The gardens you shouldn’t miss at RHS Hampton Court Flower Show 2018. It’s big and it’s hot, but the world’s largest flower show, RHS Hampton Court, is the place to be this week for sheer spectacle. Over the next six days 140,000 visitors will flock to the 34 acres around Hampton Court Palace in west London to admire show gardens and plants and get ideas for their own outdoor spaces. Show gardens celebrating the return of the Busy Lizzie, a very slick outdoor bar and a colourful Chilean vineyard take Gold medals while the Mr Men hill and Piet Oudolf’s meadow of flowers will have everyone reaching for their camera phones.
Meat hooks in a show garden? Don’t miss Conscious Consumerism, exploring the impact of animal agriculture on deforestation – creepy and powerful. Or lose yourself in a rusted steel box where waving grasses and flowers are reflected in an endless meadow of mirrors.
What to See at Hampton Court Flower Show
Busy Lizzies have been off the shelves in recent years due to a problem with downy mildew, but B&Q have bred a disease resistant strain and this lovely garden celebrates their colourful return, mixing them with emerald tropical plants and smart paving to give them a modern makeover in the B&Q Bursting Busy Lizzie Garden.
Designer Rosemary Coldstream has the solution with Best of Both Worlds in which one half of the garden is a contemporary space of straight lines, topiary and sculpture, the other a soft courtyard of multistem trees, flowering plants and circles divided by a pleached hornbeam hedge.
Clever idea, but how long do we give the marriage?
Edible Gardens Not to Miss
Santa Rita ‘Living La Vida 120’ Garden is Irishman Alan Rudden’s first UK show garden and he’s celebrating a Gold medal for his inviting take on a Chilean vineyard garden packed with succulents, cacti and agapanthus.
Former head gardener at Raymond Blanc’s Manoir aux Quat’Saisons and Soho Farmhouse, Anna Greenland makes her show debut with a mini treasure trove for picklers and preservers in Herbs for Preserves outside the Dig In marquee.
In only 3x3m, there’s inspiration here for urban gardeners in this pretty outdoor larder with ingredients for pestos, vinegars, oxymels (medicinal vinegar and honey extractions) and quick pickles using coriander, basils, fennel and other herb plants.
The Garlic Farm fills the tent with an enticing scent with a great display of bulbs to browse and buy.
Worried about blight on your tomatoes this year? Pennard Plants’ new Happy Days tomato is resistant and there will be plants for sale at their stand.
Anton Chekhov, when not writing plays such as The Cherry Orchard, was also a medical doctor and would treat his patients with herbs in the garden of his dacha outside Moscow. This charming garden designed by Hannah Gardener and Anna Benn recreates the garden and packs it with Russian herbs from Siberian ginseng and tarragon to hypericum and marshmallow. There’s even a hayrick. No cherry trees though – that would have been too literal says Gardner – who planted apple trees instead.
A meteor has crashed to earth, shattering paving and scorching plants. The Garlic Farm fills the tent with an enticing scent with a great display of bulbs to browse and buy. This was the idea behind Element Mystique, a collaboration between designer Lawrence Roberts and Belgian sculptor William Roobrouck.