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Perfection at 2012 Hampton Court Palace Flower Show

Thank you to Gay Nightingale for this show review

Maybe perfection does exist after all! Or maybe it was simply the impression gained by gazing at one spotless bloom after another. 2012 RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show does have a dreamlike quality.

The Coral Desert garden, located in the Conceptual Gardens area of the Show, helps draw attention to the world's coral reefs and the importance of preservation. Apparently, according to the garden's designer, Antonia Young at Pod Garden Design: '...coral reefs are home to 25% of all marine life on the planet and act as a nursery for about a quarter of the world's fish!'. Cacti and succulents had been artistically used to create an imaginative representation of a coral reef. The Coral Desert exhibit was supported by the Oman Ministry of Tourism and Samoa Tourism Industry.

The necessity of plant conservation has been gaining importance for some time. Over the centuries, gardens and nurseries have developed into a sanctuary for plants from around the world. Many plants have been saved from extinction in this way.

BBC presenter Alys Fowler formerly opened the Worldwide Conservation garden in the Plant Heritage marquee, where Christopher Brickell presented Dr Simon Charlesworth with the Brickell Award. The prestigious Brickell Award for Excellence in Cultivated Plant Cultivation is presented annually. Dr Charlesworth, who has held his National Collection of Lavandula since 2009 and runs his nursery in Tonbridge, Kent said: 'I couldn't have achieved it without my wife's help'. The Heritage marquee hosted seven National Plant Collections Holders.

A visit to the Hampton Court Palace Flower Show makes a memorable family day out. There are things to attract family members of various ages. But, as there is a lot of walking, it is advisable to wear comfortable shoes and bring any necessary items for the children's welfare - a warm fleece or jacket? The Show is wonderful - lovely plants, scents, colours, gardens; and numerous garden-related accessories.

Large marquees house flowers, fascinating crafts, organic health foods and much more! Restaurants, a variety of stands, food-stalls, ice-cream sellers, and the usual facilities are easy to find in the show grounds.

Special plants

Plants to look out for include Echinops 'Bannaituis' Blue - a deep purple-blue. Eryngium Jos Eijking has a lavender blue fairy-like lightness that makes this plant attractive. Both plants have long names, but these really exciting plants are bound to draw attention.

Unusual vegetables to try include Russian Tarragon, Artichoke Globe Green and Allium Fistulosum (Welsh Onions).

Other recommended plants to look out for are Achillea ‘Peach Seduction’, Achillea ‘Pineapple Mango’, Dianthus ‘Heart’s Desire’, Dicentra ‘Spring Magic’ (Angel's Fishing Rods), Geranium ‘Azure Rush’ and Geranium ‘Blushing Turtle’. It is worth checking out a variety of plants to discover the ones that will turn your garden, patio, or balcony, into your kind of heavenly scene.

New roses

Roses launched at Hampton Court Palace Flower Show 2012 include: 'Nelson's Journey' - a two tone pink with scented, semi-double flowers on a compact shrub. And 'Richard Porson' (pictured left) which has deep red buds and double, fragrant flowers on a compact shrub rose. The latter was named after a classic Greek scholar. These two delights are available from Peter Beales Roses. There are also many other lovely roses to admire and purchase at the Show, or to order from leading roses nurseries and garden centres.

Britain's largest flower show is open until Sunday, 8th July 2012. Further details are available from or for tickets TEL.0844 338 7536 quote HAML

It is time to order bulb catalogues ... time to choose bulbs to fill you with anticipation during autumn, winter and spring. Happy gardening!