Across the four days of The RHS Chelsea Flower Show this year, Sodexo Prestige catered for over 160,000 people, and just over a month later, Sodexo staff were once again preparing floral-inspired catering for the largest flower show in the world, the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show. Prestige’s events and operations manager, Julie Bromage, revealed that “Britain has such an impressive horticultural tradition; it’s what makes both Chelsea and Hampton unique in the world and such exciting events to work at.”
The RHS Hampton Court Flower Show commenced this year with a spectacular preview evening, featuring a fireworks display and live music in the magical grounds of Hampton Court Palace. A balmy summer evening provided the perfect opportunity for the crowds to admire the inspiring gardens and beautiful floral displays.
Of course, when it comes to RHS, the crowds naturally gravitate towards the impressive Show Gardens. Best Show Garden Winner was Essence of Australia by Jim Fogarty for Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne, a visual celebration of the beauty and diversity of the landscapes of Victoria and the Northern Territory, encompassing a number of native Australian plants. A striking timber-clad structure, as well as being symbolic of Melbourne’s contemporary architecture, was also reflective of the iconic rock formation for which Australia is well known – Uluru.
The idea of nature being interlinked with the modern age was also apparent in Stefano Passerotti’s gold medal-winning Connecting With The Real Sound of Nature garden. Highlighting the importance of the links between plants, people and sound, the garden was designed to bring together both traditional and contemporary ideas to stimulate all five senses, with the object being a garden that can be enjoyed equally by both able-bodied and disabled visitors.
But away from the Show Gardens, we were particularly impressed by the creativity of the Conceptual Gardens. Each garden was themed around a particular Deadly Sin, and it was clear that the designers had really connected with the concept of art meeting horticultural craftsmanship. Our favourites were gold medal-winning Gluttony – E123, highlighting the sheer volume and scale of daily food waste in the UK through oversized sculptures of food packaging, and Sloth – Quarry of Silences. The central focus of the garden was a large sand cone with a golden rock seemingly balanced precariously at the top. Spades thrust into the sand cone were reflective of people in pursuit of a life goal (symbolised by the rock), with the idea being that the pinnacle of success (and thereby the pinnacle of the cone) can be attained, but likewise, that goal can also fall down the slope, and end up in a graveyard of lost dreams on the other side. Thought-provoking stuff indeed – very clever. The judges clearly thought so too, as the garden was the winner in the Best Conceptual Garden category.
The perfect quintessentially British event, the RHS Royal Hampton Court Flower Show has certainly provided us with a lot of inspiration, from the artful planting in the show gardens, to seeing how much you can do on a specific budget with the Your Garden Your Budget gardens. On that note, we’re rolling our sleeves up and heading outside!