There is nothing quite like the sensory overload that hits you when you walk into a floral marquee. First there's the perfume of literally thousands of blooms that overwhelms you; then you start to look at all the myriad plants; and then you just want to buy them all there and then.
It's probably just as well that on Press Day at Hampton Court, most of the nurseries are either still finishing off their displays, or they're putting their feet up before the public show days start. So, you can't find anyone to buy anything from. Tempting me were the divinely decadent lilies. I adore them, but after those vile lily beetles ravaged most of the ones I've ever tried to grow, I won't try again (I'll leave the lily display to Stephen next door - perhaps he's been sending the red devils over the fence?). The foxtail lilies, Eremurus, were also stunning - like a big curtain of feathery plumes, but they are a must only for the freest-draining sunniest spots, which I sadly cannot offer.
Elsewhere, there were some good show gardens overall, but my favourites were the two with probably the least plants in them. The World Vision & Plantify Garden, is really a conceptual design to promote awareness of child poverty, with the very tactile turf globe and it's convex mirror image sitting in a black pool. And Tony Smith's Diamonds and Rust garden, all undulating turf and smoking artificial turf tubes. Neither the type of garden you should try at home.
If you were going to try out some stuff at home, the British Heather Growers sunken garden was a beautiful design solution for a small garden with steep level changes - and a very up-to-the-minute way of growing heathers as a green wall (byebye seventies island beds). And although the Bulgarian +359 was not very sophisticated, it did remind me of sunny rooftops and bright floral displays in Europe. I liked the shape of the terracotta pots - even the begonias looked quite fetching.