From the seven deadly sins, to the wilds of Australia - there were diverse themes for the show gardens this year.
Conceptual Gardens focused on the seven deadly sins
Each of the Conceptual Gardens was themed around one of the seven deadly sins. Rachel Parker Soden created a garden with a theme of lust, re-contextualising the flower show garden as a brothel with its own red light district and the flower show visitor as a voyeur.
Nilufer Danis’s design for wrath was inspired by the instability of an eruptive volcano.
Marcus Green’s beautiful meadow planting had at its centre an artificial representation of the perfect lawn, depicting the sin of envy, while Sarah Jane Rothwell and Joan Ma Roig’s greed design depicted a confessionary and invited the viewer to consider the analogy between judge and sinner.
Katerina Rafaj’s gluttony garden focused on the sin of food waste in a world where millions of people are starving, and Sheena Seeks created a sloth-inspired design.
Finally, Amanda Miller created a design symbolising pride. The conceptual gardens at Hampton are often thought-provoking, inspiring and often controversial and this year was no different.
Your Garden, Your Budget
This category took over from last year's Low cost, High impact Gardens, and aimed to give visitors great ideas to take home when there is a limited budget but a desire to update the outdoor space.
The four very different show gardens demonstrated that high quality design and plants could be used with any fixed budget. The RHS and Association of Professional Landscapers ran a competition this year inviting landscapers to submit a design to budgets of £7,000, £10,000, £13,000 and £15,000. The winning gardens, designed exclusively by members of the APL, featured striking yet practical designs that could be translated into any garden.
Design heads down under
Former RHS Chelsea Flower Show designer Jim Fogarty designed a show garden called 'Essence of Australia' (right) that recreated the feel of the Australian Garden at Melbourne’s Botanic Gardens. The garden
celebrated Australian flora and contemporary design as seen at the multi-award-winning 15-hectare Australian Garden at the Royal Botanic Gardens Cranbourne, a division of the Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne. The show garden evoked the relaxed feel of Australia and Australians’ love of outdoor living as well as celebrating the states and gardening landscapes of Victoria and Northern Territory as two key travel destinations for British holidaymakers.
Still with an international flavour, World Vision presented the last of its trilogy of gardens inspired by the 30th anniversary of the Ethiopian famine – 'The World Vision Garden'.
Viewing platforms either side of the Jordans Cereals wildlife-themed garden gave excellent vantage points of Selina Botham's design, while Rebecca Govier's abstract legacy-themed design for Macmillan Cancer Support was another highlight.
Linking with the community theme at the show this year, the Monday Morning Club from Thetford in Norfolk created a show garden inspired by Thetford and its surrounding area.
The bird’s nest-inspired garden for Ollies Place featured a Perspex cube, and Vestra Wealth's contemporary summer design were highlights for fans of contemporary garden design.
Coolings Garden Centre celebrated its centenary with a woodland-style garden.
The Summer Gardens included a design from the Bounce Back Foundation, which gave ex-offenders a second chance, while Horticolous chose to depict part of a country estate.
Children's charity the NSPCC looked back over four eras of helping children since 1884, and the People’s Trust for Endangered Species (PTES) and British Hedgehog Preservation Society (BHPS) joined forces to show back gardens that included features and good connections for hedgehogs. Jeni Cairns designed a community horticultural and arts space for Metal called 'A Space to Connect and Grow'.
Finally, Jonathan Marks’s contemporary garden celebrated the launch of his garden design business.