by Andy Sturgeon showcased textured concrete and terracotta columns, large bronze fins and a metal spherical seating pod with geometric design.

Shades of grey Concrete finishes which are currently a big trend in homewares, were seen in several show gardens at Hampton Court and products made from the staple building material were also found on trade stands. The Brownfield-Metamorphosis garden featured recycled concrete site blockers used to create garden seating, while ‘On the Edge: the Centre for Mental Health’, boasted sweeping concrete staircase and several formed concrete seats. One Artisan, which specialises in handcrafted concrete items for the home and garden, showcased outdoor LED lighting encased in concrete spheres, wall sconces, tables and outdoor seats including giant pebbles and a groundbreaking curved concrete chair created specially by owner Darren Rumley for Sarah Eberle’s garden at this year’s Chelsea Flower Show. Other decorative elements that could be seen in show gardens across the event were laser-cut

metal panels which were used as an attractive backdrop in seating areas or as a divider within the space. The panels featured floral and natural motifs and, while powder-coated versions were available, most popular were those that had an aged or rusted steel finish which toned well with the colourful planting. A great example was seen on Charlie Bloom’s Colourbox Garden with weathered Stark & Greensmith panels used as a backdrop. Botanical designs on textiles

were also a big hit. Currently a firm favourite in the fashion and homewares sectors, the botanic prints adorned cushions and a number of outdoor living items at this year’s show. A fantastic selection of hand-painted designs were being displayed in the floral marquee by the Bath School of Art & Design.

Thirst for the unusual Architectural trees were used to provide structure in the garden and were a big trend at this year’s show. A striking pink elder tree was pruned into an unusual cloud shape on the Watch This Space Garden and visitors were lining up to ask about the specimen.

“I have so many enquiries about that tree every day,” says a representative from the British Association of Landscape Industries, who helped create the garden. “People just love it.” Flowerpot Nurseries co-owner Dean Barrett tells DIY Week more about this growing love affair with architectural trees. “Japanese trees have seen a lot of interest. People like the structured look – we’ve sold five in two weeks they are about three metres in height and sell for around £20,000 to £25,000 - and this is the general public buying these! It’s the ‘in’ thing. There’s nothing else like these out there.”

Demand is such that Flowerpot Nurseries which sponsored Edward Mairis’ Journey of Life garden this year, plan to create its own exhibit for the 2018 event. “We will have our own garden at Hampton Court next year,” enthuses Mr Barrett. “We are selling olive trees like they’re going out of fashion. People like them clad clipped in lightbulb form. We got 24 in about six weeks ago and now we are down to just six!”

Meanwhile, the British public are putting more focus on entertaining in the garden and aside from making

The pink elder tree, seen here in between the two geometric fins, got everybody talk- ing on the Watch This Space garden

Concrete was a big feature in the On the Edge garden Brownfield - Metamorphosis showcased rust finishes and soft planting

their outdoor spaces look attractive, a new type of ‘grow your own’ has got the British public interested in how they can use their garden to feed and water their guests. Plants 4 Presents which showcased a fantastic ‘grow your own cocktails’ display in the Cook & Grow marquee, talks about the growing appetite for kitchen gardening linked to entertaining, seen with the popularity of its cocktail, gin & tonic and Pimms gift sets. Emily Rae, who runs the business with her mother Isobel, says “edible flowers have really grabbed people’s interest. There is such a great variety available including borage, violas, cornflowers, and calendula. There is also a lot of demand for citrus trees which make great presents. “It’s getting people to stay outdoors and enjoy their spaces. We are seeing interest in this trend from keen gardeners to absolute novices.”

21 JULY 2017 DIY WEEK 15

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