During the time of the Hookers (1850s to 1880s) pressure from various Commissioners of Works meant that the Gardens had to provide floral entertainment for the masses. Neither Hooker was over-keen on allowing the public into the gardens beyond strictly controlled times. Jospeh Hooker was concerned that the public, if given more time in the gardens "...resorted to the woods for immoral purposes in great numbers". Both Hookers wanted to maintain the status quo of only allowing the public in after noon, to allow serious botanists and students the morning for studies without the masses getting in their way.
But, over-ruled, the masses were allowed in for extended opening times. And to entertain them (perhaps to keep them out of the woods?), the Commissioner of Works demanded bedding displays. These displays were described by William Morris as "an aberration of the human mind" (hence the title of the post).
I quite enjoy the municipal* bedding displays at Tatton Park show (below and centre) and when seen out and about (bottom photo).
But I'm not sure about their presence in a botanic garden. I shall be sure to check for any aberrations when hopefully SomeBeans and I visit Kew for the second time ever in the summer.
If you want to have a go at creating your own aberrations this summer, this link has some designs for you to try.
*To be honest I just love the opportunity to use the word 'municipal'.