BBC and RHS Launch Garden Design Competition

rhs logo 2015‘Feel Good Front Gardens’ is the theme for a new Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) and BBC Local Radio competition launched today, which gives four BBC local radio listeners the chance to design a garden at the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show 2016 (5 – 10 July).

The competition is asking amateur gardeners and aspiring garden designers in England, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man to create and submit a front-garden design that celebrates their local community and highlights the health and wellbeing benefits of gardening. Four of the best designs, chosen by an esteemed judging panel, will go on to be built at the world-famous flower show in July, giving the winners an opportunity to see their designs become a reality.

England has 39 BBC Local Radio stations which have been an integral part and voice of communities in the regions for nearly 50 years. To reflect this, entrants should look to tie in a link to their BBC region or local area in some way, taking inspiration for example from the local heritage, buildings, foods, people, plants or another aspect of local life. This year the RHS Greening Grey Britain Campaign* wants to raise awareness of the positive impact that gardens and gardening have on people’s health and happiness which is one of the themes entrants should consider in their design.

bbcAs well as having their garden created for exhibition at the show, the four winners will also have the opportunity to visit the RHS Chelsea Flower Show to meet their mentors: Chelsea Gold medal-winning designer Ann-Marie Powell, and established garden and landscape designer, writer and television presenter James Alexander-Sinclair. Ann-Marie and James will be on hand to offer guidance to the four finalists in the lead-up to RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show, sharing their expert knowledge and offering tips and advice along with a plant master class.

Dave Green, Show Manager for RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for someone passionate about gardening and design to see their vision come to life and get a glimpse into the world of garden design, gaining expert advice and hands-on experience. I am very excited to see what the BBC Local Radio listeners come up with.”

The closing date for entry is noon on Friday 26 February. Judges will select the four best designs from around the UK and will consider: how well the garden interprets the theme; how interesting and creative the design is; the effective use of plants; how well the design has considered sustainability issues; and how realistic the design is within a small budget.

Information on how to enter the competition is available at

RHS Search for Space Enthusiasts to Create Scarecrows for RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show

rhs logo 2015The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) is searching for pre-schools and primary schools in London and South East England to design space-themed scarecrows for a cosmic display at RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show from 5 – 10 July 2016.

The shortlisted schools will be asked to build their scarecrow designs which will be judged at the show. To enter, schools must be registered with the RHS Campaign for School Gardening, and in year six or below.

The lucky winners will receive £200 worth of gardening vouchers, with second and third placed schools receiving £150 and £50 worth of gardening vouchers. The deadline for entries is 18 March 2016.

The schools are challenged to use plants and recycled materials to create their space scarecrows. Children can let their imaginations run wild, taking inspiration from all things space, from Mars exploration to British astronaut Tim Peake’s Principia mission.

To enter and to sign up to the RHS Campaign for School Gardening, schools should visit the website:

Gemma Lake, Deputy Show Manager for RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show, said: “This is a fantastic way for children to get involved in the show and help showcase the wonderful work that the RHS Campaign for School Gardening does to enthuse children about horticulture.

“The scarecrow competition is an incredibly popular feature at the show and I’m really looking forward to seeing the imaginative ideas the children come up with this year.”

The inspiration for the ‘space’ theme comes from the historic RHS and UK Space Agency education initiative Rocket Science. The initiative will give up to 10,000 schools the chance to become space biologists by growing rocket seeds that have been orbiting the Earth as part of British astronaut Tim Peake’s six-month mission on the International Space Station.

Schools can find out more about Rocket Science and register to take part here:

For more information please contact Siobhán MacMahon on 020 7821 3043 or

RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show 2016

rhs logo 2015From the 5 – 10 July, the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) flower show named ‘The Garden Event of the Year 2015’* will return to the historic grounds of Hampton Court Palace.

For the 2016 RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show, the 34 acre showground will be packed with stunning gardens and spectacular floral displays. The show will feature live demonstrations from top celebrity chefs and gardeners including Alys Fowler and James Wong, with an abundance of shopping opportunities plus a host of new features for 2016 that will appeal both to serious gardeners as well as non-gardeners.

An enormous tropical butterfly dome will give visitors the opportunity to walk among thousands of exotic butterflies from Indonesia and South America, displaying their fascinating colours and patterns as they take flight or settle amid the vegetation.

The 6,750 square metre Floral Marquee and Plant Village will be bursting with more floral exhibitors and specialist nurseries than ever before, displaying and selling plants from lilies, tulips and alliums to hardy exotics, bonsai and Japanese maples.

rhs hampton court strap 2016The popular Festival of Roses Marquee will be a feast for the senses as visitors are welcomed by the scent and sight of thousands of blooms within a cottage-garden setting inspired by Beatrix Potters’ garden at Hill Top house.

