Opening the garden gate to the world’s greatest flower show – Hampton Court Palace Flower Show

Lucy Schiel June 24, 2015

We all know the name of the largest flower show in the world, which takes place in West London, don’t we? Or do we? Because it’s not Chelsea; it’s the Royal Horticultural Society’s Hampton Court Palace Flower Show, which takes place in early July each year on the banks of the Long Water in Hampton Court Park – a matter of yards from Craven House.

At 6,750 square metres, the Floral Marquee is bigger than some Premier League football pitches, so it easily houses over 100 nurseries and growers. Meanwhile, the separate marquee for the annual Festival of Roses is an almost overwhelming feast for the senses. Nobody who loves that most romantic of flowers should miss this sumptuous treat. There are show gardens from around Britain and the world (a couple of gardens representing two faces of American horticulture – Charleston and Massachusetts) to enjoy, some taking design and horticultural concepts to the limits of imagination.
Photo Credit - RHS
This year, the show, which kicks off with a preview day on Monday 29 June culminating in a spectacular musical fireworks display visible from Craven House, is celebrating its 25th anniversary. To celebrate, there will be a historical theme throughout, with an anniversary maze (a twist, as it were, on the famous labyrinth at the nearby palace), silver jubilee-themed floristry and a competition of scarecrows representing different periods. The winner will, naturally, be outstanding in its field.
In a quarter of a century – the blink of an eye when surrounded by the history of this place – Hampton Court Flower Show has become a key date in the summer Season. It captures a sense of Englishness in the shadow of Henry VII’s palace, with its rose displays, cream teas and Pimm’s, the Country Life magazine marquee, eccentric but incredibly knowledgeable experts and Alice In Wonderland-themed activities for children.
Every summer, the most famous names in gardening and the natural world appear at the Celebrity Theatre, including TV gardeners Diarmuid Gavin and Charlie Dimmock, Gardener’s Question Time panellist Pippa Greenwood, Springwatch’s Simon King and Countryfile legend John Craven.
Photo Credit - RHS
There is also the promise of celebrity chefs, such as Gregg Wallace and Rachel Allen, appearing at the Feast Cookery Theatre. At the show, the RHS is keen to promote the practical side of gardening, and the Feast zone is full of inspiring ideas to help you create your own kitchen garden at home. You can expect to see us add a few more herbs to Craven House’s courtyard afterwards!
Photo Credit: RHS
In fact, the whole experience leaves visitors galvanized about their gardens. Displays from some of the most famous gardens – for example, Heligan and RHS Wisley – offer the inspiration, but there is plenty of practical help too. As well as plants and equipment, you can buy original garden furniture and ornaments, both traditional and cutting-edge. You’re bound to leave with an armful of goodies and a head full of ideas – we always do!
RHS Hampton Court Flower Show, 30 June to 5 July 2015,
For general admission, buy tickets online here.
For tickets to the Preview Evening, call 0203 176 5850 or email