An Outing to Hampton Court Flower Show 2016


Ever since I moved back to England from Dubai in 2010, it’s become a bit of a tradition for me and my mother to spend a day at the Hampton Court Flower Show.

Now, let me confess straight away that neither of us are particularly keen or good gardeners (although I did do a bit of weeding and spread about some compost last summer!), but we do both love design and really appreciate being in a beautiful garden.

And the gardens at the Hampton Court Flower Show are incredibly creative and impeccably executed. It is a delightful way of spending an afternoon and I highly recommend it if you haven’t been already.

Of course there is a lot more to Hampton Court than the gardens. There are the Floral Marquee, the Festival of Roses, Plant Village, the Scarecrow competition as well as talks, demonstrations, lots of shopping and of course loads of entertainment and food – not forgetting the Pimm’s ‘n’ lemonade and ice cream stands everywhere! One of the main attractions this year was an impressive Butterfly Dome (with a rather long queue to see them unfortunately :)).

We focused our energies on the Show Gardens and the Conceptual Gardens this year and just took the rest in as we meandered through the show. One of my favourite areas is the Conceptual Gardens because I think that, just like in the world of interiors, it must be rare for a garden designer to get an opportunity to be really creative around a concept and to actually see it built. The designers must feel really satisfied to actually see their concept realised, planted and brought to life. 

So what exactly are Conceptual Gardens? Well, they are a collection of gardens that are usually quite sculptural and make a statement around a theme or message, sometimes quite thought-provoking or challenging. This year was the tenth anniversary of Conceptual Gardens at the Hampton Court Flower Show and it certainly did not disappoint! Here are my top five:


Designed by Andy Hyde and John Humphreys, this is a garden that poses a serious question – ‘Is this the end or could the worm hole lead to a new beginning?’. The pyramid represents the Universe, and the wormholes are potential portals to other or parallel universes…

The pyramid is surrounded by a pool of black water, a ring of anthracite and glass shiny stones that look a bit like lava. Flowers in fiery reds and oranges are mixed in with the ‘lava’ and the whole thing looks rather fierce! It seems the planting hints at the final solar flares of a dying star…pretty creative if you ask me!

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This was one of my top two favourite Conceptual Gardens! It was of a giant wave made up of over 500 pieces of steam bent wood, crashing towards the shore. You could walk under the wave, where you were treated to sounds of the sea and could read messages of hope and inspiration written in chalk on the inside.

The garden represented the passing of a moment and was inspired by Shakespeare’s Sonnet 60, and celebrated the 400th anniversary of his death. Are you curious about the Sonnet? Read it below 🙂

The garden was designed by Mark Whyte and Abigail Ferguson, who also added new messages to the wave each day, collected from contributions on their Twitter page – sweet thought and rather clever marketing too…And their garden was awarded a Silver Gilt Medal at the show to boot!

I love the way the wave was constructed with the ends somehow suspended in the air…

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William Shakespeare. Sonnet 60. Taken from Shakespeare Online.

William Shakespeare. Sonnet 60. Taken from Shakespeare Online.


‘There is an ancient Chinese myth called the Red Thread of Fate. It is believed that when we are born the gods have tied every one of our ankles with a red thread and attached it to all the people whose lives we’re destined to touch, regardless of time, place or circumstance. This thread may stretch or tangle, but it’ll never break.’

This is how Robert Barker, the designer of this garden explains his inspiration. At first, the garden seemed like a mass of red threads tied to wooden posts, but then of course when you read the concept, it all starts to make sense. 

Two tall oak posts represent two characters destined to meet. They are connected to six other posts with red rope, which symbolise destiny’s complex role in bringing them together. 

And to make us part of the story, we were invited to attach a piece of red thread to one of the posts, so now my life is intertwined with everyone else’s who tied their piece of red thread. It made me think of the film ‘Sliding Doors’ – do you remember this film with Gwyneth Paltrow?

The story must have appealed to the judges too because this garden won a Gold Medal!

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My fourth Conceptual Gardens is all about the environment and our effect on nature. The first things I noticed were the impressive wooden sculptures, which represent sun, wind and water, towering above our heads. 

Then I noticed intriguing footprints of different sizes on the gravel path and a black vortex of ‘oil’ in the middle, which represents man’s heavy carbon use. The garden of course is a call to mankind to harness the natural energy resources – and it was very nicely said.

Designed by Arit Anderson, it also picked up a Gold Medal.

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‘Why?’ is the question we are left to ask, at the complexity of the universe and the human brain. This is what the designer, Tony Smith, is portraying here with this impressive dome of black rods (representing Chaos Theory) over a platform of grass.

The ‘Y’ is cut out from the plinth and at the bottom is a little ball of golden rods which represents the human brain. Ok so it’s a bit out there but also quite clever and I really do like that structure and how it looks like it’s just floating. The judges also awarded this garden a Gold Medal.


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Those were my top 5 Conceptual Gardens at this year’s Hampton Court Flower Show. But there were a couple of other displays that caught my eye and which are worth a mention here. 