One of the most compelling attractions at RHS Flower Shows are the gardens created by world-class designers. RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show 2016 offers an eclectic mix of Show Gardens aimed at inspiring gardeners of all abilities. New to 2016 are City Gardens that aim to demonstrate just how much urban dwellers can achieve, whatever the size of their plot. This year, the themed gardens will celebrate the 300th anniversary of 18th-century landscape architect Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown. Summer Gardens return again in 2016 to charm visitors with their realistic sizes, along with the popular Conceptual Gardens which celebrate their 10th anniversary and continue to allow designers to push the boundaries of garden design. The World Gardens will give visitors a taste of garden design from around the globe.

The RHS is always seeking ways to spark an interest in horticulture among the younger generations. For the first time, on 9 July 2016, the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show is hosting a ‘Family Saturday’, featuring additional children’s activities including seed sowing, a family trail, story time, and a number of child-oriented cookery classes. The activities will have a Rocket Science theme to tie in with the RHS Campaign for School Gardening’s partnership with the UK Space Agency to discover whether space travel impacts on the growth of seeds. Pupils across the South East will take part once again in the Scarecrow Competition: this year, their creations will also be inspired by space. Each full-paying adult may bring two children aged 16 and under free of charge to the show on any day of the week including the ‘Family Saturday’.

About the 2016 show, Dave Green, Show Manager for RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show, said: ‘Every year we try and pack in even more exciting and interactive content to excite and inspire. Visitors will have the chance to experience the amazing gardens by walking through them and getting up close with the incredible designs.

‘There is also a fantastic range of garden tools, sculptures, furniture and more on offer from our wonderful tradestands, as well as the best, newest, finest and most unusual and colourful blooms imaginable in our floral marquees. Just a short train journey from London, the show is a great day out for those looking to escape the city.’

The annual Preview Evening opens the show, taking place on Monday 4 July (5–10.30pm). Visitors can spend time listening to live music with friends and family while viewing the beautiful gardens and floral displays, before tucking into a picnic or a meal in one of the restaurants. The perfect finish to the evening is a magnificent fireworks display.

The RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show will run from 5 – 10 July 2016. For further information or to buy tickets, please visit the RHS website at

2016 RHS Flower Show Tickets on Sale

rhs logo 2015Public tickets for The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) 2016 Flower Shows* go on sale today, 1 December 2015. RHS member’s tickets went on sale on 1 November, giving members an exclusive opportunity to buy tickets ahead of today.

Ticket prices range from just £8 to £70 with discounts and Early Bird booking options for RHS members, as well as Kids go free** to the RHS Flower Shows at Cardiff, Hampton Court Palace and Tatton Park.
The RHS stages an unrivalled series of world-leading flower shows throughout the year, running from mid-February right through to mid-December. Each with its own distinct character, the shows bring together new and established talent, feature sensational displays and innovative garden design, and bring the joy of gardening to millions of visitors. RHS Shows are just one of the ways the society champions the RHS Vision which aims to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.

rhs strap shows 2016For a full list of RHS Shows please visit:

For further information and to purchase tickets please visit or call 0844 338 7546 (Calls cost 7p per minute plus your phone company’s access charge).

4 Star Award for Anglian Home Improvements at RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show

rhs logo 2015Anglian Home Improvements has been awarded a 4 Star Tradestand Award – the highest accolade available – for its stand at this year’s Hampton Court Palace Flower Show, which can be found within the RHS Celebrity Theatre Marquee.

The UK’s leading home improvements company is showcasing a stunning timber orangery with timber bi-fold doors as part of its display, while a variety of its stylish and energy efficient windows and doors are on show on the adjoining stand.

One of the highlights of this year’s Anglian Home Improvements stand has been the unveiling of its eye-catching new Laura Ashley Decorative Glass Collection, created thanks to a collaboration between the two longstanding British brands. The collection comprises twelve best-selling Laura Ashley designs that are etched onto the glass in Anglian’s industry-leading double glazed windows, doors and conservatories, then hand-finished to ensure a faithful recreation of the classic designs.

Caroline Mills, Head of Marketing Communications at Anglian Home Improvements, said, “We are delighted to have won this award and been recognised by the RHS for having an outstanding presentation at the Hampton Court Palace Flower Show. Along with the structure of our stand space, I’m sure the judges will have enjoyed the many horticultural influences that have been incorporated throughout, including the Laura Ashley Decorative Glass floral designs, the colourful window boxes and hanging baskets, and the beautiful floral displays around the orangery.”

Anglian Home Improvements is also offering visitors to the show an opportunity to win £1,000 in Laura Ashley vouchers through its Great British Butterfly Hunt free prize draw. Visit the stand (Stand CT 587) to find out more.

Medals haul for HTA members at Hampton Court

hta 2Members of the HTA have come out on top at this year’s RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show with many winning medals for their floral displays.

