RHS: Hampton Court Palace
Posted on August 28 2017
RHS Hampton Court Palace opened its gates to the masses this year as lovers of horticulture descended on the palace's iconic grounds for inspiration and beauty.
During a very beautiful and blissfully hot July day, I made my way over to Hampton Court Palace to explore this year's, RHS Flower Show. Amongst the crowds, I was excited to see what the exhibition had to offer and how different it would be from my very first RHS experience at Chatsworth House. During the six day event, visitors were treated to over 250,000 flowers showcased across 22 world class show gardens, stands and installations that covered a variety of styles, from intimate European design to sea side retreats. Take a tour of some of the highlights below in what was an exciting day out, full of discovery.
The Journey of Life - Edward Mairis | Miracle/Elements of Life - Bill Wilder
One of the most colourful show gardens this year by floral display and setting had to be 'The Journey of Life' designed by Edward Mairis. Set against a backdrop of a vibrant and bold screen, visitors were invited on a journey of time. Starting at an ancient olive tree, representing ancient gardens and wise old souls, visitors were able to explore the many variations of plants and gardening styles from giant bonsai trees to high tech atriums. By the end of the journey of time, guests were introduced to three hydroponic salad towers, demonstrating the future of gardening and new ways of sourcing food.
Voted the best conceptual garden and winner of the RHS gold medal, 'Miracle/Elements of Life' designed by Bill Wilder, is a truly striking design that stopped visitors in their tracks. The conceptual garden took viewers underground to understand plant roots and scientific soil composition, showcasing the importance of well-maintained soil. Perched on top of a large bubbling water tank, the garden exposed its roots for all to see, as they dangle over the tank of water and bubbles, symbolising the exchange of elements between the soil and plant roots.
It's All About Community - Andrew Fisher Tomlin & Dan Bowyer | The Oregon Garden - Sadie May Stowell | Brownfield Metamorphosis - Martyn Wilson
Gold medalist and winner of best construction, Blind Veterans UK 'It's All About Community' garden was the centre of attention at this year's festival. The design celebrates the vibrancy and activities of the beneficiaries, volunteers and staff at Blind Veterans UK. The community garden aims to bring the community together, offering a multi sensory experience for visitors and those that are visually impaired. Amongst the impressive willow weaved sculpture were plants that have been selected for their scents and textures such as roses, dahlias, grasses and herbs.
The Oregon garden had been designed to capture the natural beauty of the state, taking inspiration from the mountainous landscapes, 'Rose Test' and Japanese style gardens. Rocky outcrops representing mountains formed the backdrop, while conifers gave a feeling of height and scale. The central focus was a still pool of water, reflecting the trees and plants. What I loved about this garden is its ability to look like it had been growing there, undisturbed for years before the show, something that is very difficult to achieve.
On approach to the Brownfield Metamorphosis garden, designed by Martyn Wilson, visitors were greeted by a series of rusted steel structures. Inspired by the industrial and urbanised presence of Landschaftpark, Germany and the High Line, New York, the garden referenced the post-industrial stage of many cities and towns. Sculptures of steel were torn and bent, being taken over by foliage as they entered the regeneration stage. This next stage will provide an opportunity to local communities, giving something back and providing a calming space to unwind.
Watch This Space Garden - Andy Sturgeon | The Pazo's Secret Garden - Rose McMonigall
Born from a desire to reuse and recycle, Andy Strugeon created the 'Watch This Space' garden by using objects and elements from storage sheds, barns and designers' own gardens. The main purpose of this garden is to encourage young designers into the landscaping profession, addressing the recruitment crisis and demonstrating the rewarding and meaningful nature of this occupation.
Designed around the romantic surroundings of a Galician palace, 'The Pazo's Secret Garden', designed by Rose McMonigall, explored the winding paths and beautiful avenues that make up the palace grounds. With such a rustic feel and a clear European presence or peace and tranquillity, this garden was one of my favourites from this year's exhibition, showcasing a side of design that we very rarely get to see in such context.
This year's Hampton Court Palace Flower Show appeared to pull out all the stops, exhibiting a full range of designs that visitors could not help but fall in love with. With two flower shows down, I am looking forward to experiencing what each of the other shows has to offer in the future.
For further details on the gardens on display this year, and to book tickets for next year's event, click to view the official RHS Hampton Court Palace website via the link.