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Best ever Hampton Court Palace Flower Show - Winners at world's largest annual flower show announced
Best ever Hampton Court Palace Flower Show - Winners at world's largest annual flower show announced
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Winners at world’s largest annual flower show announced

The world’s largest annual flower show is showcasing its best crop of gardens (3-8 July), with more designers achieving an RHS Gold Medal than ever before in the shows 18 year history. Ten Gold Medals were announced at Hampton Court Palace Flower Show today, 3 July 2007, with TV gardener Chris Beardshaw also picking up the coveted Tudor Rose Award for Best Show Garden. 

Bob Sweet, RHS show organiser, said of the record-winning year, “Despite the challenging conditions the designers have pulled out all the stops and created a feast of colourful, sumptuous and exciting gardens.  Children played a role with a number of the gardens and their creativity and imagination shines through with elements such as gigantic spider webs, winking scarecrows and pebble mazes.” 

Chris Beardshaw worked with around 500 kids from over 30 schools around the country to create the The Growing Schools Garden – Learning Outside the Classroom, with the support of the Department for Education and Skills.   To enter the garden children walk down a slope where perennial plants tower over them and a raised pond allows them to see water insects at eye level.  Some trees are even upside down.  The multi-sensory garden boasts a straw wattle and daub nature viewing hide and next door there are vegetables to eat forever.  There is even a giant ant clambering over a roof, lonely cardboard cow, sheep and some chickens in the smallholding next door.

Alton Infant School’s Learning to Look After Our World was awarded an RHS Gold Medal and the award for Best Small Garden.  Based on a design by Year 2 children, it includes a wild area, sensory garden, grow your own delights and highlights an experiment to deter slugs. 

Bob continues, “The current trend for healthy eating and growing fruit and vegetables is key at this year’s show, with many gardens and exhibits bursting with inspirational and clever ideas to grow anything from aubergines and apples to courgettes and pomegranates in small or large spaces.

“In contrast to the gardens that provide ideas to take home and incorporate in the garden, Tony Smith’s In Digestion, which achieved an RHS Gold Medal and the Award for Best Conceptual Garden, is a thought provoking art installation, which is suggestive of a digestive tract, and includes 4.1 million lettuces, which were all grown from seed at the show.”

An RHS Gold Medal and Tudor Rose Award for the Best Water Garden went to Lilies Water Gardens, View Across the Water, designed by Simon Harmon. The garden is set around the edge of small lake, with a small jetty – the perfect viewpoint for the atmospheric hills in the distance.

In the floral marquees the UK’s best growers and specialist nurseries from around the world also saw 37 gold medals being awarded. The Tudor Rose for Best Exhibit in the Floral Marquees was awarded to Jekka’s Herb Farm. A seasoned exhibitor and gold medal winner, this is the first time Jekka has won a Tudor Rose.  Jekka, who started her business 20 years ago explains, “I wanted to show that herbs are not just delicious and medicinal, they are also beautiful.  This is such an honour as the best nurseries are here and it is also the first time that a totally organic exhibitor has won too!”  Jekka supplies some unusual places – at London Zoo her ‘Cat Thyme’ is a favourite addition to the big cats’ diet! 

Gardens and exhibits at the RHS flower shows are not judged against each other, they are all judged to a standard, so more than one medal from each medal category can be awarded.

This year’s show features almost 50 show, small and water gardens and over 120 nurseries displaying and selling plants all week.  For tickets to the Hampton Court Palace Flower Show (3-8 July), call the ticket hotline on 0870 906 3791 (public line) or 0870 906 3790 (RHS Members), and tickets are available on the gate (RHS members only Tues and Wed, all welcome Thurs – Sun).  Tickets range from £13 to £30 with children aged 5-15 years £5 and under-5’s going free.  For further show information including how to get there and online booking visit www.rhs.org.uk/flowershows