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Sunday, Apr 10th

Last update:08 Apr 12:29 GMT

You are here: News Around the Shires Hampton Court flower show July 5 - 10

Hampton Court flower show July 5 - 10


The RHS Edible Garden at the Hampton Court Palace Flower Show presents a fantastic range of beautiful plants – a feast for the eyes. Designed by award-winning designers, Jon Wheatley and Anita Foy, the garden will have a special focus on artisan end products.

Sinuous paths wind through the garden revealing a surprise around every corner. A living willow arch leads through a fruit and nut orchard, featuring a wide variety of fruit and nut trees and live bee hives. A cider apple orchard includes a cider press, with onsite demonstrations.

A natural pond with resident geese is planted with reeds and willow. Adjacent to the pond, a ‘food for free’ area features wild plants that can be foraged for food.
Visitors then move into a more formal area, planted around a garden which features a central fruit cage, ornamental vegetables, herbs and an edible and medicinal flower border.

Exiting the fruit and vegetable garden, visitors enter an area featuring crops from warmer climates which are now more evident in the UK. A small vineyard to one side is backed by a rose hedge. Opposite, a small olive grove interplanted with lavender provides edible and essential oils.

Finally, a large tropical house features a jungle of exotic fruit trees and palms traditionally grown under cover in the UK. An area of giant vegetables to the side of the tropical house provides the final surprise.

Fruit and Nut Orchard
Traditional fruit and nut tree species are planted as an orchard. Species include quince, medlar, pear, walnut and cobnut. Live bee hives are in the orchard and beekeepers will be on the display working with the bees. Artisan producers will also be on hand to show the process of nut oil pressing.

Pond area
A natural pond bounded by a mixed hedgerow is the central feature of the next area. Geese make themselves at home in the pond. Willow and reeds at its margin are grown as a bio-filtration crop, cleaning the water naturally. A small plantation of willow is grown as a fuel crop and for making willow structures and baskets. Other uses of this versatile crop will be demonstrated by a willow artist.

Food for Free
Past the pond, the hedgerow species start to break free from the hedge and together with an area of wild plants they demonstrate the potential for foraging from the wild. Trees, flowers and shrubs from the wild such as hawthorn, hazel, elderflower and brambles are all part of this rich mix.

Beer Production
Hops trained on traditional tall frames grow alongside a patch of barley. At harvest time, pickers would walk on stilts to pick the crop.

Cider orchard
An area of cider apple trees complete with traditional cider press shows traditional methods of cultivation and processing with delicious results.

Fruit, Flower and Vegetable Garden
A more formal area is laid out around a garden building and provides a wonderful focal point to the exhibit. Fruit, ornamental vegetables, herbs and edible and medicinal flowers combine to provide a crescendo of colour and texture. Here the RHS team will be on hand to provide advice and inform visitors.

Vineyard, Lavender and Olive Grove
Visitors move on into an area of plants traditionally associated with warmer climates but which are increasingly being grown in the UK.

A small vineyard represents the increasing interest in the UK as a potential site for the fine wines of the future. The vines are interspersed with wild flowers and backed by a rose hedgerow demonstrating the traditional pairing of roses with vines to provide an early warning system for pests and diseases.

Opposite the vineyard is a vibrant area planted with lavender, grown in the UK as both a flavouring and for essential oils and perfume. The lavender is interplanted with olive trees – a glimpse into a possible future where olives are grown for their fruit rather than just as an ornamental tree.

Tropical House
Visitors enter the tropical house, a large structure planted with a jungle of crops such as tomatoes that are commonly grown under cover in the UK. The centrepiece is a display of sub-tropical plants including palms, fruit trees and other exotics.

Giant Vegetables
No display demonstrating grow your own would be complete without the stunning giant vegetables to the side of the tropical house – the final surprise of the exhibit.

Jon Wheatley is an International and National Flower Show Judge. He has designed and built five Chelsea Flower Show Gold Medal winning stands and eight gold medal winning stands at Tatton Park, Hampton Court and the NEC. He is a Lecturer and Horticultural Consultant for a number of Colleges and an Arboricultural and Forestry Consultant. In addition he owns and runs a bedding plant nursery and landscape management business in the Chew Valley.

Anita Foy has a Diploma in Garden Design (with distinction) and the RHS Diploma in Horticulture (with commendation). In 2009 she was runner up in the Society of Garden Designers’ national Student of the Year competition. She manages projects for the RHS and designs gardens for private clients.