My first ever RHS event, so obviously I had to choose the world’s largest annual show to attend – RHS Hampton Court Flower Show. And WOW did it take my breath away! Set in 34 acres of the Palace grounds are show gardens, floral marquees, demonstrations and exhibits running alongside the Long Water, making it an idyllic setting for such a world renowned event.
Luckily, the British weather was on our side the day we visited. Armed with my camera, back up photographer (my Dad, who is a talented gardener and avid amateur photographer) and masses of enthusiasm, we jumped in to soak up the atmosphere at this famous show.
The RHS Flower Show has been running since 1993, attracts 140,000 visitors, 250,000 flowers used and over 600 exhibitors every year – so we had a lot to take in!
So what were my highlights?
So many to choose from – every corner of the show was full to the brim with flower power, inspiration and passion. Here are a few of my favourite aspects of the day:
One of the most talked about displays in the Floral Marquee was an eye catching creation by Primrose Hall, with this classic Mini blooming full of vibrant Alstroemerias. A perfect way to bring a classic English car back to life with vibrant flowers.
One of the most thought provoking Conceptual Gardens (and Gold medal winner of best conceptual garden) was the Elements of Life installation. An elegant, powerful and eye catching creation, the idea was to remind the viewer about the importance of being mindful of the elements under our feet that create life. I loved the clever simplicity of the installation whilst still having such a major thought-provoking impact on the crowds.
The Festival of Roses marquee was stunning – jam packed with specialist roses, displays from UK nurseries and ideas. I don’t think I have ever seen so many roses under one roof, blooming in colous of the rainbow. A must see for all florists and keen gardeners!
A huge Butterfly Dome was a popular attraction for many visitors – inlcuding us! There is something transfixing about Butterflies, and stepping into the humid tropical Dome full of thousands of exotic butterflies from South America, Africa and Asia was truly enchanting.
My top tips for visiting the show
- Dress for the weather. It was 28 degrees when we visited; so sun cream, water and sun hat were essential. But other years wellies, rain jackets and umbrellas have been must haves!
- Pick up an official Guide book. Mine cost £5 this year from the front gate and was vital for making sure we didn’t miss a thing. With 34 acres of show ground, there is so much to take in so we got methodical to ensure we didn’t miss an inch!
- Take a break. It is tiring looking at all these beautiful flowers, so take time to enjoy the setting with a drink and something to eat. There was loads of choice – from hog roast, gourmet cheese toasties to 3 course restaurant. There was also a helpful free water station (however there was always a long queue due to the heat, so hopefully they put in more next year to avoid this!)
- Think about transport. There are thousands of people attending, so worth getting organised for a smooth journey. Car parking can be pre booked, Hampton Court Train station is about a 10 minute walk from the show entrance, or arrive along the river Thames by boat ferry (my top pick, that looked amazing!)
- Budding photographers. Perfect for practicing your photo skills, make sure you have a largememory card and lots of battery power!
- Floral Footwear. The average visitor spends 5 hours (we spent 7) venturing around the event, so make sure you have comfy shoes on. Most of the ground is relatively flat, but could be more difficult when raining.
Cara is floristPro’s Marketing Manager, bringing you all the social media magic and floristry news from HQ.
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