GLT’s editor Keeley Rodgers had a blooming wonderful day at this year’s Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival - here are some of her highlights from the “Glastonbury of gardening”.
1. Photo shoot at the RHS letters: Never one to miss an opportunity for a photo stop, I headed for the glorious RHS letters, arranged by the very talented florist Jonathan Moseley.
I had to wait though - a very important guest, Marcel “le Corgi” (apparently the UK’s most famous corgi - and the first to be invited to the RHS Chelsea Flower Show) was showing his best side during the press preview of the festival.
I was able to get a quick snap with the RHS’ group sales and marketing manager Melissa Hackney. The festival is a great choice for groups and Melissa told me that they welcomed a number of group travel organisers and their members this year. Don’t worry if you missed out though, the 2020 dates for your diary are 6th-12th July.
2. The BBC Springwatch Garden: Designed by the award-winning Jo Thompson, in consultation with wildlife gardener Kate Bradbury, the aim of this garden was to encourage the nation to turn their gardens into nature reserves.
The three distinct spaces, each with their own characteristics, featured different practical ways to welcome wildlife including plants of pollinators and shelters made from natural materials.
3. Relaxing by the Long Water: With the stunning Hampton Court Palace in the background, the deckchairs alongside the Long Water offered the perfect spot to sit and reflect at the festival - just make sure you’ve got someone to help you out of the deckchair!
This year’s floating stage featured a lively schedule of music and entertainment throughout. I loved the flamingo features too - a great touch.
4. Smelling the 2020 Rose of the Year: The Festival of Roses is a must for all visitors to the event - you’re immersed in fragrances and colours - it really is a treat for the senses. It also saw the launch of the Sweet Honey ’Komercaso’, the 2020 Rose of the Year.
New for this year was The Roses Tearoom, the ideal spot to enjoy afternoon tea while taking in the blooms.
5. Back to Nature Garden: It was great to see the awareness of how great gardening is for mental health at this year’s festival, not least with the RHS Back to Nature Garden from the Chelsea Flower Show.
Co-designed by HRH The Duchess of Cambridge and landscape architects Andrée Davies and Adam White, plants and landscaping from the garden will be relocated to The Dewnans Centre in Dawlish to create a lovely green space for patients and hospital staff to enjoy.
6. Bee haven at the Urban Pollinator: Featuring bee-friendly plants and wonderfully symmetric bee-printed tiles, I really enjoyed soaking up the delights of this garden.
Combining design, function and wildlife-friendly messages, the Urban Pollinator Garden is being rehomed at Cransley Hospice in Kettering, Northamptonshire, for more people to enjoy it.
Next year’s RHS Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival takes place between 6th-12th July.
For information and details about group bookings and benefits go to www.rhs.org.uk/groups.