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A Very Victorian Fantasy Garden

By garden designer Chris Evans. The two contrasting halves of the garden’s design draws inspiration from the arts and literary heritage of Victorian Bournemouth’s most famous residents.

Hampton Court Flower Show 2012 Show Gaden A Very Victorian Fantasy Garden by  garden designer Chris Evans

The dark side’s sub-tropical design reflects the Gothic works of Mary Shelley and Robert Louis Stevenson, while the drift-like planting of the lighter side brings to mind the Art Nouveau works of Aubrey Beardsley. Both halves feature willow sculptures by Stefan Jennings with a series of fairies and demons overlooking their respective sides of the garden.

Hampton Court Flower Show 2012 Show Gaden A Very Victorian Fantasy Garden by  garden designer Chris Evans

The two halves meet at local artist Andy Kirkby’s Frankenstein-inspired central sculpture, carved from Carrera marble with patinated bronze wings.

Hampton Court Flower Show 2012 Show Gaden A Very Victorian Fantasy Garden by  garden designer Chris Evans

Key Plants 


Each border has various combinations of plants accentuated by the individual characteristics of colour, texture and form. 

Hampton Court Flower Show 2012 Show Gaden A Very Victorian Fantasy Garden by  garden designer Chris Evans

In the light side, five different indigenous umbels float above the drifting combinations of annuals and perennials.  Traditional drifting of Antirrhinums, Lupins, Foxgloves, Zinnias, a white variety of pinks and Cleome are just some of the planting to enhance the light border. Scented plants weave through this border to provide an extra impact to the senses.

Hampton Court Flower Show 2012 Show Gaden A Very Victorian Fantasy Garden by  garden designer Chris Evans

The darker side includes a variety of more unusual plants with emphasis on colour in the foliage as much as the flowers. These include the darkest Dahlias (for example Chat Noir, Nuit d’ete), Ricinus ‘New Zealand Purple’, Ipomoea ‘Blackie’, Hibiscus ‘Mahogany’, a range of Heucheras (eg. ’Marmalade’ and ‘Fire Chief’) and Coleus (‘Autumn’, ‘Peters Wonder’, ‘Black Knight’ and ‘Midas’). Within the carpet bedding are a range of more than 30 different Sempervivum to give detail and colour in the design.