#wordlesswednesday- RHS Hampton Court

I wish you could smell these Malmaison carnations. They are old fashioned glorious! 


More like a rose than a carnation, these historic flowers were displayed by Jim Marshall at RHS Hampton Court this week. They rightly  won Gold and Best in Show in the plant heritage section of the floral marquee.


They remind me of buttonholes, Floris soap, and country house glasshouses. Such a romantic clove-like scent, and a story of rescue and revival. The Malmaison carnation originated in France as a chance seedling. It was named Souvenir de la Malmaison after the rose grown in the Empress Josephine’s garden and quickly became fashionable. Nurserymen started to breed new forms in a sumptuous range of colours. Favourites of English country houses until the Second World War,  they gradually died out due to disease and labour intensive requirements. Malmaison carnations are prone to damping off disease and red spider and need constant renewal by cuttings and layering. 

Grower Jim Marshall has made it his life’s work to save the carnation and now uses micro-propagation to improve vigour and disease resistance. Plant supplies for sale are still in relatively short supply and favourite colours soon sell out. They are a bit of a challenge, but well worth the effort for the beautiful colours and unforgettable scent.

For more information contact Plant Heritage,  jim@malmaisons.plus.com. 01473822400 Hullwood Barn, Bolton Lane,Shelley, Ipswich IP75RE. 

15 thoughts on “#wordlesswednesday- RHS Hampton Court

    • Are you coming next year? Would be lovely to meet up. Maybe I could persuade you to visit some of the lovely gardens in our area. National Trust Stoneywell, Calke Abbey, and Coton Manor. Would be glad to show you the best bits and act as your guide. x

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    • They are intriguing. Couldn’t fail to spot them at Hampton Court. The whole heritage section was awash with the scent. Worth a spot in the greenhouse -even if they are a bit of a challenge.

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    • They are indeed not at all hardy. But sumptuous and irresistible . I’ve got a tatty corner of the poly tunnel with a pile of pots containing them. They can’t be planted outdoors because the weather spoils them- but I have a constant supply of cut flowers right up until Christmas. Worth the effort. Thanks for reading x

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    • Isn’t it gorgeous. But they are a devil to grow. I’ve shuffled my plants around between the greenhouse and the little poly tunnel. They like being in the doorway of the poly tunnel so they get protection from the rain, but get a through-draft to prevent mildew etc. I dare not move them now! Hope you are having a good day Mike. Ever so hot here. I’m wilting. xx

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