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Jean Vernon

Jean Vernon Garden Writer/Feature Writer West Country

  • Date Joined: 01 Jul 2008

Recent Comments

  • A watery, sustainable end of the line?

    Jean Vernon on 10 Jul 2009 at 09:42 PM

    Unless you've bought a railway cottage you wouldn't expect to have train track in your front garden. But as a reclaimed material it creates an interesting effect when used within a garden design.

    'The Rain Chain' is a garden that addresses many of the issues facing today's gardeners and home owners. Garden Designer Wendy Allen told me, "In the brief, I set the garden in a flood risk zone. It's in a small railway town by the coast, so the railway track ties in with the railway and the pebbles with the coastal theme."


  • Wildlife friendly and attractive?

    Jean Vernon on 10 Jul 2009 at 07:53 PM

    One of my favourite parts of this year's Hampton Court Palace Flower show is the group of sustainable gardens. Surprisingly, well for me anyway, it isn't a display of 'Grow Your Own' plots of vegetables. Instead there is great innovation, vareity and intrigue.

    One garden that really took my eye was the London Wildlife Trusts 'Life Cycle Garden'. It is an absolutely beautiful mix of soft pastel colours, wildflowers and much, much more. Within this tiny space there are masses of ideas and inspiration that can be repeated in garden plots all over the land, even in the city


  • Fifi and the Flowertots Hampton Court Debut

    Jean Vernon on 08 Jul 2009 at 10:31 PM

    Kids accompanied by an adult get in for free at this year's Hampton Court Palace Flower show. This year there's a huge surprise in store for budding gardeners and Fifi fans, as the charasmatic Forget-me-not tot will be at the show this weekend. There's a whole Fifi zone for little greenfingers to play in all week, but the star of the show will be posing for pix and helping them plant this weekend.

    I caught up with Greg Lynn, Executive Producer and Managing Director of Chapman Entertainment that creates the show on Monday. He told me,"We've got a Fifi zone here today. Fifi and the Flower Tots has been one of the most successful preschool television shows of the last 4 years. One of the core things about Fifi in the show is her gardening, she lives in this beautiful garden, where everything is huge and that she is a very keen gardener. She grows all her own vegetables and fruit. She will pick one huge apple and make a massive apple pie for all her friends. So we espouse the virtues of gardening, healthy eating and I think Fifi has been a real boon to mothers to be able to encourage kids to get stuck into their vegetables. We've had lots of emails over the last four years from parents saying. "My daughter ate a blueberry for the first time today because she saw Fifi bouncing up and down on one like a space hopper." And although that's not why we made the show, we're here to make a piece of entertainment, we wanted to give it a nice organic feel and so we are here at the show to allow kids to come in and play in Fifi's world, to meet Fifi. Fifi is here, they can plant seeds, take away a pot and grow and nurture a sunflower, or go through the little assault course picking up vegetables and fruit from Poppy's market stall with a little wheelbarrow. It's just something for kids, something to introduce kids into gardening."
    We have Fifi here today and then she is back at the weekend. But during the week we've got all of this for the kids to do from planting seeds to learning about fruit and vegetables."


  • The Therapeutic Power of Gardens

    Jean Vernon on 08 Jul 2009 at 09:51 PM

    Garden lovers don't need to be told that plants, gardens and gardening is therapeutic, it's inherent knowledge in us all. Just a few moments spent in nature lifts energy levels, rejuvenates tired minds and feeds our souls.

     One garden at this year's Hampton Court Palace Flower Show takes this concept and uses it as part of its message. 'Hope Begins at Home' has been designed to highlight and support the work of Combat Stress, which helps ex-servicemen and women suffering from Psychological injuries


  • Three cheers for Plant Heritage

    Jean Vernon on 08 Jul 2009 at 09:25 PM

    The Plant Heritage Marquee at the Hampton Court Palace Flower Show is always an amazing place to visit and this year is no exception. There are 18 exhibits from National Plant Collection Holders showcasing some of the amazing collections from the UK. I was particularly enthralled by the display of rosemarinus from Downderry Nursery/Simon Charlesworth.

    The Plant Heritage Marquee was formally opened on Monday by BBC Gardeners' World presenter Toby Buckland. I caught up with him at the Hoyland Plant Centre stand, a fabulous exhibit of agapanthus and tulbaghia. I wanted to know what delights he had seen at the show. "I haven't looked around the show yet," he said, " I've just been in here but I would say I think the Plant Heritage Marquee is really fabulous and I just salute really the great work that everyone the NCCPG does. I think that they are the reason our land is green and pleasant, they are the gardeners working in the gardens up and down the land and I'm just humbled to be asked to work for them today."


  • going for gold

    Jean Vernon on 06 Jul 2009 at 04:50 PM

    Jack Dunckley is possibly Britains youngest Garden Designer. He's certainly the youngest designer with a garden at this year's Hampton Court Palace Flower Show. It's been a busy year.In February he was invited to design a balcony garden at the London Plant and Design Show where he won a silver medal. In early May he built a show garden The Malvern Gardening Show, where he won a Silver Gilt.

    At this year's Hampton Court Palace Flower Show he has created A Desert's Delight, it's the largest show garden on site this year and his very first at Hampton Court.

