RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show 2018

RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show 2018 is in full swing and it’s no surprise that temperatures this week and last have proved quite a challenge. There’s a lot of watering going on! All credit to the landscapers and designers who have achieved the following superb results.

The Landform Garden Bar

The Landform Garden Bar in memory of Matthew Bradley

The Landform Garden Bar - perfect for couples who want to entertain outdoors

The Landform Garden Bar is designed as an oasis for an urban couple who want to use the garden as an extension of their home. The original inspiration was the gardens of the Hotel Alma in Barcelona, but designer Rhiannon Williams has added a contemporary twist with our Jura Beige Limestone. “I prefer cleaner, crisper lines and with Jura you can get that precision.” And in this serene space, the sharp-eyed will notice poignant detail.

Rhiannon met her partner Matt Bradley at Hampton Court in 2016. “He was a stickler for detail and had a passion for stone,” said Rhiannon. After Matt tragically passed away in 2017, having helped planned the design for this year, she brainstormed with Mark Gregory (of Landform Consultants) and Craig Potter, our Garden Design Consultant, ways to bring Matt into the garden. “Craig led Matt astray at Press Day last year,” she remembers. “Took him off and I didn’t see him for four hours!”

Hampton Court Flower Show 2017

Hampton Court Press Day 2017 - Matthew Bradley third from right

The result is a beautifully subtle tribute. A number of the slabs have been engraved with lines of a poem that Matt loved. Others include his dates of birth and death and his signature. The work was done at our Bespoke Stone Centre. “I drew over it in Vectorworks and Piotr [our Design Project Managers] worked his magic.

“Matt was all about showing stone off at its best,” explained Rhiannon. “So we used a really thin font as it takes a lot of skill to get that precision. It tied Matt to the garden and shows potential customers that you can make a garden personal.”

Complementing the Jura Beige is the Moleanos Limestone countertop, which ties in perfectly with the Jura colour-wise, and makes a light contrast with the wood and metalwork.

The Landform Garden Bar featuring engraved elements

Bespoke detailing in tribute to Matthew Bradley, 26.09.1993 - 04.11.2017

“Working with London Stone is lovely,” added Rhiannon. “They say they’re going to do something, and they do it.”

We’re so pleased that our combined efforts resulted in a Gold medal for Rhiannon, and helped create a fitting tribute for Matthew Bradley.

South West Water Green Garden

The South West Water Green Garden by Rosebank Landscaping

Dappled shade falls across Jura Grey Limsetone on Tom Simspson's South West Water Green Garden

For the South West Water Green Garden, which promotes the sustainable management of rainwater, designer Tom Simpson also chose Jura Limestone, this time in Grey. “It’s one of my favourite stones from London Stone,” said Tom. “I love the colour and it’s full of fossils. I wanted something light to bring out the best in the planting and it contrasts well with the darker bricks.”

The stone circle is made up of large format slabs, which we chamfered at the edge to encourage run-off into the gravel fillets. “The half-bullnose treads have a drip detail underneath to encourage the water downwards,” he explained.

“When you’re building a show garden, it’s all about things that save time,” said Tom, “and the stone was just cut perfectly.  That’s what saved us time. And the slabs were numbered so the guys knew exactly where to put them.”

Congratulations to Tom for winning Gold.

The Best of Both Worlds

Rosemary Coldstream - Best of Both Worlds

The quintessential British cottage garden-look from Rosemary Coldstream

For Rosemary Coldstream this was her first show garden, and going straight to Gold is especially creditable, given that it was built by around twenty students, albeit under the watchful eye of Outdoor Room’s David Dodd and Mark Britton, and with support from BALI's GoLandscape initiative.

The garden shows two styles, for a couple with differing tastes. “It’s a simple design,” said Rosemary, “because you don’t want something complicated when you’re teaching.”

Reclaimed Yorkstone presented a challenge in laying for the students, as did connecting the paving circle to the path. “The setts are radial laid, and we’ve not pointed the inner ones. There’s a large gap so it’s easier.”  The Hard Buff Yorkstone Setts were sawn, but once on site Rosemary decided they needed a more rustic edge and had them tumbled for a minute in the concrete mixer. “I rubbed dirt into them too,” she added.

