Hampton Court Flower Show 2014: Vestra Wealth’s Vista

I had never heard of Vestra Wealth before this year’s Hampton Court Palace Flower Show and that’s for one very good reason – I have no wealth to manage. Should I come up trumps in the lottery, I would have no hesitation in beating a path to Vestra’s door, based purely on the strength of their show garden. Decisions like these are probably why I am not a millionaire.

Vestra Wealth exercised a fair degree of prudence in commissioning show garden veteran Paul Martin to design their showpiece. The result, a contemporary space focussed on outdoor entertaining, was cool, calm and carefully considered; the sort of space someone in possession of both money and taste might aspire to. I certainly did.

A cedar rill seemingly floats above a plinth of clipped box
A cedar rill seemingly floats above a plinth of clipped box

Everything from the materials to the planting was beautifully detailed. A smooth cedar rill delivered water into a pool surrounded by hostas and irises. The monolithic table, constructed from the same timber, cantilevered over an area thickly planted with ferns, Geranium ‘Rozanne’ and Lavandula ‘Hidcote’, delicately veiled by Deschampsia cespitosa.

The dining table cantilevers over an area of lush planting
The dining table cantilevers over an area of lush planting

Ground level surfaces were composed of traditional hoggin, smooth terrazzo and neatly sawn slate which contrasted beautifully. Gabions topped with copper sheeting or cedar wood were intended to attract wildlife, although how welcome bugs and beasties would have been in this sleek space is debateable.

Cool terrazzo, traditional hoggin and stacks of cedar logs create varied textures
Cool terrazzo, traditional hoggin and stacks of split cedar create a varied texture

Set for six, Paul Martin was clearly minding his sponsor’s pennies when he poured the wine, but who would not have wanted to join this garden party? The silver mesh chairs were a great accompaniment to the heavy slab of timber and slid neatly underneath. At night, lit by lanterns, the white flowers in the garden would have appeared cool and luminous.

More wine please!
A top-up please!

In a garden so strong structurally it would have been easy to oversimplify the planting, but this element of the design was not found lacking. Paul’s training at the National Botanic Gardens in Dublin shone through in the discerning palette of plants, which focussed on greens, whites and blues.

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Hosta sieboldiana ‘Frances Williams’ mingles with Geranium ‘Rozanne’

Paul Martin had understood his client’s brief, and his client’s clients’ well, producing a garden rich in texture, interest and quality without resorting to ostentation. I am certain it will have gained him some suitably affluent new customers. As for me, I’m off to buy a scratch card…..

Plant List

Acanthus mollis ‘Rue Ledan’
Agapanthus africanus ‘Albus’
Agapanthus ‘Northern Star’
Agapanthus ‘Silver Moon’
Agastache foeniculum ‘Black Adder’
Ammi majus
Angelica ‘Ebony’
Aster laterifolius ‘Horizontalis’
Brunnera macrophylla ‘Jack Frost’
Buxus sempevirens
Darmera peltata
Deschampsia cespitosa
Echinacea purpurea ‘Magnus’
Epimedium rubrum
Eryngium bourgatii ‘Oxford Blue’
Ferula communis
Geranium ‘Rozanne’
Hakonechloa macra ‘Albo Striata’
Hakonechloa macra ‘Aureola’
Hosta ‘Royal Standard’
Hosta sieboldiana var. elegans
Hosta sieboldiana ‘Frances Williams’
Hosta tardiana ‘Halcyon’
Hydrangea arborescens ‘Annabelle’
Hydrangea arborescens ‘Incrediball’
Iris pseudacorus
Lavandula ‘Hidcote’
Lavandula stoechas ‘Christiana’
Nepeta faasenii ‘Six Hills’
Nepeta faassenii ‘Blue Wonder’
Penstemon ‘Electric Blue’
Perovskia atriplicifolia ‘Blue Spire’
Salvia nemerosa
Selinum wallichianum
Stipa gigantea
Thalictrum rochbruneanum
Thymus ‘Pink Chintz’
Tiarella ‘Pink Skyrocket’
Tulbaghia violacea
Verbena bonariensis
Verbena macdougalii ‘Lavender Spires’
Veronica longifolia ‘Charlotte’
Veronicastrum virginicum ‘Album’