Family, Food and The Environment Take Centre Stage at Hampton Court

Family, Food and The Environment Take Centre Stage at Hampton Court
There’s a fresh new feel to this year’s Hampton Court Palace Flower Show. Key themes include getting kids interested in all things horticultural, ‘growing your own’ and ‘tasting your own’ fruit and veg, as well as sustainable gardening for today’s world.

‘Grow Your Own Veg’ is the RHS campaign that’s got the nation buzzing.  Hampton Court Palace Flower Show champions the new movement and many of the show gardens reflect this.  Visit edible gardens like The Torres Tapas Garden, by Anthea Guthrie, which features Mediterranean vegetables used in authentic tapas dishes to complement the wines of Torres; or Francesca Cleary and Ian Lawrence’s ‘Mange Tout’, a decorative vegetable garden where everything, including the flowers, are edible

Designed as a place to experiment with vegetable seeds, A Hampshire Garden shows a range of traditional and modern cucumber cultivars grown by Anstey Junior School in Alton.  For the foodie who would like to grow their own organic meal, why not get ideas from Maurice Butcher’s The Giving Garden - designed with soil to plate menus in mind.

For those who want to know what to do with their homegrown produce, a brand new feature provides answers.  At Quaglino’s Kitchen in association with NS&I, Craig James, Head Chef of the renowned restaurant in St James’s, is giving a series of cookery demos and talks, bringing to life delicious ideas for preparing summer vegetables, herbs, potatoes and soft fruits.

For the young, gardens can be places for play, learning and relaxation.  Chris Gutteridge and Anthony Cox’s Child’s Play is about fooling around outdoors - having fun in covered playrooms, crawl tunnels, sand pits, hidden streams and a rubber patio.  In contrast, Adam White and Andree Davies’s ‘Playscape – Community Play Garden’, focuses on an organic approach to play, drawing inspiration from a time when a tree trunk could provide hours of entertainment.

Educating young minds is behind Chris Beardshaw’s ‘The Growing Schools Garden – Learning Outside the Classroom’. Over 30 schools took part in designing, planting and growing the garden. In  Learning To Look After Our World the children of Alton Infant School have come up with a design that replicates their own school garden - an area where they have learnt about conservation, recycling, organic gardening, plant and animal life cycles.

A number of gardens deal with the environmental issues resulting from the destruction of front gardens in favour of off-road parking.  Heidi Harvey and Fern Alder’s Full Frontal small garden addresses this by blending a permeable hard surface – ideal for parking - with planting to support wildlife. 

In our throw away world of conspicuous consumption and gross waste, the Wildlife Garden in Skip design by Ruth Holmes of The Royal Parks provides the ultimate inspiring horticultural solution for sustainability and recycling.  All plants and materials will be salvaged from the leftovers of the Chelsea Flower Show and will be re-used at Hampton Court.

Visitors to this year’s Hampton Court Palace Flower Show can also enjoy around 20 major show gardens, five ‘Conceptual Gardens’, approximately 22 small gardens, and almost half a dozen water gardens, a category unique to the show.  The UK’s best nurseries and plant specialists will be displaying and selling plants, including many new varieties, in the eight large marquees. 

For tickets to the Hampton Court Palace Flower Show, call the ticket hotline on 0870 906 3791 (public line) or 0870 906 3790 (RHS Members).  Tickets range from £13 to £30 with children aged 5-15 years £5 and under-5’s going free.  For further show information and online booking visit

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