July 2016

Covering 34 acres of Henry VII’s historic palace greenery, The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Hampton Court Flower Show is the world’s largest. 

Last week we journeyed to Hampton Court to explore the impressive fete. This season’s theme of Health and Happiness demonstrated the ways flowers can transform space and promote well-being. As a design studio, we also look to the natural world for design inspiration, especially places that stir an emotional reaction within us. The flower gardens were deeply meaningful, bringing attention and knowledge to a multitude of causes relating to physical, emotional and environmental health.

Gold medal winner, the conceptual garden Rolawn: Why? captured our immediate attention upon entering the flower show with its almost cacophonous array of black rods, a uniquely industrial feel amongst the softer garden displays. Designed by Tony Smith, the garden reflects on the complexity and wonder of the universe. In the centre of the plinth there appears a small dome structure made of gold rods representing the brain. The arrangement questions perceptions of reality, implying a universe that is deceivingly complex.

The World Vision Garden designed by John Warland symbolises the unpredictable life journey of children around the world. Each floating wave of Hornbeam turf represents the ups and downs a child experiences while living in areas afflicted by poverty and disease. Tall Callery Pear trees emerge from the ox-eye daisy meadows, symbolising the power of support and shelter in a child’s life. Walking through and interacting with the garden draws an emotional connection to the difficult circumstances that are faced in many parts of the world.

Designed by Andrew Fisher Tomlin & Dan Bowyer, the Garden for Crohn’s Disease is a place to relax and entertain amongst an eclectic selection of familiar and more exotic garden specimens, such as the evergreen succulent, Aeonium and the herbaceous perennial, Canna 'Musifolia'. The garden brings vibrancy and colour to the life of a young person living with the debilitating disease. A pool and misters bring cool relief to a warm day while symbolising the importance of hydration for Crohn’s. The fire-pit, a central place to gather and entertain, reflects the sudden pain of the disease.

Clearly a popular destination on the clear-skied day, the grounds were full of people, admiring the 47 innovative gardens, browsing the floral marquee, plant village and enjoying the delicious selection of food and cold drinks.

The World Vision Garden. Designed by: John WarlandPhotography © RHS / Neil Hepworth
The Bowel Disease UK Garden for Crohn's DiseasePhotography © RHS / Sarah Cuttle
RHS Hampton Court Flower Show