The RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show has more gardens than any other RHS show this year with more than 40 in contests ranging from the big show gardens to cutting edge conceptual gardens.
Among the Show Gardens are a design by Bath-based Emma Bannister, working with Ben Donadel, to raise awareness of premenstrual syndrome, which affects around 30 per cent of women. It is designed to reflect the mood swings of PMT and has a centre of corkscrew hazel set into Bowles golden grass.
In Cancer Research UK’s Life Garden, visitors will be able to put on a headset to experience a ‘virtual reality’ garden with more than 10,000 flowers representing those who have left the charity a bequest.
Floating waves of turf will represent the unpredictable lives of children in poverty and disaster-hit countries, such as Sierra Leone, in a garden by John Warland for World Vision. The turf ribbons run through an ox-eye daisy meadow that symbolises hope and the support of World Vision’s community projects.
Summer Gardens will include celebrations of the Arts and Crafts movement in A Summer Retreat, which champions simplicity and craftsmanship; the work of cancer support charity Katie’s Lymphoedema Fund with a cut flower garden; and the 60th anniversary of housing and care charity The Abbeyfield Society in a garden designed for a care home.
A design by Andrew Fisher Tomlin and Dan Bowyer is raising awareness of Crohn’s Disease and the research that is being carried out. Described as a contemporary plant-lover’s garden, it will feature tree ferns and unusual exotics.
Water Gardens return to RHS Hampton Court after an eight-year break. The wild beauty of Scandinavia has inspired a design by Stephen Hall with a pebble beach and wildflowers, while Jeni Cairns is creating a garden for the Wildfowl and Wetland Trust that shows how using water runoff from buildings in water features and mini wetlands can enhance a garden and help wildlife.
First time show garden designer Cherry Carmen is creating a garden to celebrate the work of gardeners’ charity Perennial. Cherry, who has just had treatment for cancer, has designed a garden with cascading water walls and plane trees trained to form a parasol.
The 10th year of Conceptual Gardens includes Sheena Seeks’ group of five greenhouses, filled with air, water, soil, plants and sand that illustrate the needs of plants and the dangers of the greenhouse effect. Amanda Miller explores living with depression in Inner Demons and Wormhole, by John Humphreys and Andy Hyde is inspired by theories of time and space. Border Control by Tom Massey and John Ward will highlight the plight of refugees and the risks they take to reach safety.
New this year are City Gardens, designed to showcase ideas for small spaces. New Horizons features drought resistant planting and an Art Nouveau-inspired pergola and stained glass windows.
The Drought Garden marks the 40th anniversary of England’s 1976 drought with a dried river bed as a central feature, and Will Williams celebrates the landscape of Sussex in a garden for Streetscape, which provides landscape gardening apprenticeships. Will, aged 20, is the youngest designer at RHS Hampton Court.
Also new this year are the Capability Brown Gardens, which celebrate the 300th anniversary of the landscape architect’s birth. Capable of Reinvention is inspired by his use of reflection in lakes, Mind the Gap gives a modern take on the ha-has he used in many designs and Reflecting the Landscape uses serpentine landforms in a contemporary homage.
Visitors will be transported to America with World Gardens that will roam across the USA taking in Austin in Texas, Charleston and Oregon.
There will also be a design inspired by the Incas and another that follows the journey of pilgrims on the camellia-lined route to Santiago de Compostela in Spain.
In addition to the professional designers, the amateur winners of the RHS and BBC Feel Good Front Garden contest will be building their entries at RHS Hampton Court.
SS Great Britain and the Victorian era are the inspiration for BBC Bristol’s winner, Simon Judge. Sarah Morgan, the Kent winner, features a beachscape; BBC Cornwall’s entry, by four designers on Eden Project Learning courses, is a place of relaxation for an office worker; and Lee Burkhill, winner of the BBC Manchester contest, is designing a space for neighbours to meet and chat over a cup of tea.
Butterflies return to RHS Hampton Court for the first time since 2013. Thousands will be housed in a dome with around 30 different species represented.
Plant Heritage will celebrate National Collections with exhibits of iris, including Bliss iris from Cotswold grower Anne Milner, echiums, and Hakonechloa macra.
Also at the show will be the popular Festival of Roses marquee with this year’s design inspired by Beatrix Potter’s garden at Hill Top, marking the 150th anniversary of her birth. The Rose of the Year will be announced at the show.
There will be 62 scarecrows entered in the annual scarecrow contest; this year the theme is space.
Finally, one of the most eye-catching displays is likely to be from Franchi Seeds who are bringing in three classic Fiat 500s for their Cook and Grow exhibit.
They will be surrounded by olive trees and Italian vegetable varieties grown from the Franchi range with a market scene backdrop.
• RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show runs from July 5-10. Tickets are available from http://www.rhs.org.uk/hamptoncourt
• Find out what Cotswold designer Paul Hervey-Brookes has planned for the show here
• Main picture © RHS.
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