Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival episode 1: Joe Swift and Jo Whiley take a first look at just some of the 24 gardens and over 100 floral exhibits at the world’s largest annual flower show – the RHS Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival 2019.
In the first of four programmes this week, Joe and Jo are joined by experts Carol Klein, Adam Frost, Arit Anderson and Rachel de Thame as they meet some of the new garden designers at Hampton this year and explore the glorious show gardens and the dazzling displays in the floral marquee.
Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival episode 1
The Hampton Court Palace Flower Show is the largest flower show in the world. The show is held in early July, and is run by the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) at Hampton Court Palace in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames. The show features show gardens, floral marquees and pavilions, talks and demonstrations. Erected on the north and south sides of the Long Water in Hampton Court Park, it is the second major national show after the Chelsea Flower Show but has a different character, focusing more on environmental issues, growing your own food and vegetables and cookery, as well as selling gardening accessories, plants and flowers.
The Hampton Court Palace Flower Show was the brainchild of the management consultant Adrian Boyd, who saw an opportunity to connect two organisations facing times of uncertainty in a joint venture. The Department of the Environment had been dismembered in the 1980s, and one of the cuttings was Historic Royal Palaces, which found itself looking for ways of increasing revenue and attracting a larger audience. Similarly, Network SouthEast, one of the temporary aggregations thrown up by the pre-privatisation of British Rail, was looking for ways of making its rail services more profitable. Boyd’s idea was that Network Southeast should sponsor a flower show at Hampton Court, and provide the public transport to Hampton Court railway station. At the time the RHS Shows Department was working on four new events for 1993, in Birmingham, Harrogate, Wembley, and Glasgow.