A visit to Hampton Court Flower Show 2016

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Hampton Court Flower Show is one of the biggest events in horticulture, and as an RHS member living not too far away, I was really keen to visit this year. I booked an early-bird RHS ticket for £20, arranged childcare, and off I went – all on my own! It was blissful to be able to wander around the ground, just seeing what caught my eye, without having to worry about pleasing anyone else. I even caught a glimpse of Monty Don being mobbed by adoring fans!

 

The Show Gardens

The show gardens are the big attraction for me. I love seeing them and taking inspiration for my own garden. They’re all spread out throughout the show ground, so you do have to consult the map to check that you’re taking them all in! I definitely missed one section, which I’m not sure how I managed to do.

 

The Lavender Garden

The Lavender Garden was my absolute favourite and, judging by the crowds when I went to revisit, was also a big hit with other people! The fragrance from this garden was just divine and I could have stood there for hours. I love the circular curves of the space which are so inviting and calming, and the whole space just feels like you’re on holiday. I love the shiny copper kitchenware too, although I’m guessing not many of us have call for a lavender kitchen in our back garden.

Designers: Paula Napper, Donna King and Sara Warren

 

Circular seating area with gravel and lavender edged paths

RHS Hampton Court 2016 Lavender Garden - Curved gravel path edged with Lavender

Lavender Kitchen with Copper kitchenware, gravel paths, and lavender planting

Wicker basket full of bundles of lavender

 

The Dogs Trust Garden

I know that many dog owners have a difficult time in gardening – so many plants are poisonous to dogs, and they do have a habit of digging! This garden is designed for dogs and people to enjoy together and incorporates lots of shady space, tunnels and sniffer tracks, alongside the beautiful shallow pool for them to cool off in. I loved the grey wire sculptures and also the fact that they had real live dogs running around!

 

RHS Hampton Court Dogs Trust Garden - a long shallow pool of water surrounded by planting

Metal wire greyhound sculpture, standing in a pool of water

Yellow and purple plants, with yellow dog sculpture

 

A Summer Garden Retreat

I loved this one, but sadly it proved difficult to get many photos of due to the strong sun! It’s very traditional and just so perfectly done it’s impossible not to love it. I loved the circular raised pool in the middle and its rusty metal finish – it’s a perfect focal point but just ties everything together rather than dominating. And what a gorgeous little summer house!

 

Metal raised circular pool, surrounded by purple plants, gravel paths, and summerhouse

 

Abbeyfield – A Breath of Fresh Air

Abbeyfield are a charity which run care homes for elderly people with dementia. I was particularly keen to see this one, as my Grandma lives in an Abbeyfield home, and I thought it would be a lovely idea to encourage the residents to get outside and sit amongst the plants. I love the uplifting feel of the purple salvia and yellow yarrow. I chatted to one of the ladies on the stand for a little while and I loved the fact that this garden will be directly transported to one of their homes in Kew, which it has been specifically designed for. Apparently they were awarded a Silver medal, missing out on Gold because the judges felt it was ‘too care home-y’!

 

RHS Hampton Court 2016 Abbeyfield Garden - Brick seating area with sweeping blue rail, purple and yellow plants surround it

 

A Japanese Summer Garden

I have to confess that I’m a big lover of hydrangeas. They were my wedding flower, and I love the range of colours, and the fact that they’re a colourful plant which loves shade – a rarity! This garden has that simplicity of Japanese design, and the planting is designed for a shady space (although it was quite a hot day and perhaps not as shady as might have been expected!)

 

A curved path is surrounded by mossy grass, and blue hydrangeas

 

Eating & Drinking

There were plenty of typical ‘posh festival food’ vans for eating. I grabbed a frankly delicious but dirty hot dog, and an ice cream, but it was this little Gin Bar that really caught my eye! A range of gins and fevertree tonics – right up my street.

 

Gin and Tonic bar in the side of a truck

Bottles of gin lined up, with lemons and limes

 

There were plenty of picnic tables if you’d brought your own food, and even a full on restaurant if you fancied a sit down meal.

 

Shopping

I was amazed by the number of exhibitors there were and the range of things that were being sold. Hot tubs, garden furniture, sheds, ride on mowers – you name it, if it’s garden-related, it was there. I even spied a Joules shop, but I had deliberately gone with the intention of not spending much money, so I was pleased that I managed to restrain myself.

