RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show 2011

Visitors will be able to explore the RHS Edible Garden and witness artisanal production methods first-hand - from hop pickers on stilts to the art of bee-keeping. Show Gardens will offer an arresting display of colour and design while this year's Conceptual Gardens will stimulate mind and body alike, tackling themes as wide-reaching as cancer, the human thought process, and life in a technologically connected world. A literary touch will be found in the Poets' Gardens, dedicated to the works of Keats, Byron, Lewis Carroll, and other British greats. Plant Heritage will be on hand to breathe life into selected chapters of plant history and geography in its 'Living Library of Garden Plants', and a shopping experience to make any green thumb and plant lover's heart accelerate will be offered in the Floral Marquee.

A stunning new feature this year will see the bank of the Long Water transformed into the set of an Indian summer wedding. Visitors will be immersed in the customs and rituals of these rich and vibrant events which will include a mandap (a traditional Indian wedding pavilion), a giant Ganesh statue made of flowers and greenery. Stands will offer associated activities and ceremonies such as an Indian wedding shopping experience, the exchanging of floral garlands, Mehendi (Henna) art, Indian food and live performing musicians, dancers and fashion shows. The various plants that play central roles in the rituals (henna, tea plants, rice and turmeric) will all be interwoven in the displays.

Over the weekend, 9th and 10th July, the Children's Zone will have performers and will host a range of interactive and fun activities for children of all ages.

The Hampton Court Palace Flower Show 2011's sumptuous bouquet of handpicked displays and activities promises one of the summer's most exhilarating days out.


The RHS Edible Garden
The RHS Edible Garden will present a fantastic range of beautiful plants which amazingly, all have an end use, mostly as an edible crop.

Designed by Jon Wheatley and Anita Foy, the RHS Edible Garden will provide a special focus on the artisanal methods by which plants are transformed into the things we use and consume. There will be a cider orchard and cider press; traditional hops pickers on stilts and ale brewing demonstrations; beehives and honey-collecting bee-keepers; a nut orchard and nut oil pressing; an olive grove inter-planted with lavender yielding essential and edible oils and even a vineyard. There is also a 'food for free' area, where the adventurous can learn more about wild plants that can be foraged for food such as hawthorn, hazel, elderflower and brambles. For the slightly more traditionalist, there will also be a garden house with a fruit cage, ornamental vegetables, and a selection of 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.

Conceptual Gardens, Show Gardens and 'Small' Gardens
Using garden design as a medium of communication, these microcosmic creations will inspire, inform and enchant. Visitors will step into another world and take a trip through the experiences of medical conditions, be given lessons on sustainability and invited to reconcile the natural world with our fast-paced technology-dominated lives.

Poets' Gardens
Ranging from more literal interpretations of the light and dark emotions of Lord Byron's Love's Last Adieu and the ocean of John Keats' On the Sea to more abstract depictions of the feeling of waiting and search for solace of Rudyard Kipling's My Boy Jack and the facing down of fears inspired by Lewis Carroll's Jabberwocky, these gardens are poetry brought to tangible life in unusual and unexpected ways.

Visitors will be able to choose from the many thousands of plants, to buy and take home on the day. As well as this, with over 600 shopping opportunities available visitors will be spoilt for choice and can literally shop 'til they drop. A plant crèche and porter facility will help gardeners to shop with ease throughout the day.

Exclusive Preview Evening (4 July 2010, 5.30pm-10.30pm)
Having explored the Show, visitors can relax with a pre-booked luxury picnic hamper from Villandry and enjoy a summer garden party, culminating in a spectacular firework finale. Tickets are £55 for non members and £50 for members.


Article posted on 19 Mar 2011.

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