This week is a big one for the English summer social season. Wimbledon started yesterday, Henley begins tomorrow, and today holds a special opening of its own: the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show. This year marks the 25th anniversary of the show, which attracts 150,000 visitors and covers a vast area next to the famous royal residence. It’s the world’s largest flower show, and yesterday I got a sneak peek. Here’s what’s in store…
This year’s RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show has a dedicated World Gardens section with different corners of the globe represented through special show gardens. Featured destinations include Turkey, the Aegean, Normandy, Sri Lanka, and the USA. As a travel blogger, I naturally started my visit there.
U.S. ambassador Matthew Barzun was present in the Boston garden, and I managed to snap a few photos of him as he spoke to the press.
Next door, I got a chance to catch up with James Priest, the head gardner at Monet’s garden in Giverny. He designed the Normandy garden as a miniature version of the famous one he looks after in France.
I asked him about the garden, and he said that he “tried to capture a little bit of Monet’s garden to show the English. The most evocative element of the garden is the Japanese bridge,” and he wanted to convey that with a replica. “In Normandy there are over 100 beautiful gardens that are worth visiting,” he continued. While Monet’s is certainly the most famous, there are plenty of others worthy of exploring.
And there are plenty of others worthy of exploring at the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show.
Leaving the World Gardens, I took a wander through the fragrant Festival of Roses, the gorgeous Summer Gardens, and the spectacular Show Gardens, soaking up the atmosphere and browsing the garden goods for sale.
My favorite garden was the Living Landscapes City Twitchers garden by CouCou Design. Its lovely table and pretty little birdhouses were surrounded by delicate white roses and a nest-like seating area. I could have settled in for the whole afternoon.
Another that caught my eye was the Living Landscapes HUG garden by Rae Wilkinson Design Ltd. I loved the purple and green color scheme and the curving form of the natural wood bench in the center.
A third that caught my eye with its brilliant flowers and cozy seating area turned out to be Just Retirement’s “A Garden for Every Retiree”. Clearly I’m ready for my golden years.
And for good reason. The show is so big and covers such a vast amount of territory that I will probably be old enough to retire by the time I make my way through the whole thing.
Add to that the fact that the aforementioned Henley Royal Regatta starts tomorrow and the Formula 1 British Grand Prix takes place at Silverstone on Friday, and there’s a lot to do this week. When it’s all over, I’ll head back to the flower show, settle into my comfy retiree chair, put my feet up, and sip some Pimm’s—14,274 glasses are consumed here each year. If not golden years, then at least golden hours…
The RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show is open from today until Sunday.