Over the weekend I was lucky enough to be invited to the brand new GROWLondon Contemporary Garden Fair by my new friends at Beefayre (you might remember that I used their beautiful soaps as favours here).
The fair approached gardening as the name suggests from a contemporary angle, being much more design led than stalwarts like Chelsea, turning new gardeners on to the idea of nurturing a space of their own-be it a pot on the windowsill or a couple of acres. Aptly based on Hampstead Heath and very much a boutique experience with a fantastic collection of exhibitors, I took my mum along for the experience. Take a look at some of the trends I discovered as well as a few personal favourites…
An Exotic Wilderness at Burford Garden Company
Burford Garden Company based in the Cotswolds brought down their sweet little vintage Citroen as the centrepiece of their vibrantly wild display of planting. Using a scheme predominantly of white hydrangeas, garden roses and lush ferns, interspersed with hot yellows, and purple lavender, they created an exotic wilderness.
In one corner, a Moroccan riad awaited you, the walls adorned with handwoven textiles and maps, weathered metal lanterns, the greenest of succulents and miniature citrus trees (I had to bring one home with me!)
Verdant Houseplants by Judy Green’s Garden Store
Local Hampstead garden boutique Judy Green’s Garden Store focused on succulents and had the best selection of pots to show them off in. I loved these sweet little glass tube vases and the delicate ceramic bowls with colourful glazes.
Buzzing About Beefayre
The most fragrant stand by far was organic beauty and home brand, Beefayre. Champion for the bees, nurturing hives on their own specially cultivated land, the team produce organic products made from beeswax and essentials oils. Artist and founder Sharon Jervis creates all the botanical artwork for their branding and packaging and her son Sam is a beekeeper and fountain of knowledge on bees –check out his credentials, they’re impressive!
TIP: Plant flowers in purples and mauves to attract bees, these colours are also of the most nutritional value.
The strongest trend I saw in full effect was the abundance of free and relaxed planting schemes and insect friendly wildflowers. No room for stuffy 70s style local council gardening here. Any container can become a space to plant and any space can be worthy of a small garden. Which brings me on to the sexy succulent…
Contemporary Terrariums for Succulents & Air Plants
As my quest continues to build my urban jungle, I was so pleased to see succulents, air plants and terrariums holding their own. Yes! You can find beautifully made terrariums by specialists in the UK now!
I got talking to Tom of The Urban Botanist, a new company he started up with his sister after she discovered the exciting new world of terrariums whilst out in Canada. There are three terrarium collections to choose from in various sizes with the Skyline bauble being the most versatile in that you can hang it-perfect for space saving. The black rimmed geometric Aztec designs really caught my attention though. I’d love to have one somewhere I could guarantee little fingers wouldn’t break it. One day…
I found these air plants utterly fascinating-they have no root system and take their nutrients from the air and a spritz of water once every few weeks, so you can sit them anywhere!
Samson & Fox
My final favourite caused me to practically leap across the room to get to it. The FlatJack Chair by Samson and Fox. Just look at it. Machined from a single sheet of Baltic birch plywood and stained and lacquered-see how it folds flat and can adjust reclining angles? It’s a modern interpretation on a classic design and a thing of beauty. The multifunctional seat also becomes a table when you place a piece of ply across the top. It’s too perfect. I have to have them.
A huge congratulations to the GROWLondon team for a brilliant first year, I hope the next will be just as successful! And thank you to the Beefayre team for inviting me along to meet you.
I’ll finish with a very fitting quote I heard at a talk from garden and landscape designer, James Alexander-Sinclair who said:
“The thing about gardening is there are no rules. The point of it is to make you happy.”
I couldn’t agree more…