RHS Hampton Show garden unites traditional and contemporary

Award-winning garden designer Rosemary Coldstream has designed a twofold garden, uniting country and contemporary styles, for her first show garden at this year’s (2018) RHS Hampton Court Flower Show.

The Best of Both Worlds‘ has been created for an imaginary couple who share a love of gardening but have differing tastes. One side of the garden displays a more traditional country garden style in a palette of blues, purple and pinks, while the other has a distinctly contemporary feel with a fusion of green foliage and splashes of bold colour.

Geometry plays a key role in defining the garden spaces with circular forms, a rounded water feature and soft planting beds in the traditional half of the garden, juxtaposing with the clean symmetrical lines of the sunken seating area and balanced seating zones in the contemporary part.

Each of the garden styles has a prominent water feature, chosen to reflect the style of the space, complemented by carefully chosen hard landscaping materials to match each scheme.

Typical of the traditional English garden, we find reclaimed Yorkstone and warm-toned bricks surrounding a urn-shaped terracotta water feature. The contemporary landscaping uses sawn-edged granite pavers to form a reflective pool and rectilinear seating area.

Rosemary (pictured above) uses opposing planting styles – in the traditional side she uses three multi-stem Crab Apples (Malus toringo), chosen for their natural look. On the contemporary side she uses Hornbeams (Carpinus betulus ‘Fastigiata’) to provide an architectural backdrop for the modern sculpture.

Rosemary points out that she has always been struck by how many couples have wildly contrasting tastes in gardens, so she couldn’t resist the idea of creating two very different garden spaces in a single show garden, to show the ‘best of both worlds’: “Each garden area has its own distinct personality, but they are also connected in a way that feels very natural and together they make something greater than the sum of their parts,” she says.

The garden is sponsored by BALI (British Association of Landscape Industries) as part of their GoLandscape programme – an education, skills and careers initiative, designed to inform and inspire new recruits and combat industry issues, including a severe skills shortage.

The show garden will be created by landscaping apprentices, trainees and students who are part of GoLandscape, supported by the RHS. Students from several UK colleges including Capel Manor and Writtle College, have been mentored by leading industry contractor David Dodd of The Outdoor Room, to enable them to gain invaluable industry experience working alongside Rosemary to create the garden.

Rosemary said:  “As a Director of BALI, it is a privilege to promote the GOLandscape campaign through my first show garden and take the opportunity to bring greater awareness of the wide range of rewarding career opportunities in the landscaping industry.”

The RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show runs from 3rd to 8th July 2018 with Show Preview Evening on Monday 2nd July. For preview evening and show tickets please visit: https://www.rhs.org.uk/shows-events/rhs-hampton-court-palace-flower-show

Photographs are ©Rosemary Coldstream