This year, our dream-like Hampton Court garden has been inspired by the way that nature's gentle hand can subtly alter and improve a manmade creation, in this case The Forgotten Folly. At Horticolous, we dream of beautiful gardens like this one but nurturing a dream requires much more than our own inspiration and passion. To flourish, it needs to be fed, given space to breathe and have its thirst sated with a perfect balance of hydration. The results may look magical, but we need a firm foundation of garden science supporting our creativity. As designers we have to put our faith in finding tailored products that will do this for us without guesswork and once again, high tech products from York-based horticulture experts Rolawn have enabled us to grow, maintain and prepare the real stars of the show, our plants.
To ensure we get precisely what we want in our show gardens, we grow our own plants, from seed, bulbs and tubers. This year’s planting was particularly special and its success especially important as we were able to involve pupils from our local school, Wrington C of E Primary. The Forgotten Folly makes use of cottage garden plants and also native wildflowers, such as Geraniums, Erigeron, Ox-eyed daisies and Campion, which are so important in attracting bees and butterflies. The enthusiastic young gardeners helped us with some of our early planting for the Hampton Court garden and also raised plants for their school’s own conservation area. If ever there was a year we wanted to see special results from the planting it was this one. The kids would have been so desperately disappointed if they had planted seeds only to see nothing come of them. We really wanted them to see great results to encourage their continued interest in growing things as they get older, after all, children like these are the future of horticulture. We know that if you use a good compost you get better results and we wanted to be absolutely confident these children would see for themselves the fantastic results of getting their hands dirty!
For the first time we brought in Organic Multi-Purpose Compost for the very start of the life of our plants. Then as an ongoing growing medium we mixed the compost with peat free Soil Conditioner, which gave us a great boost in healthy plant growth. Due to our unpredictable winter and spring we also brought in ProMulch to help protect our plants from the vagaries of the weather. This combination has been absolutely fundamental in getting us into the position of having some really good quality plants to work with. Without plants of exceptional quality, we simply wouldn't get the medals and by relying on expertise from Rolawn in previous years, we understand the extra edge this can give us.
While we love doing these big shows, they are not without their stresses. This applies equally to the plants that we take with us. The week of the show can be incredibly tough on the plants. You can't just plant the garden and forget about them. They need to be fed and carefully watered throughout the duration of the show and it is incredibly reassuring to know our mix of Rolawn compost and ProMulch does an excellent job of maintaining the plants throughout the week. We find it holds water really well, but also drains sufficiently if there is a lot of rain, giving us just the right balance. Mulching our show gardens is not just an excellent way to protect our plants, but also a way of ensuring we pay attention to the detail when it comes to winning medals. Rolawn ProMulch is visually very attractive, being dark and rich in colour, providing the most perfect finish possible.
Using these three Rolawn products together has been the winning combination our plants need to help us consistently bring home medals from The RHS. At this level everything counts, the compost and soil improver support the healthy growth of high quality, resilient and beautiful plants and the ProMulch ensures the garden has a clean finish, as well as helping the plants get through the stresses of transport and what can be a long week in the sun.
We have been so excited designing The Forgotten Folly for Hampton Court and the Rolawn products have enabled us to concentrate on creating the dream; the garden where nature has been allowed to reclaim some space. An old romantic folly, native planting, dry stone walls, waterfalls and streams that all integrate and harmonise with each other to create an oasis for our native plants and wild creatures.
At Horticolous, we are inspired by the constant beauty of nature, and the combination of the right blend of high tech horticultural products feed and nurture that inspiration.
Lynn Riches, Horticolous