  • I'm Henry VIII I am, I am

    Jean Vernon on 06 Jul 2009 at 04:10 PM

     Having had a little trouble getting in to the showground this morning, Henry VIII was prancing around the showground this afternoon, mounted on his trusty steed.



  • Too busy to talk

    Jean Vernon on 06 Jul 2009 at 04:01 PM

     I usually get to speak to Joe Swift at the RHS flower shows. In the past he has blamed me for the bad weather and even shied away from some garden hens. At this year's Hampton Court Palace Flower Show he was too busy to chat. Already late for his filming he waited very patiently while I took a mug shot, the only words he uttered to me were: "Hurry Up!". Sorry if I made you even later Joe. Thanks for the pic though. 


  • The other RHS

    Jean Vernon on 06 Jul 2009 at 03:46 PM

     If you're on this website you are probably well aware that RHS stands for the ROYAL Horticultural Society. But did you know that there's another society that uses the same abbreviation?


  • Productive City Spaces

    Jean Vernon on 06 Jul 2009 at 12:23 PM

    We are always reading in the gardening press that you don't need a big garden to grow fruit and vegetables. It's an easy claim to make but sometimes it's hard to get people to take the first step and have a grow.

    At this year's Hampton Palace Flower Show there are three small gardens and six balconies designed to show urbanites that anyone can grow food, no matter how smalal their outside space is. Children from local primary schools have come out of the classroom and helped create the 'Edible Spaces with Capital Growth' garden.

  • The Good Life

    Jean Vernon on 06 Jul 2009 at 11:05 AM

    Grow Your Own has it's own momentum this year. Just take a look around this year's Hampton Court Palace Flower Show and you'll see masses of ideas and inspiration to support your own efforts at self sufficiency, how ever large your garden.

    The Growing Tastes Allotment in area C of the showground is a blaze of colour and texture. There's plenty of planting combinations, techniques and creativity to absorb and it looks fantastic too. "It doesn't take a huge amount of expense to grow your own anyone can have a go at it, you can grow in a tiny site and it's just as effective. We are trying to show really good quality horticulture and our brief was to they wanted a traditional allotment and a cutting garden," explains garden designer Mary Payne. "You have to have a bit of drama and make it look attractive to the public, I am chuffed to bits with it."


  • But I live here

    Jean Vernon on 06 Jul 2009 at 10:37 AM

     Henry VIII and his wives were due at Hampton Court Palace Flower Show this morning to be filmed promoting the Six Wives of Henry VIII Gardens at the show.

    Dressed in their finery they apparently arrived at the gate without a pass


  • Enchanted Garden

    Jean Vernon on 05 Jul 2009 at 05:05 PM

    I haven't seen all of the gardens at this years Hampton Court Palace Flower Show, but there are several that have really caught my eye.There are some fabulous colour schemes and planting combinations within the show gardens in particular.


  • Aliens have landed

    Jean Vernon on 05 Jul 2009 at 03:40 PM

    There's always a bit of controversy at RHS Flower Shows. At RHS Chelsea there was the Paradise in Plasticine. At Hampton Court Palace Flower Show 2009, the jury's still out, but my vote (just for its nerve and controversy) must go to 'Monstruosa', the conceptual garden by Fernando Gonzalez of Metagardens. 



  • Not a drop to drink

    Jean Vernon on 05 Jul 2009 at 03:15 PM

    It's a hot and sunny day at the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show. The Press Office is rather warm and the water dispenser is Out of Order! 

      For some reason (?) two large bottles of water were delivered to the Press Office for our refreshment, complete with some very green and not so tasty water growths aboard. I like the idea of green water, ie eco friendly, but we won't be partaking in this algal delicacy, thanks. So unlike the wilting plants that are being constantly irrigated around the showground with drinking water, via a hose pipe, we are more than a little bit parched in here. The Long Water looks incredibly inviting. Anyone for a dip


  • Connection with nature

    Jean Vernon on 05 Jul 2009 at 02:29 PM

    Paul Stone's really had his work cut out this how. He's created two Small Gardens for Rachel's Organic, the main show sponsor.  The first one, 'Passion for Taste, "connects with the products that go into Rachel's Organic produce and is a garden that ties in with the ideals of Rachel's Organic. It has good environmental and social policy. All the materials are low carbon footprint materials, sustainable and reclaimed timber," explains Paul. 


  • A load of old Knickers

    Jean Vernon on 05 Jul 2009 at 02:09 PM

    There's a whole load of dirty washing at this year's RHS Hampton Court Flower Show. Several washing lines loaded up with underwear have been heavily disguised and planted with a variety of flowers and vegetables. 



  • What's in store at Hampton Court Palace Flower Show?

    Jean Vernon on 02 Jul 2009 at 10:03 AM


    There's always a great sense of anticipation in the lead up to the RHS Flower Shows and Hampton Court is no exception. I know that you shouldn't have favourites, but if I really had to choose which one show to visit each year Hampton Court Palace Flower Show would win everytime. It's a horticultural extravaganza of everything that is wonderful, vibrant and ground breaking in gardening. It doesn't have quite the same prestigious feel as Chelsea, but I like that. I love the fact that you can wander around the show at ease and have space and time to observe everything you want to see (well if you're not working there).