If you've snapped up tickets to this years RHS Hampton Court Flower Show, you can be sure that along with a day in the scorching British sunshine, you will be treated to a huge variety of what can only be described as horticultural excellence.
Regulars to the show will know that it boasts so much more than just floral displays; including installations, art pieces and interactive experiences. The Sybarite have selected a roundup of the best bits just for you.
The Show Gardens
The main draw and most notable aspect of the show is the many and varied show gardens, providing visitors with endless inspiration for landscaping, plant combinations and creating ambience within their own garden. Our highlights include The Landform Garden Bar, a space designed for couples including a stylish bar, fire pit and an alfresco dining area, Elements Mystique garden, which showcases a 2.5m diameter steel sphere sculpture representing a fallen meteor, and the Brilliance in Bloom garden, in which a beautiful rust coloured water feature is the centrepiece, surrounded by pink flowers and flame-like sculptures.
Dig In Theatre
The Dig In Theatre is just one of the stages set to host cooking demos and shows during the week. Offering a full programme of events from celebrity cooks and well-known growers. RHS Grow Your Own with The Raymond Blanc Gardening School is sure to be one of the highlights. Presented in an outdoor classroom, Raymond Blanc will be passing on his culinary expertise on how to grow food in small spaces, and will be sharing recipe cards he has created using vegetables growing in the garden.
The Palace Kitchen by James Tanner
Well known for his appearances on Saturday Kitchen and Ready, Steady, Cook, celebrity chef James Tanner is serving up a delicious menu including his signature crab salad, a fresh herb risotto and 'Tanners Steak Burger'. Located in an idyllic riverside spot under the shade of the trees, The Palace Kitchen is a picturesque and calm restaurant to enjoy lunch away from the hubbub of the show.
Battlefield to Butterflies
If you're looking for something a bit more thought-provoking, Todd Longstaffe-Gowan's 'Battlefields to Butterflies' provides a space for healing and reflection, dedicated to the 24 men and women of the Royal Parks and Palace gardens who lost their lives in the First World War. An immersive journey through the trenches, Battlefields to Butterflies looks at how the desolate and bare landscapes surrounding these war-torn areas slowly returned to life and became awash with trees and flowers. A powerful symbol of how landscapes can heal, the garden is a must-visit at this years show. Read more about Battlefields to Butterflies here.
For visitors wanting to take home their own part of the show, the Floral Marquee is home to an expanse of plant nurseries and floral exhibitors' displays, all competing to win awards and medals at the show. The marquee stretches out alongside the river, exhibiting a huge array of flowers and plants to browse and enjoy. Highlights include the wall of cacti, many of them blooming with enormous pink petals, and the display of enchanting bonsai trees, the oldest of them having been planted in 1864.
Unique Shopping Experiences
There are many boutique horticultural and lifestyle shopping around the show, selected by the RHS based on their high quality products. Inside the Country Living Pavilion, visitors can find a wealth of artisan gifts, unique fashion, handmade jewellery and homeware. Other notable exhibitors dotted around the show are fine pruning and knife makers Niwaki, artisinal outdoor furniture designer Rosara Garden Design and eco-friendly twine supplier Twool Twine.
River of Flowers - Meadow
Lining the Long Water is a sea of thousands of violet coloured Verbena bonariensis, creating a stunning and immersive meadow that visitors can experience up close by walking through the long, branching stems. These elegant plants create a magical, translucent river of purple to explore, and the nectar-rich flower clusters not only create a hazy mass of lilac, they also help sustain bees and butterflies from June to September.
The RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show 2018 began on Tuesday 3 July and ends on Sunday 8 July.
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