 

Statue of a white woolly sheep

 

If you’re looking to buy plants, the range on offer is staggering. The Plant Tent is filled with specialist sellers, so you’ll get expert advice and a selection that you won’t find in your local garden centre. I found the prices quite reasonable too, which was a pleasant surprise. It’s a pleasant walk across the water bridges to get there too – and a great view of the palace.

There is a whole separate tent dedicated to roses (the ‘Festival of Roses’) and it’s worth stepping into just for the smell! I had a good browse and picked out a few that I have in mind for planting next year.

 

The only downside of my visit was the crowds. I arrived at 10.30 and despite following a surge of people from the train station, once I entered the show ground it wasn’t too busy. You could see all the show gardens without having to queue or force your way between people. But by 12.00 it was really packed – show gardens were particularly busy, and to get anywhere involving a slow amble behind a sea of people. I’m sure later in the day would have seen it thinning out again, but at the height of the day it was definitely a bit too crowded for me. I’ll definitely be visiting Hampton Court Flower Show again next year, but I think I’ll take advantage of the RHS Member Only days earlier in the week in the hope that they’re a bit quieter!

I was interested to see that Saturday is Family Day, with puppet shows and even fake northerner Mr Bloom to entertain the kids! I’m glad I left Max at home this year as I can see it would have been a pretty difficult experience, but maybe next year when he’s 3 will be more appropriate?

 

Have you ever been to Hampton Court Flower Show? I’d love to know any thoughts or advice you have for my visit next year!

 

 

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

 

My Petit Canard
19 Comments
  • Laura @dearbearandbeany
    July 10, 2016

    My mum loves to go and has been a few times. What a lovely way to have some ‘me time’. Family day sounds good, but I would still go on your own X

  • The Motherhub Blog
    July 10, 2016

    What a lovely way to spend a day on your own! Bliss. I was all set to say how amazing it all looked , especially the lavendar and then I saw the gin and tonic bar and I was sold! Looks amazing #kcacols

  • sam r
    July 10, 2016

    What a tranquil place to explore and be out in the fresh air and a bit of me time X #kcacols

  • Emma Easton
    July 11, 2016

    Looks beautiful! Kind of makes me want to sort my garden out. Loving the gin and tonic bar too 😉 x #MarvMondays

    • Katy | Hot Pink Wellingtons
      July 11, 2016

      There were so many ideas I want to try out in our garden – I’m feeling all inspired! The G&T bar may have been the highlight of the day though 🙂

  • Katy | Hot Pink Wellingtons
    July 11, 2016

    You’ll have to make a trip next year Laura! The smell of the lavender was so lovely!

  • Hello Archie • blog
    July 11, 2016

    So many gorgeous gardens, I think I’d be too envious with my complete lack of gardening skills – would love to visit though and especially love the Dogs Trust garden. Thanks for linking up to #MarvMondays. Kaye xo

    • Katy | Hot Pink Wellingtons
      July 12, 2016

      Thanks Kaye – it was a lovely space for a wander, I think that’s the beauty – there’s no gardening skill required!

  • Stephanie Robinson
    July 12, 2016

    Fabulous photos Katy. I’ve not been to Hampton Court but have been to Chelsea so was keen to see how it compared. I think crowds-wise probably similar and one day i will get there #marvmondays

    • Katy | Hot Pink Wellingtons
      July 12, 2016

      Thanks so much Stephanie – I loved it! I’d heard mixed reports but I loved the sheer amount of stuff there. The crowds at Chelsea look something else – I was hoping Hampton Court would be a bit less crowded!

  • Jess Powell
    July 13, 2016

    I’ve never been but would love to go one year – it looks great fun, and absolutely beautiful! x #KCACOLS

  • tracey bowden
    July 15, 2016

    I have never been to a flower show but your pictures are beautiful. I love that there was a gin truck too #kcacols

  • Cecile Blaireau
    July 15, 2016

    I have always wanted to go! That and Chelsea Flower show. One day I will drag Grumpy Boyfriend there! It looks gorgeous @FrenchieMummy #KCACOLS

  • Silly Mummy
    July 16, 2016

    I’ve never been to a flower show. These gardens look really beautiful!

    Thanks so much for linking up at #KCACOLS. Hope you come back again next Sunday

  • The Collage Queen
    July 16, 2016

    The nearest I’ve been to a flower show is a home interiors/exterior exhibition in London. These places are great for inspiration. # KCACOLS

  • [email protected]
    July 17, 2016

    How pretty! Purple seems to be the flavour of the season, judging by your pictures. I’ve never been to Hampton Court Palace – really must change that soon.

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