Victorian Inspiration Creates ‘A Growing Obsession’

2015 marked the 25th anniversary for the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show, where CED Stone Group were proud to supply hard landscaping materials to several of the show gardens.

One of these show gardens was the highly acclaimed silver medallist ‘A Growing Obsession’, designed by Jean Wardrop and Alexandra Stevenson, with the focus of recreating a Victorian lady’s flower garden.


The garden, with a romantic Victorian theme, was inspired by Jane Loudon’s ‘Instructions in Gardening for Ladies’, written in 1840, to celebrate women’s influence in gardening since the Victorian era.

Unlike the present day, gardening used to be heavily male dominated and with the publication of Jane Loudon’s book, the divide between genders and class was narrowed, with more and more people, particularly women, getting involved with gardening as a pastime.

Built by TKE Landscaping Ltd, and assisted in the landscaping by the gardeners at Hever Castle, ‘A Growing Obsession’ was designed to be best viewed from a terrace, with its Victorian-style flowerbeds, paths for promenading and rockeries, which were a particularly fashionable garden accessory of the time.

The garden saw sponsorship by Yardley London Ltd, who launched new fragrances at the event; and by Perennial, the only UK horticultural charity - both of whom have strong bonds within British gardens.

As proud Platinum Perennial Partners, CED Stone Group were more than happy to sponsor the garden by providing man-power to staff the stand and covering the production cost of all associated literature.

Managing Director, Giles Heap, was personally involved during the design stage, offering hours of complimentary advice, consultation and problem solving services to Jean and Alexandra, ensuring that the right products were specified for the intended purposes and aesthetics.


In return, the garden beautifully showcased our CEDAgravel®, CEDAedge®, Golden Amber Footpath Gravel and reclaimed Dutch Clay Pavers. Lastly, reclaimed Yorkstone paving was specified, which helped to provide the historic and authentic feel. All materials, including the gravel inside the tent, were donated free-of-charge to the garden. Chilstones and Griffin Glasshouses were among the other suppliers, with Chilstone supplying the decorative stonework including the balustrades, urns and stone seats. To celebrate their 50th anniversary, Griffin Glasshouses donated one of their stunning glasshouses which perfectly complemented the theme of the garden.

Planting was supplied by Greenwood Plants and the turf by Rolawn. The garden lighting was supplied by Landscape Plus and the Victorian garden table and chairs were courtesy of English Garden Chairs.

Alan Bishop & Associates constructed the rockery, using methods and techniques employed by James Pulham of James Pulham and Son in the 1800’s. The firm, which ceased trading in 1920, was best known for the construction of rock gardens from both natural stone and Pulhamite, an artificial rock that the firm invented. Pulhamite, which typically had the appearance of gritty sandstone, was used to join natural rocks together or used to craft simulated natural stone features – the exact recipe for which was never released.

‘A Growing Obsession’ was hugely popular, winning a silver medal at the Show and gaining mass media coverage, including a televised interview with the designers on BBC2 by Rachel de Thame.


To find out more about Wardrop Designs, visit their website here and visit Alexandra’s website here.

To find out more about the RHS Shows and to book tickets (which are now on sale to members and go on sale to the public in December), visit their website here.

This news posted on 18th Nov 2015

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