Hampton Court – Sand Dune Garden

Jul 12, 2010

This is my kind of garden. Reminding me of my youth on the coast of Kent – Sandwich Bay Seasalter and the Shellhavens all in one, this wonderful entry thatcelebrating the natural beauty of sand dunes and native vegetation is my winner at Hampton Court.

I had been called to the Hampton Court Show to do a small local press call for the Oxford Green Roof Company. Leaving their excellent entry with its various small scale green roofs, I stumble upon this apparently natural piece of sand dune, amidst the adornment, decoration and human designed gardens of the rest of the Hampton Court Garden Show.

Hampton Court - Sand Dune Garden
Hampton Court – Sand Dune Garden

Designed by three students from University College  Falmouth – Sue Radmore, Elektra Sanders, Scarlet Wheaton – the entry is entitled  ‘A Fable for Tomorrow’.

I love what the three students state as the concept and the aims of the project:

‘Our native flora is under pressure and many species are teetering on the brink of extinction. Helping to save those in danger and preserve biodiversity are seed banks, modern day Noah’s Arks for plants.

This garden comprises an old Cornish seed bank that has been split in half to reveal its treasures, which are held back by great rusty steel walls. Some seeds have spilled out to germinate around pools that reflect light from the copper core. Others have colonised the hill itself as they might do in the wild.’

Sand Dune Garden at Hampton Court
Sand Dune Garden at Hampton Court

I identified numerous plants form botanising on the Kent Coast as a youth and many plants associated with green roofs in London and elsewhere in London, Kidney vetch, Thrift, Vipers Bugloss and Bird’s Foot Trefoil to name a few. I also love the realism of the garden. The shakey fencing snaking around the perimeter, just like those used to give some semblance of stability [though with little effect].

Sand Dune Garden at Hampton Court
Sand Dune Garden at Hampton Court

Wonderful – and a joy amongst the ornate surroundings of the RHS show and Royal Palace.

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