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Hampton Court Palace Flower Show

Slideshow: Highlights from 2012

By Susan Romanoff
Attendees of the 2013 RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show. Sculpted yews in the background contribute to this fairy tale setting. Flower show visitors disembark at the train station. Visitors walk through the grand courtyard of the rose garden, set against the backdrop of the Hampton Court Palace. Perennial borders in peak midsummer bloom at Hampton Court Palace. The Pimm's tent: a refreshing beverage stop on the flower show route. A common sight: rolling trolleys for treasures from the show. Concept gardens included bold, geometric shapes and uniform surface textures. Sleek, modern, glass environments and water sculptures contrast with natural materials and informal plantings. Edible plants worthy of the front yard. Pint-sized poultry add urban homesteading charm. Specialty plants on display include these sundew and pitcher plants: stunning, unusual centerpieces that "catch ants at the picnic." Dahlias for display and sale. Impeccably arranged alliums tease gardeners to possibility and perfection. Tiny succulent and alpine gardens have been popular in the UK for decades. They are easy to tend — even for apartment dwellers. Forming one of the most popular color combinations at the show, a foxglove (Digitalis parviflora) and pheasant's tail grass (Anemethele lessoniana) mingle sun-drenched terra cotta with the cool purple and blue of Salvia nemerosa 'Caradonna' and society garlic (Tulbaghia violacea). Handsome Corylus maxima 'Purpurea' adds purple-tinged leaves. More terra cotta and purple, with sunny yellow accents: Achillea 'Inca Gold' and A. 'Moonshine' and Digitalis 'Spice Island weave among clear blue agapanthus and blue salvia. Eryngium variifolium creates a hazy purple-silver foil. Classic combinations of white and green are always in fashion. At left, Betula pendula creates dramatic structure while Digitalis purpurea 'Camelot White', Ligularia dentata 'Othello' and Astrantia major fill in the understory. Right: Green and white get a dose of chartreuse as mophead hydrangea goes from bud to bloom. Hedera helix 'Gold Child' adds a touch of warmth while Euphorbia amygdaloides provides dark contrast. The 2013 show is July 9 to 14. To learn more, go to the [a href=""]Royal Horticultural Society[/a].

Our designers and buyers are always looking for inspiration. In the summer of 2012, a team from Gardener's Supply found plenty at the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show. Established in the early 1990s, this English flower show has become one of the world's largest.

At the 2012 event, featured in the slides above, we looked for trends in garden design, noteworthy plants, and gardening activities. We were pleased to see an emphasis on community gardening and grow your own. Great Britain has a strong culture of gardening, so the show is always spectacular. Plus, it's a pleasure to be among so many like-minded enthusiasts who have a deep interest in gardening.

If you want to attend this year's show, mark your calendar for July 9 to 14. Details at the Royal Horticultural Society.