like me.  It sulks in my wet clay over winter.  So I have to enjoy it elsewhere.

Echinacea ‘Hot Papaya’

The Roualeyn Fuchsias stand was my favourite.


I love the colour variations you get between the newly opened and the mature flowers.

Fuchsia ‘Hermiena’

This next combination was my favourite of the whole marquee.

Digitalis ‘Ilumination Raspberry’ and Achillea ‘Salmon Beauty’

I had a lovely chat with a woman from Plant Heritage.  They are the organisation who overseas the National Collections.  I was completely taken with this Geranium nodosum ‘Fielding’s Folly’.

Geranium nodosum ‘Fielding’s Folly’

I could have included all the ‘Halo’ hollyhocks, but will limit myself to Alcea rosea ‘Halo Apricot’.  I grew this from seed last year, along with ‘Halo Cerise’ and ‘Halo Lavender’.  There is also ‘Halo Blush’ and ‘Halo Candy’ and ‘Halo Cream’ and they are all as lovely as one another.

Alcea rosea ‘Halo Apricot’

I have never grown Cleome, but this photo tempts me.

Cleome ‘Violet Queen’

I will leave you with another Dahlia, ‘Marble Ball’.  I do love a splish-splashy petal.

Dahlia, ‘Marble Ball’

Which is your favourite?  Would you have been tempted to buy?

My aim on this site is to share the sense of wonder I get from gardening and being outdoors.

If you would like to join the joy, click on the ‘Follow’ button at the end of this post. You will receive an email each time I post a little pop of wonder.

28 Comments Add yours

  1. Your flower photographs are amazing, Ali. I especially love Digitalis ‘Ilumination Raspberry’ and Achillea ‘Salmon Beauty’ and Fuchsia ‘Hermiena.’ The hot papaya and dahlia are wonderful too, as is that sculpture. 🙂

    1. Ali says:

      Thank you! I worried that my photos weren’t that good. I think I am really tired! Thank you for your lovely comment. x

      1. Ali, I can’t believe you would feel even the tiniest shred of doubt about your photos. They are truly beautiful. 🙂

      2. Ali says:

        Thank you, that is very sweet of you. I think I was just totally exhausted and self-doubt tends to creep in when I’m tired.

  2. I adore the Ian Gill sculpture, such a clever design! And the Echinacea “Hot Papaya” is wonderful! Thanks so much for your coverage of this show!

    1. Ali says:

      It was my pleasure! Yes, I loved the way a few little florets were lifting off. Gorgeous.

  3. bcparkison says:

    Yes your photos are good enough. I’m not a fan of cleome. I once had some given to me and it took years to get rid of them. They reseed everywhere .Crocosmia I love. Mine are having a hard time gettin to bloom. They are almost laying flat. maybe I need to thin but I think I have done that. I do enjoy your trips to the flower shows.

    1. Ali says:

      Oh, that’s interesting re: cleomes. I may just continue to enjoy it from afar then!

  4. Sharon says:

    Fabulous photos. I love the colours of digitalis Ilumination Raspberry.

    1. Ali says:

      Isn’t it lovely? I’ve never seen a digitalis like it before.

  5. Eliza Waters says:

    So many lovely new temptations. Every time I see DA roses, I am tempted to get one, but I never get around to acquiring one. With a filled-to-the-brim garden, something would have to go… if anything, I should be downsizing as I can barely handle what I have. Thankfully, my garden style is cottage/wild, so I get away with more messiness than a more formal look allows. 😉

    1. Ali says:

      Cottage/wild is the best way to garden, isn’t it? Exuberance and joy all around.

  6. Wonderful posts about your visit to Hampton Court Ali. I grew cleome twice but gave up because they attracted lots and lots of aphids. The Hot Papaya would fit into my garden. I’ll have to see if it’s available here.

    1. Ali says:

      There was a lovely pink one too with a very similar flower form. I do love echinacea. Would love to see it growing in your garden!

      1. My echinacea is not quite blooming. It always seems to take a little longer up here on the mountain. I am way behind posting my flower pictures, but eventually I will get to them!

      2. Ali says:

        Fab. I look forward to it.

  7. Nat says:

    Ooooh the Echinacea! I am drooling. Love it! That one would have been my purchase 😊 Gorgeous photos Ali.

    1. Ali says:

      It is gorgeous, isn’t it?

  8. Heyjude says:

    If I had deep pockets then I’d love that sculpture! Otherwise I’ll go for the Echinacea ‘Hot Papaya’ – I like hot colours in autumn and my garden is a little lacking in autumnal flowers. However. Do the S&S like Echinacea too? I know they are fond of Heleniums.

    BTW – your floral photos are gorgeous. Do not doubt yourself.

    1. Ali says:

      I don’t know about s&s for Echinacea. I should say this very quietly, but our garden does not seem very s&s prone, so they have always left Helenium alone too!

      1. Heyjude says:

        Hmm… looks like I moved to the wrong county.

    2. Ali says:

      Thank you, by the way for your lovely reassurance!

  9. Penny Post says:

    I hope you don’t mind but you have been given a mention and link in my latest blog post Resistance is Futile.

    1. Ali says:

      Thank you so much! That is very sweet of you!

  10. I think I like the Halo hollyhocks the best. There is something about them that just says “cottage garden” and reminds me of England.

    1. Ali says:

      They are really evocative, aren’t they? When I got back from living in Australia we moved to a lovely little town called Tenterden, near here. There are hollyhocks everywhere in Tenterden: growing in any available paving crack down alleyways and the sides of buildings. They are so associated with me feeling like ‘I’m home!’ I will always have a special affection for them.

  11. Penny Post says:

    Great photos and nice to know your patience was rewarded. Love that sculpture, reminds me of some at Chelsea, if I won the lottery I’d have one in similar material.
    If it’s the colour of the flowers in your photos that you think looks wrong indoors it will be because you need to adjust your White Balance for the lighting they are using inside. Not sure if that’s what you meant or just that indoors in real life they looked washed-out.

    1. Ali says:

      I think the light/colour was like that in real-life too – the tents do weird things to flowers. I really notice that with the roses – I would love them to be displayed outside.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s