11 July 2013 By Billy Hawkins
Finally summer arrives with a bang and the sun has certainly been shining at Hampton Court Flower Show this week. Last year we had joined the National Trust Garden Collection stand and enjoyed the show, so this year we decided to jump in with both feet and try it on our own.
We ran a competition with Sparsholt College to find an emerging talented garden designer; through company consensus we chose Alice Wrightson’s design. Fantastically we won the “best in show,” trade stand! As you can imagine we are all feeling very happy with this team achievement and want to say a big thank you to everyone involved, including our marvellous friends at Thrive who once again have generously given of their time, expertise and crucially – plants! All the internal greenhouse plants and seedlings were supplied by the Thrive gardening team. Helen Elks-Smith, an award winning garden designer, visiting our stand yesterday told me why she thought we had won our award. "The stand is not all about product placement, there is a sense of placing the greenhouse to its best advantage but it isn't being shoved down the throats of visitors...Showing the greenhouse in such a natural way certainly helps people imagine it in their own garden."
We are always happy to see past Alitex customers for a cool drink and yesterday I met a number of our greenhouse owners who shared with me their delight. What I gleaned from everyone was a sense of pride in their greenhouse – they loved giving strangers who admired their greenhouse from over the boundary hedge a quick tour! There was also the excitement and anticipation of the order being placed and then the greenhouse being built; the greenhouse was often a gift to themselves or from someone else, adding to the feeling of childhood Christmases. A total feeling of happiness and earned indulgence, so as you can imagine, very enjoyable to hear such feedback and positivity.
Visitors to RHS shows seem to have a favourite but I’m not sure I can easily compare the shows – they all seem to have their appeal and differentiating factors. At RHS Hampton, it’s definitely the luxury of space and somewhere to sprawl your picnic rug. After a morning of wandering the stunning floral tents – of particular note, the Rose tent smelt heavenly, and the creative show gardens, Hampton offers the option of flaking out for a nap by the water.
There was a butterfly “experience”, at Hampton this week and as I was in the Mottisfont greenhouse yesterday I suddenly realised we had been joined by the hugest of black and yellow butterflies, certainly not something you find on your brassicas. In a display of good taste, the butterfly had found sanctuary in our greenhouse.
The show finishes on Sunday so you have a few days left to come along and see us on stand E102 – with a fridge full of cold drinks, who can say no?