The Hampton Court Palace Flower Show, which dates back to just 1990, may not have the kudos of The Chelsea Flower Show, but what it lacks in blue ribands it more than makes up for with its wider appeal to everyday gardeners.

Particularly those that view gardening in a holistic manner with a concern for the greater environment, and the role every man and woman has to play in today’s evolving world.

I try to make my own small contribution and have planted out a small border full of lavender (lavandula hidcote) in my garden this spring to help attract butterflies and bees.

These plants are also highly scented and vivid in bloom so they are also popular for those that want to plant a sensory garden.

I try to make my own small contribution and have planted out a small border full of lavender (lavandula hidcote) in my own garden this spring to help attract butterflies and bees.

These plants are also highly scented and vivid in bloom so they are also popular for those that want to plant a sensory garden.

New suppliers and products for GardenSite

Although visiting as many flower and plant stands as possible I was also interested in the manufacturers’ stands as I am always on the lookout for new suppliers for GardenSite, but sometimes it is the established names that move out of their comfort zone and surprise you, which is great.

Established half a century ago, Forest Garden Products fall into this category in more ways than one. By growing and replanting the timber they harvest and mill they provide habitats for very many more animals, birds and insects than anyone of us could possibly contribute but they have also taken note of our ageing population and have designed and built gardening products that consider them.

A water feature above a raised flower bed filled with plants

Forest Garden Products have been supporters of the Hampton Court Palace Flower Show for many years where they not only exhibit but also listen to, and talk with, their customers. Guy Grainger, the Group Chief Executive was there in person along with as many of the staff as he could release.

The theme for their exhibition stand was a British Summer’s Garden party, this was to celebrate five decades of making British gardens great.

Forest after show party

I also attended the Forest after-show party night where exciting new gardening products were presented, some of which are available now to purchase on GardenSite and will be available for the next season.

If ever you wanted a perfect English summer's evening to hold a garden party, and you wanted the perfect location what could have been better than Monday night at Hampton Court Palace Flower Show. It was a picture-perfect scenario with the Palace bathed in the glow of the early July sunshine.

Wimbledon had started and half of London seemed to be out and about and determined to enjoy themselves.

We have just published an overview of this year's Hampton Court Palace Flower Show and the party was to celebrate 50 years of Forest being open to the British public with their unique blend of timber-based products for your garden.

It all started with the Forest Lap panel that had a heavier frame than the competition at the time and was consequently more expensive. The public could see the added value and invest in the panel which was quickly followed by the Forest Lap Trellis.

The range now includes arbours, arches, pergolas, glasshouses, sheds, planters and raised beds, some of which they have recently introduced in conjunction with Thrive, a charity that promotes accessible gardening.

Timber garden products

A tour of the stand with Group CEO Guy Grainger quickly led us to new Hexagonal Garden Gazebo manufactured by M&M, a division of Forest Garden, and if ever you needed a focal point for a party this gazebo fills the brief.

At the heart of the gazebo are the very substantial 150mm uprights and the 125mm cross beams. Trying to effectively marry these together caused major construction issues until the carpenters came up with a unique steel bracket system that is now patented.

Forest Hexagonal Gazebo

As well as providing a secure joining method it also means that the build time is cut down dramatically, saving everyone time and adding strength and security.

Available in a choice of sizes with three different roof options, and window blinds to cut down the prevailing wind means not only can this gazebo be used on a warm summer’s evening but well into the autumn and even during the colder month when we get those dry winter days with a lukewarm sun.

Of course, the kids and the grandchildren will love it (imagine them sat around the perimeter bench when the cake and candles come out) but so will the adults. When all the excitement has calmed and the adults have some time together it is the perfect seating arrangement for up to 10 comfortably in the 3.5 metres Hexagonal Gazebo.

A room to party; a room to relax; a room to sit and read; or even an outside room to serve the food from the barbecue if rain is in the air. It really is a very social multi-use outdoor room at an affordable price including installation on a prepared and level base.

There was also a new range of planters to see, some with an experimental castellated top that is tall enough to work on at standing height to save bending down. This also has the advantage of bringing the plants closer to you as you walk around the garden and they can also be used as garden dividers.

To keep down excessive noise the new Forest decibel panel, or Noise Reduction Panel, was on show which has been proven to cut down noise dramatically in independent tests.

Add in a new boot store for Wellington and other muddy boots alongside some experimental display ladder shelving and some of their best selling products like the Victorian Tall Wall Greenhouse and you have a lot of product packed into their display stand.

Robert wishes to especially thank those at Forest Garden for their wonderful hospitality and joins them in wanting to make Britain's gardens great.