Say it with flowers

…and a crown

When Surrey based garden designer Selina Botham  won Gold and Best in show for her debut show garden in 2008, she was just out from college. This year, with five years experience as a garden designer, Selina is back at Hampton Court.

 Having been selected by Plant Heritage and the RHS, her design is the central feature in the Plant Heritage marquee and will be opened by Sophie Countess of Wessex on 8th July. Understandably she is anxious to impress and with the added pressure of the Lindley educational criteria, as well as working with some unfamiliar plants, Selina is hoping she’ll be able to get Gold again. 

Plant Heritage is celebrating 35 years and the design is intended to be a visual representation of what Plant Heritage does. “I know its an old expression but I am hoping that ‘saying it with flowers’ (and of course a crown) will really help Plant Heritage get the message across.”

Tom at Sir Harold Hillier Gardens who is doing a great job growing the majority of the plants for the Hampton court exhibit

Tom at Sir Harold Hillier Gardens who is doing a great job growing the majority of the plants for the Hampton court exhibit

The symbolism of the feature is quite strong, with the crown representing plant heritage, encircling and protecting the plants within.   The national plant collections are depicted as the ‘jewels within the crown’. There are six hundred and forty national collections, so the twenty of so featured are just a small selection of the total.  The planting is rich and full and varied, like the collections.

a volunteer's house... she  has campanulas everywhere in her quest to keep the precious flowers cool and away from the bees (to preserve the flowers for long enough to make it to the show)

a volunteer’s house… she has campanulas everywhere in her quest to keep the precious flowers cool and away from the bees (to preserve the flowers for long enough to make it to the show)

Some of the larger collections, such as trees, will be represented through carvings of their seeds and the central sculpture is of the number thirty five carved into a mighty Oak.  Selina has been collaborating with Chain saw artist Ella Fielding who has managed to get the feeling of the numbers emerging from the Oak tree itself.

Ella and Selina

Ella and Selina

A number of stray plants outside of the protection of the crown will illustrate that not all plants are currently protected within a National Collection. Selina explains that these plants may get trodden on and could even die off as the week goes on. “This is intentional and indicates that there is still much to be done to continue the vital conservation work of Plant heritage,” she said. 

The Plant Heritage Marquee is adjacent to the Floral Marquee this year as part of the RHS’s new ‘Grow’ zone.  Selina will be available every day from 11-12 to talk about the display and point out some of her favourite plant heritage gems.

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