RHS Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival 2024 

RHS Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival 2024 

Hampton Court Palace where the garden show takes place
Photo credit: EmmaMT

The RHS don’t call it “the best of summer gardening” for nothing! This year’s RHS Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival is brimming with ideas, new floral finds and best of all – a whole load of fresh shopping opportunities. 

I haven’t visited the flower show at Hampton Court since I was Home Editor on Woman and Home, some 13 years ago, and even then it was just the once. Seen as the little sister to The RHS Chelsea Flower show, it was often another day out of the office and was seen as a luxury. Most definitely not a need. Well, from the editors perspective anyway. But now I’m freelance and literally just back from a week-long shoot, Hampton Court couldn’t have come at a better time. 

Press passes for RHS flower shows

As an Interior Stylist or writer, if you want to attend any RHS flower shows you need apply well in advance via the press office- like in March! You fill out the form, share how you’ll be covering the show, state which days you hope to go, press “send” and cross your fingers. You then wait for the confirmation (or “sorry you’ve been unsuccessful”) email.

Once you collect your pass for the first show – The Chelsea Flower Show, you can use the same pass at any other flower show. I only apply to press days – which are the day before the show open, for two reasons. 

  1. Your PR press and Brand collages will be there to show you their latest garden designs and products – so it really does count as work. You’ll also bump into other stylists and writers which is always a bonus.
  2. Because the RHS lot are seriously forceful with their elbows when it comes to getting to the front of a show garden. (I’m talking about the members – not the press guys. They’re lovely) Get your elbows at the ready if you go any day other than a press day!
Flowers at RHS Hampton Court Garden Festival
Photo credit: EmmaMT

It’s all about Garden Inspiration 

I know you’re here to see what the show gardens are like and let me tell you they are beautiful. For a while now the focus at the RHS garden shows has been sustainability, encouraging wildlife, getting kids involved with nature,- in a word “future- proofing” and that was evident all around the floral and foliage choices this year. 

The planting on most of the gardens are light and textured, encouraging you touch and feel the softness of the leaves. There were grasses galore and plenty of butterflies and bees all around proving that what they are preaching in practice works. 

There’s also a big colour trend of purples with a support of pinks. This has been around for a while. I’m sure it’s the calming colour phycology of purples. 

The gardens are arranged into sections ensuring that no matter what size your plot there’s inspiration and learning for all. Here’s just a snippet. 

RHS Feature Gardens 

RHS Peat-Free Garden. Designed by Arit Anderson. Feature Garden. RHS Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival 2024. Site no. 630
Photo credit: RHS / Sarah Cuttle

RHS Peat -Free Garden designed by Arit Anderson aritandersontstudio.com

Every gardening event I’ve been to over the last few years has had a massive focus on peat free gardening. The extraction of peat has enormous ramifications for the environment and ecology. This beautiful garden had over 2,000 peat-free plants. Delphiniums, Dahlias, Salvas and my faves Hydrangeas. To name just a few.

RHS Money-Saving Garden. Designed by Anya Lautenbach and Jamie Butterworth. Feature Garden. RHS Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival 2024. Site no. 631
Photo credit: RHS / Sarah Cuttle

RHS Money Saving Garden – designed by Anya Lautenbach and Jamie Buterworth 

Looking at this garden you would never in a million years think its theme is money saving. Using cuttings, planting from seed and utilising other propagation methods created this abundant space. The shelter in the centre is made from a recycled wooden structure and unusual household items have been repurposed into containers. Very clever 

Grow your own way 

These gardens are smaller and full of ideas on how to transform a space in an affordable way. Easy to achieve as a beginner and inspiring to look at.

The Making Sense Garden – Designed by Flora Scouarnec and Victoria Pease-Cox 

This was one of the first gardens I saw at the show and I stood talking the one of the members of fithsense.org.uk charity all about how they support people who have lost their sense of smell and/or taste. Often it’s due to a head injury. She was explaining how people who can’t smell can taste food but can’t decipher flavours past salty/sweet/spicy. 

The garden is designed around sight, sound and touch. The sense of touch can trigger a memory of smell to help the brain heal and revive the smell. It’s much more complicated than I’m explaining but it was fascinating. 

All About Asteraceae  

Designed and created by recent graduates of the London College of Garden Design these spaces celebrate the diversity and charm of the daisy family

Healing Garden at RHS Hampton Court flower show
Photo credit: EmmaMT

Healing Power – designed by Adam Phoenix of PlantSpaces.co.uk,

The layering of this design was stunning and all inspired by the healing power of plants which we all know goes back many years. The designer’s aim is to encourage us to surround ourselves with plants as respite when we need it. On a personal note – if I don’t get to walk the doggo in the woods on a Sunday I definitely miss it. It’s brilliantly calming and also gives the Mr MT a chance to get crap off his chest. The woods are therapy. If you haven’t tried it go walk asap! 