The first was one of the City Gardens and was called ‘Youth Workz Garden’. It was designed by a lovely man called Tony Wagstaff with whom we had a long chat and who explained that this small garden was planted by young people from the Southend-on-Sea Youth Offending Service. It is designed by young people and for young people to enjoy.

The garden was quite ‘wild’ with lots of planting and flowers on either side of a path leading to a little seating area at the back. It also featured a small mural and a piece of sculpture, all made by the young people who worked on the garden and brought it to life. An inspired idea I thought and I was pleased to see that the garden was awarded a Bronze Medal for their effort and hard work.


And finally, I loved the stand by sculptor John O’Connor. I remember seeing the work by this talented artist once before but his display stopped us in our tracks once again this time. 

I like the way he plays with scale and makes the most extraordinary bronze sculptures of people that are either massively over-sized or really small. They are also very graceful and elegantly proportioned. 


Well that about does it. My mother and I had a lovely afternoon experiencing these amazing garden creations, chatting to their designers and generally soaking in the lovely atmosphere of the Hampton Court Flower Show.

We rounded off the afternoon sitting by The Long Water under these:


And enjoyed one of these (if you haven’t tried one yet, make sure you do when you see their trucks at any summer event – you won’t regret it!):


’till next time…

Photo Credits: All by Nicole Antar – some from my Instagram account.

The Beautiful Geometry of The Aridi Series by Parable Designs


The Aridi Series is an exquisite collection of candles made by British brand Parable Designs. You will remember this lovely company from my previous post a few weeks ago, in which I introduced you to them and showed you their range of stunning handmade candles in closer detail. And of course, you know that Parable candles are available in my online shop at Pomegranate.

Parable produce a couple of different collections of candles. The Wallpaper Collection is full of wonderful designs and patterns taken from their extensive range of vintage wallpaper rollers. And then there’s The Aridi Series, which is a collaboration with world-famous Lebanese-American designer and master calligrapher Marwan Aridi.

Marwan Aridi’s work includes tapestries, tableware, artwork and of course candles. His pieces can be found in various projects around the world and his designs feature incredibly intricate geometric patterns, ornate floral designs and complex calligraphy.

Coupled with Parable Designs’s extensive research into precision engineering and clever casting techniques for their candles, a collaboration seemed perfect, and The Aridi Series was born.

When I first saw the candles from The Aridi Series, I was amazed and totally mesmerized by the sheer intricacy of the designs and by the wonderful level of finish. These are not just candles – they are jewellery for the home. You’ll see what I mean…


Most of the Aridi collection is currently available in nine different, beautifully geometric or flowing patterns and in four colours & four fragrances. I’ve grouped them by colour for you here so you can easily see how the patterns look in each of them. 


Left: Oasis with its delicate floral pattern reminiscent of Persian or Turkish designs. Top Right: Orient with its traditional Middle-Eastern star design. Bottom Right: Mirage with a more contemporary wavy pattern. All shown in the hand-painted white gold finish, which has a beautiful, mellow soft sheen.


Right: Citadel with a beautiful stylised floral motif (maybe a modern acanthus leaf?). Top left: Inscription with an incredibly intricate pattern and medallion. Bottom left: Bazaar with a bold and fluid stylised floral motif. All shown here in the hand-painted bronze finish for a slightly more opulent look.


Left: Paradise with a gorgeous Arabesque ornate design. Top right: Labyrith because well, it’s a very cool-looking maze!. Bottom right: Coral has a lovely interlocking design. All shown here in the copper hand-painted finish, with a more striking and stronger contrast.


Clockwise: Coral, Inscription and Citadel are also available in a plain cream finish. I think you definitely lose some of the glamour and beauty of the candles in this more plain finish, but it could be perfect for a minimalist space.


The Aridi collection comes in a range of four unique and exclusive fragrances (well, actually it’s three fragrances, but you’ll see in a sec…). They are:

Indian Temple: An oriental amber perfume with jasmine and vetivert, cinnamon, patchouli, vanilla and frankincence. Perfect if you like a rich, heady, eastern scent.

Leather & Oak: A rich, woody, masculine fragrance with tones of leather, saffron and oakwood. Great for a space like a library or a more masculine area.

White Spice: Clove and cinnamon with jasmine and lily notes & a little ylang. A rich scent that makes you think of Christmas…

Unscented: The fourth ‘fragrance’ is actually an unscented one. You’re able to order your gorgeous Aridi Series (or any Parable candle actually) without a fragrance at all.  I think this is such a great option because, after all, not everyone likes a scented candle right? Perfect for a gift if you’re not sure what scent to choose and equally perfect if you want to light your candle at table or use it for a restaurant project. 


You might be wondering about some practical facts, like what the candles are made from, their burn time and how they are packaged, so I thought I’d include some of these details here as well (although of course you can find all the info you need in the shop!)

