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The Girlguiding UK Centenary Garden

By garden designer Philippa Pearson. In celebration of the Centenary of Girlguiding UK is mainly planted with shrubs, perennials and grasses with an area for international vegetable, fruit and herbs.

Hampton Court Flower Show 2010 The Girlguiding UK Centenary Garden

The design highlights the organisation’s four key messages: providing a unique girl-only space, promoting equality and diversity, being relevant to today’s girls and giving girls and young women a voice.

Hampton Court Flower Show 2010 The Girlguiding UK Centenary Garden

The entrance and adjacent garden reflects the origins and heritage of Girlguiding UK, founded at Crystal Palace in 1909. The entrance canopy is inspired by the Palace’s design whilst the adjacent Gertrude Jekyll style garden uses plants available in 1909.

Hampton Court Flower Show 2010 The Girlguiding UK Centenary Garden

Philippa based the design of the garden on the elements that members say makes Girlguiding UK a unique and thriving organisation. Guiding provides a space for ‘girl time’ and is a tent-like tensile structure for activities, guiding is open to all and actively encourages and supports diversity in a productive area with international and unusual vegetables, fruit and herbs; guiding continues to evolve to remain relevant to today’s girls shows members on film taking part in a range of activities and girls in Guiding have their views and opinions heard in a turf landform with a chill out area for thinking and discussion.

Hampton Court Flower Show 2010 The Girlguiding UK Centenary Garden

Planting on both sides of the plot creates colour and helps to soften traditional urban garden boundaries, while large birch trees facing the veranda will provide privacy from neighbouring gardens, adding both structure and focus.

Hampton Court Flower Show 2010 The Girlguiding UK Centenary Garden

Combining hues of silver, white and grey plants against a backdrop of lush green foliage will help to create a calm and relaxing environment, whilst mirroring the contemporary colours of the garden structures.

Hampton Court Flower Show 2010 The Girlguiding UK Centenary Garden

Victorian Planting List      


One section of the Girlguiding UK Centenary Garden reflects the period of planting at the start of the movement in 1909 and is in the style of Gertrude Jekyll.

Last November, designer Philippa Pearson spent a few hours in the Royal Horticultural Society’s Lindley Library researching plants that were in cultivation in 1909, or earlier. William Robinson's books 'The English Flower Garden' (with sections written by Jekyll) were helpful as were old copies of 'The Garden' and 'The Gardeners' Chronicle'. Old seed catalogues were also a mine of information. Less helpful however, is that more than half the plant names have altered due to taxonomy and nomenclature changes and finding a lavender that Gertrude Jekyll would have used was difficult as she doesn't mention cultivar names but writes broadly of 'lavender' or ‘Dutch lavender'.

Dr Simon Charlesworth at Downderry Nursery in Kent, who specialises in Lavender, has been a great help in identifying Jekyll’s Lavender. He said there are only around two lavenders that had cultivar names much before the 1920s and one of these is 'Backhouse Purple', named in 1888. We agreed that the lavender Jekyll would have used is Lavandula angustifolia and this is now planted in the garden.

Whilst the very cold weather at Christmas and in early May will have damaged frost hardy lavenders (those with ‘ears’) the traditional hardy lavenders have been unaffected. In fact Lavendula angustifolia will survive much harsher frosts down to -15c.

Here are details of other Victorian plants in this section of the garden:

1909 Garden

Shrubs
Artemisia abrotanum 
Buddleja globosa   
Fuchsia magellanica   
Hydrangea quercifolia   
Lavandula angustifolia   
Weigela florida   

Roses
Rosa ‘Charles de Mills’
Rosa ‘Fantin Latour’   
Rosa ‘La Reine Victoria’   
Rosa ‘Louise Odier’    
Rosa ‘Souvenir de la Malmaison’  
Rosa ‘William Lobb’   

Annuals
Cosmos bipinnatus mixed colours    
Calendula officinalis ‘Prince of Orange’    
Calendula officinalis ‘Lemon Queen’        
Cornflower
Nigella damascena ‘Miss Jekyll’      
Pelarogonium ‘Crimson Unique’      
Pelarogonium ‘Scarlet Unique’   
Pelargonium odoratissimum    
Zinnia ‘Miss Willmott’