The RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show is a horticultural world of wonders. Walking around the immense Floral Marquee always reminds me of where I myself started – in the floral marquee at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show – many years ago. It’s truly one of the joys of my year.
I want to share ten plants that took my breath away this week.
Named for its snail-like swirling pattern, the Begonia ‘Escargot’ is hypnotising. And it can’t help but draw in all who pass by.
It makes a stunning house plant and also a great garden foliage option for the spring and summer. It will have to be lifted or brought indoors before the frosts hit.
Crassula ‘Buddha’s Temple’
I can’t get enough of the incredible layered and symmetrical design of this striking little succulent. And if you have ever been to Southeast Asia, you’ll know it really does echo a temple in its look!
Notoriously easy to care for, succulents like this are a great choice for the home, and bring a totally different atmosphere to a room than your average plant.
Dahlia Honka Pink Edge
This delightful Dahlia will bring real elegance to your garden. The beautiful curled petals are enough to make this flower stand out. It’s the soft purple bleeding from the centre and at the edges of the petals make it unforgettable.
Dahlias can provide your garden with colour from July to the first frosts. You’ll have to lift them for the winter if you want them to survive for next year.
Floribunda Rose ‘Oranges and Lemons’
The Oranges and Lemons Floribunda is like an explosion in a paint factory – in the best possible way. Just look at it.
Great for large beds and mixed borders, this is a robust and disease-resistant breed, and therefore easier to grow than many roses.
Gloriosa superba Rothschildiana ‘Glory Lily’
This otherworldly beauty could easily have stepped out of a science fiction film. In fact it comes from the tropical regions of Africa, and it definitely earns the title of ‘showstopper’.
The Glory Lily is a climber, so give it a trellis. It likes bright, indirect sunlight, and if you’re growing it outdoors it will need to be lifted for the winter.
The marvellous little carnivorous plant will bring a unique style to your home, or you can even grow them in your garden. Most carnivorous plants would not do well outdoors in the UK, but this Sarracenia is the hardiest of all carnivorous plants. Coming from Canada and the northern United States, it has been naturalised in the peat bogs of Ireland. They are one of the least efficient bug catching plants out there, but they look fantastic!
Plenty of sun and water is the key. Rain water should always be used if possible, and no fertilizer.
Solenostemon Coleus ‘Inky Fingers’
Be bold – throw a splash of colour into your foliage selection with the incredible Inky Fingers. The intense purple and green tones create a magnificent look that genuinely does seem dipped in ink.
They like partial sun and plenty of water, and you’ll want to wait till the night temperature is well above freezing before bedding them outdoors.
These incredible little beauties are Bromeliads and ‘air plants’, meaning their roots are only for gripping. They take their water and nutrients from the air and dust through their leaves. This means you can make fabulous design features out of them. Mounting them on a piece of wood or bark and hanging them from the ceiling. These will really get your guests talking.
They do well in bathrooms and kitchens where there is more moisture, and might just need a little misting with water occasionally.
Aechmea Del Mar
Looking at the Aechmea Del Mar, you may feel, again, like you have walked onto the set of Avatar or some other sci-fi film. The Del Mar is actually a hybrid, but one of this earth, I’m afraid.
Another air plant, they are easy to care for – keep a little water in the ‘tank’ where the leaves come together, and make sure it is emptied and refreshed at least once a month.
Bratonia Shelob ‘Tolkien’ Orchid
Named after the terrifying spider, Shelob, from J.R.R. Tolkien’s ‘Lord Of The Rings, this mesmerising orchid has evolved to imitate the prey of the Spider Wasp. The wasp believes the flower is a spider, and as it tries to sting its prey it inadvertently pollinates the flower!
Orchids love humidity if they can get it. Give them plenty to drink, but let them dry out between waterings.