RHS Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival, supported by Viking, and our first major show of 2021, transformed the grounds of Hampton Court Palace into an extravaganza of colour and inspirational gardening.
Following the resurgence in popularity of gardening across the nation in 2020, the UK’s biggest outdoor festival of flowers focused on how everyone can benefit from the joy of growing, whatever green space they have. We also championed growing your own fruit and vegetables with an expanded area dedicated to allotments
Well-known faces including award-winning designer Tom Stuart-Smith, no-dig champions Charles Dowding and Stephanie Hafferty, and former RHS Young Designer Will Williams designed inspirational gardens, while Dame Mary Berry, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and Chris Packham took to the stage to provide expert tips, advice and insights.
After the huge increase in people growing their own produce, 2021’s festival introduced a larger RHS Allotment area
providing tips, advice and information on all things ‘Grow Your Own’.
Festival-goers could attend talks and practical demonstrations throughout the week and be inspired by allotment plots built by community groups and grow your own experts.
The judges voted for the Friends of Ascott Allotments plot as the top exhibit in this area
For the first time an RHS Flower Market brought together a variety of florists and cut flower specialists with an array of bouquets and everything needed to create your own.
For gardeners looking to grow their own bouquets, there was the RHS Cut Flower Garden
. Designed by Carien van Boxtel, the garden was filled with a variety of colourful combinations of summer flowers to pick for home-grown floral arrangements.
In the Show Gardens category, Will Williams returned with a Scandinavian lifestyle-inspired garden, The Viking Friluftsliv Garden
, which incorporates the elegant design principles for which the award-winning river and ocean cruise line is known.
The only Gold Medal winning garden at this year's festival was Tom Simpson's design for The Cancer Research UK Legacy Garden
. The garden invited contemplation and restoration through a cool calm planting scheme around a meandering figure of eight.
Amelia Bouquet designed her first garden in the Lifestyle category, The Communication Garden in support of Mental Health UK
, creating a tranquil space to meet, talk and listen and underlining the importance of face-to-face communication.
Rustic woodland planting and native trees provide a secluded seating area, drawing the visitor in and providing a safe place to strike up a conversation with friends. The garden, below, was awarded a Silver Medal.
The festival continued to highlight key issues and environmental challenges within the Global Impact Gardens category
, with all three exhibitors picking up Silver Medals for their eye-catching designs.
Tracy Foster focused on issues of plastic pollution in our gardens
, canals and rivers, depicting a large floating bottle with plants to represent the species used to make natural alternatives to plastic.
Meanwhile Felicity O’Rourke’s dramatic Extinction
garden featured an apparent plane crash symbolising the sixth mass extinction threat to our planet and Baz Grainger created a space using sustainable materials highlighting the impact the clothing industry is having on the environment with his The Fashion Footprint Garden
The Floral Marquee, supported by St. James’s Place Wealth Management, was brimming with plants from nurseries from all over the UK with an array of species and cultivars, including first-time exhibitors Alchemy Ferns and Kells Bay House and Garden.
Hardy’s Cottage Garden Plants, pictured, which has exhibited at every RHS Hampton Court Palace show, took centre stage as Master Grower with a fresh and colourful display of perennials and annuals.
Visitors immersed themselves in the ever popular Festival of Roses, synonymous with RHS Hampton Court , where some of the world's best breeders displayed their finest blooms.
And there was plenty of refreshment to be enjoyed in the neighbouring RHS Rose Tea Garden
, a quintessentially English garden designed by Nikki Tibbles and inspired by the Edwardian era.
And as is now traditional, there was a sprinkling of celebrity star dust on the show.