Best of Both Worlds - Bali Go Landscape

Adding a modern-twist - Best Of Both Worlds, Hampton Court 2018

Creating a more contemporary feel in the second half of the garden, Blue Grey Granite had been hand-finished on site and the colour enriched with Intensifia. “That can make areas where there is extra quartz in the stone more obvious,” said Rosemary, “so London Stone had given us plenty of extra slabs in case that happened.”

When we spoke to Rosemary before the final judging she was bubbling with how well it had gone. “We’ve had great students and apprentices,” she said, “and they’re all very proud and thrilled.” Being awarded Gold for The Best of Both Worlds is definitely the icing on the cake.`

The Entertaining Garden

Anca Panait - The Entertaining Garden

Time for gin! Anca Panait's The Entertaining Garden

Over at The Entertaining Garden, in the Lifestyle Gardens category, Anca Panait was using London Stone products for the first time. “They’ve been really supportive throughout. I called during the build because I needed more DesignClad and they were very helpful, saying I could have it the next day or go straight to their place and help ourselves. It’s a very stressful time and you need people who know the situation. I’d definitely use them again.”

The Entertaining Garden, which celebrates gin and its botanicals, is designed as a place for parties. Certainly the insects were having a ball with all the planted botanicals, chosen for their role in flavouring gin. Butterflies constantly danced through the borders and over the Grey Yorkstone plank paving.

Anca chose this paving for a very contemporary look and feel but staggered the width of the path and “pointed” the planks with a generous width of gravel for an informal feel. “It slows you down as you enter the garden, so you look at the flowers, and smell them,” she added. A bespoke-shaped slab of Grey Yorkstone was also used to break up the front of the bar, anchoring it firmly on the path while the colour of the copper was echoed by the gravel.

Creating a backdrop to the whole was our DesignClad Steel Corten. “It’s beautiful,” said Anca. “It brings everything together, matches with the copper but brings in a darker tone to create a bit of shading. Everyone loves it and keeps asking if it is corten steel.”

Congratulations to Anca for winning Silver.

A Very Modern Problem

A Very Modern Problem by Pollyanna Wilkinson

A perfect contradiction? Pollyanna Wilkinson asks questions of social media at RHS Hampton Court Flower Show 2018

Pollyanna Wilkinson plumped for a special order of Portuguese Moleanos Beige Limestone for her Silver Gilt-awarded A Very Modern Problem, in the Gardens for a Changing World category. This conceptual design compared the difference between someone’s real life and the one they might portray on social media: the messy, family garden full of gardening “mistakes” with the perfect image.

Ed Burnham, of Burnham Landscaping, said, “We wanted something very light in colour, but quite premium for a luxury feel, so we went through the options with Gavin (Walley. London Stone’s Production Manager). It’s a very dense limestone, uniform and CNCs really well.” This was important, as we not only cut three separate slabs from three scants, but also routed out grooves in all three. These were fitted with brass inserts on site, representing the connections of online networks.

“It has a nice crisp finish,” added Ed, “and was done to millimetre specification. Very straight forward to fit together.”

Brilliance in Bloom

Brilliance in Bloom by Charlie Bloom

Bloomin' brilliant! Charlie Bloom creates pockets of brilliance at the show

Brilliance in Bloom, winning designer Charlie Bloom a Silver, was once again, as she described it, “an operation in cooperation”, combining the talents of ten different craftspeople. “It’s all stock planting,” said Charlie. “Nothing’s been grown on; it’s all achievable and low-maintenance.” Creating a foil for the colourful beds was our Midnight Black Limestone.

Those with good memories will spot that Charlie used this last year, so we supplemented those standard size slabs with smaller slabs to frame the centrally laid mosaic by Nickie Bonn. “The stone’s done two shows now,” said Charlie, “and been battered about. It shows it’s good stone to come back that well.”

Garden House Design

Finally, as we told you last week, Garden House Design had their largest stand ever, using DesignBoard Luna and Slab Khaki and Slab Coke Porcelain to delineate the areas.


The large, airy stand provided an inviting pitstop for visitors, and the different materials not only delineated the three sections, but provided a clean, contemporary look that partnered perfectly with the Renson canopies. A very well-deserved 5* were awarded to Debs, Rod and their lovely team – well done one-and-all!

So that’s Hampton Court over for another year and we’d like to offer many congratulations to all the designers and landscapers and thank them for giving us the wonderful experience of working with them.

Don’t think we’re sitting here fanning ourselves in the shade, though. RHS Tatton Park’s rapidly approaching on the horizon!

Published 5th July 2018
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