Back to the garden… The vintage apothecary unit in the centre of this garden with beautiful bottles really caught my eye. Stunning styling with beautiful planting. One of my faves of the show.

Bug barrels designed by 24 schools to encourage biodiversity
Photo credit: EmmaMT

School Bug barrels

The RHS challenged young gardeners (some as young as 4) from twenty four learning environments to decorate and design an oil drum to encourage wildlife and biodiversity. All placed together they are a riot of colour and were covered in butterflies when I walked past. How fab are these? 

Educate yourself about plants 

There are loads of expert speakers planned for the week of the festival and plenty of places to ask a member of the RHS your burning gardening questions. Check out the itinerary for the week here and see who’s on. 

Plant life for you 

As I was walking around the show grounds I saw loads of people with carrier bags with tall flowers and plants sticking out the top. Those people were there to buy and at this garden festival, the RHS made that very easy. There is a mix of incredible show-stopping displays with a table or two of those plants to buy. I checked them out and they were reasonably priced much to my surprise. Here’s a whistle-stop tour of where you can shop at this show.

Plant village 

Dangerous for me but a two-hour commute in rush hour put me off trying to get any pretty plants home but if I had driven that would have been a completely different matter! The houseplants were exquisite. Loads of varieties I had never seen before. Lots of different sizes so priced accordingly. The cacti and succulents table is amazing. I’m a sucker for a succulent.

Festival of Roses 

Where was the David Austin salesman? I am a HUGE DA fan. A few years ago I decided to buy a new rose each year at an RHS show – (you should smell my garden right now!) but they were nowhere to be seen. This year it would have been the latest one – The Emma Bridgewater Rose – as I have a small obsession with her mugs and only drink tea from them at home. I would have bought the rose with the gift set and plant but alas it was not to be. But how cute are these milk bottles? 

You can imagine the heady scent in his tent. Just stunning. Roses everywhere in all varieties. The thing I like about roses is that vintage tea rose scent. Just can’t get enough of it. 

RHS - Roses Marquee featuring David Austin Roses with Emma Bridgewater
Photo credit: EmmaMT

The Floral Marquee

Buy the time I arrived at the floral marquee the judges were there. Sections are roped off while they judge. All very exciting. It meant I couldn’t look at one end of the marquee but its so huge that wasn’t a problem. 

The orchids were like nothing I have ever seen. The lilies are scentsational and the pelargoniums (another fave flower of mine) just a sea of pink. There is a huge Fuscia stand near the centre which has “All The fun of the Fuscia” written on it like a fun fair attraction. I’ve never seen so many fuchsias in one place. Really great stand design. Hope they got a gold. 

Outside Stands

As well as the marquees there are loads of smaller stands with all kinds of floral themes, from jewellery and fashions to gardening tools and artworks all around the showground. The one that stood out for me was the The Way to You floral stand which sells delicately crocheted flowers. The work is done by a community of mothers in China who are paid fairly and it helps them to live. “It’s all about community” they told me. But just look at how intricate these flowers are! 

RHS Allotments 

The last element I’m going to mention is the allotments which are smaller spaces placed around an open field where the Get Growing Festival Stage is. The Pig was there and I spoke to one of their head gardeners, mainly about how much I LOVED The Pig in Devon when I went to celebrate my anniversary in March this year. Even then in the cold, wet, end of winter the walled kitchen garden and surrounding grounds were incredible. I may have fan girled a bit. Poor guy. 

In case you don’t know – The Pig is a chain of hotels where they think of their venues as top restaurants with rooms. All their hotels have kitchen gardens and grow seasonally to create their menus. Everything is sourced from a 25 mile radius (well 90% of it is and that’s good enough for me!) If you want to see why I love The Pig go check out this post or my YouTube video tour. You’ll love it too. RHS Hampton Court Flower Show The Pig Allotment

Well, that was a much longer-than-intended whistle-stop tour. In truth, if I had made it to The RHS Chelsea Flower Show this year I probably wouldn’t have gone to Hampton Court but I am soooo glad it worked out this way. Hampton Court Flower Show is completely different. It feels much calmer, more spread out, less people – even on press day (but I should mention that I arrived at 2pm and not when the doors opened at 10am for press when it was probably quite busy) The showground covers a big area – with a walk across The Long Water at Hampton Court Palace, but doesn’t feel as daunting as Chelsea and the biggest difference? The shopping.

If you’re thinking about going there are still tickets available. It’s a great day out for garden inspiration and if you want to purchase new and interesting plants for your garden – while getting expert advice from RHS representative this is the show for you. 

Address: Hampton Court Palace, East Molesey, Surrey, KT8 9AU

Dates: 4th July – 9th July


Insta – @the_rhs

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