The candles are made from a natural creamy rapeseed wax and have a burn time of between 40-50 hours. At just 8.25 cms in diameter and 9.5 cms in height, they have a lovely scale and they’re a great size for putting at table over dinner. And, considering the amount of work involved in making and finishing these little jewels, their price is quite sensible at £30.

Oh and they come in a smart branded box, with detailed fragrance, care and safety info.


The Aridi Series Candle Packaging.


In addition to the ‘standard’ range I’ve just shown you, the Aridi Series also includes another pattern which is available in a larger size (and at a higher price as you can imagine!). I wanted to include it here though because it is absolutely stunning. It’s called Arabesque and it looks like this:


Arabesque is available in several colours, but here it is in a Charcoal with White Gold finish (left) and in Fresh Linen with Graphite finish (right). Can you believe this is a candle?!


Here is Arabesque as it starts to burn down. The lower the wick goes, the more stunning the candle becomes – the light dances through the pattern and brings it to life. Parable candles are beautiful whether they are lit or not…

I think you’ll agree that it was a pretty good idea for Marwan Aridi and Parable Designs to have collaborated together on this lovely collection right?! Feel free to visit my shop to see the range in full.

’till next time…

Image Credits: All photos by Parable Designs

Presenting the New 2016 Zenza Pendant Lights


Today, we’re taking a look at some of the latest Zenza pendant lights launched earlier this year. Zenza is one of our most popular and successful brands at Pomegranate and I simply love their wonderful contemporary interpretation of what is otherwise a relatively traditional skill.

As you probably know by now, everything I choose to present at Pomegranate is handmade by skilled artisans and craftsmen. I love traditional skills and crafts being cleverly re-interpreted for a more modern consumer and interior and I really enjoy getting to know my suppliers and finding out the stories behind their brands.

I know you really like the range of Zenza pendant lights and you can read their story in this post I wrote a while ago. Theirs is a nice (and rather romantic!) story. But for today’s post, let’s focus on some of their newest pendant lights. I’m curious to know what you think!


The Grace pendant light has a really elegant and graceful shape (it’s in the name right!), with its elongated silhouette, bulbous waist and long tassle. I think it would look amazing hung in a pair, at varying heights and quite low over a side table or console or in a long cluster down the length of a stairwell.


Doesn’t this arrangement look like it belongs in a scene from Aladdin?? I’m not saying this would work for most of us, but it’s quite a magical display of the Grace pendant light!


This is the Grace Moorish pendant light, with an ornate lattice design that throws amazing shadows on its surrounding walls and ceiling. In case you’re thinking it looks quite large, it’s actually available in four sizes – small, medium, large and extra large. This is the large.


Grace is also available with a simpler, less dramatic pattern called Sky, which is basically a series of little holes punched through the metal. This creates a more uniform, less patterned effect, but I think it’s incredibly elegant and lovely for a more modern space.


Here you can see Grace Moorish and Sky in a couple of different sizes, hung quite low over this heavily cushioned seating area.


Grace Moorish in two sizes, hung quite low over a little seating corner. Look at the patterns created on the walls!


Reminiscent of a classic cloche or bell shape, the Dome is quite different from most of the other Zenza pendant lights. It’s simple and modern and, although I must admit it’s not a personal favourite, I can see it being used quite successfully in a commercial environment, like a bar or restaurant. 


The Dome is also available with two designs. This is the Sky with the more regular pattern…


And this is the Moorish, with the more ornate and elaborate pattern.


The Dome looks nice in a little cluster like this as well. It is available in three sizes as you can see here; small, medium and large.


The Buddah is a lovely pendant light with a gorgeous rounded shape and bags of character. The pattern here is totally different from those in the rest of the Zenza pendant light range and is quite beautiful. With a definite Asian feel, this light would look amazing over a dining table or hung low over a coffee table. Far East meets Middle East is quite a winning design combo here!


See what I mean about the pattern? Just look at that effect! The Buddah is available in three sizes; small, medium and large.


The Buddah hung low over a dining table looks so effective. What do you think of this piece??


Ok, so the Oval isn’t technically that new, but I’ve never shown it before so I thought I’d include it here. It’s actually from last year’s collection. I think it’s a nice simple design and, because it’s oval, it would work really well over a long oval or rectangular dining table. 

It’s also interesting as it’s available in the standard silver finish, but also in a black oxide finish which would look amazing in a black and white scheme or a dark interior.


The Oval is actually quite a classic shape but made a bit unusual by the Moorish pattern. It comes in three sizes; small, large and extra large.


Here you can see the Oval in the black oxide finish. The design is really lovely and somehow stands out differently with the black finish.


The Oval in situ, creating lovely patterns on those walls.

What do you think of the new 2016 Zenza pendant lights? Do you have a favourite? I think mine is the Grace with the Buddha coming a close second.

If you’d like more details on any of the new styles from Zenza, then please just get in touch. You can see the models currently available at Pomegranate here, but don’t forget that you can order any lamp you like, even if it’s not shown in the Pomegranate boutique. Just drop me a message and I’ll be happy to help!

’till next time…

All images by Zenza.