Rose growers were celebrating in the Festival of Roses and Floristry tent as David Austin Roses scooped Gold and Best Rose Exhibit for their showcase of English Roses.  Silver-Gilt medals also went to HTA members Harkness Roses, Apuldram Roses, Peter Beales Roses, Seale Nurseries and Style for their arrangements. Pococks Roses were also winners taking Silver medals for their display.

In the Plant Heritage Marquee, Dibleys Nurseries took home a Silver medal for their display of streptocarpus and saintpaulia.

In the Floral Marquee, Dibleys Nurseries, Fernatix, Fibrex Nurseries Ltd, Hardy’s Cottage Garden Plants, Hippopottering Nursery, Hooksgreen Herbs, Jacques Amand International, Millais Nurseries andSouthfield Nurseries all won Gold for their displays.

There were Silver-Gilt medals for HTA members Burncoose Nurseries, Cooks Garden Centre, Norfield Nurseries Ltd and The Botanic Nursery.

Winners list in full


David Austin Roses Ltd

Dibleys Nurseries (for three exhibits)


Fibrex Nurseries (for two exhibits)

Hardy’s Cottage Garden Plants

Hippopottering Nursery

Hooksgreen Herbs

Jacques Amand International

Millais Nurseries

Southfield Nurseries



Apuldram Roses

Burncoose Nurseries

Cooks Garden Centre

Dibleys Nurseries

Harkness Roses

Northfield Nurseries Ltd

Peter Beales Roses

Seale Nurseries

Style Roses

The Botanic Nursery



Battlesbridge Mills Garden Centre

Blackmoor Nurseries

Hillview Hardy Plants

Priorswood Clematis

Pococks Roses


squires logo 2013The team at Squire’s Garden Centres are celebrating after winning a Silver Gilt medal at the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show (30th June – 5th July).

Squire’s Show Garden, called ‘Urban Oasis’, is a garden that visitors can enjoy and take inspiration from to recreate elements of the garden at home.  As well as having attractive areas in which to relax and catch the morning and evening sun, the garden includes a brook to chill out by, and a small meadow of wildflowers, bringing a hint of the countryside into an urban garden.

Paul Ross on BBC Radio Berkshire yesterday described it as “The perfect English country garden.”

Sarah Squire (Deputy Chairman at Squire’s) commented, “We are delighted that Squire’s have won a Silver Gilt medal at the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show!  Our ‘Urban Oasis’ garden is inspired by the interests of our customers. We wanted to show plants that are readily available to the amateur gardener and which are proven to do well, in order to create a look that is interesting, beautiful and achievable. It has been amazing to watch how many butterflies and bees have been attracted to the garden since we started planting, there are more and more every day”

squires hamprton court 2015Squire’s Garden Centres are a family-run business, and are celebrating being a part of every RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show since the Show began 25 years ago.  Their Show Garden was designed by Ian Hammond (Plant Department Head at Squire’s Twickenham).

RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show celebrates its 25th anniversary

rhs logo 2015From 30 June – 5 July, the world’s largest annual flower show will return to the prestigious grounds of Hampton Court Palace. The RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show 2015 will celebrate the best in gardening and the home, as well as a very special silver anniversary!

A special 30m x 30m maze made from almost 300m of hedge will mark the 25th year of the show, including rose scents, smoke machines and tunnels it will entice intrepid explorers to discover the surprise in the centres. The maze is inspired by the labyrinth of bedding plants which appeared in the very first show, in 1990, to celebrate the Queen Mother’s birthday. Other anniversary displays will include a giant floral birthday cake courtesy of VertiGarden and a silver anniversary turf sculpture, in partnership with Rolawn.

Elsewhere, in the show’s Inspire, Grow, and brand new Feast zones, visitors will enjoy:

Flowers and Gardens
World-class gardens will range from the large-scale Show Gardens and inspiring Conceptual Gardens themed on ‘sensations’, to the compact Summer Gardens and an exciting new category – World Gardens – which will transport visitors around the globe all the way from the USA to Monet’s garden in Normandy. There will be 32 medal gardens at the show, as many as at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show. In the RHS Celebrity Talks Theatre visitors will be able to hear from gardening experts Christine Walkden, Pippa Greenwood and Simon King. And of course, visitors can buy plants to fill their own flower beds and gardens at home!

Food for thought
In the show’s brand new Feast zone visitors will enjoy edible and grow-your-own exhibits, an array of artisan food stands, and the Cookery Theatre, where speakers will include top food experts includingas Rachel Allen, Alys Fowler, James Wong, Greg Wallace and Thane Prince.

RHS and Gardener’s Question Time Community Street
Designed by Nigel Dunnett with the Landscape Agency, this interactive and informative Show Feature will replicate a real Bristol street and demonstrate how grey spaces can be turned green, in line with the RHS’s Greening Great Britain campaign, demonstrating the importance of urban regeneration and how derelict areas can be transformed through the use of plants.

Fun for all the family
The scarecrow competition is one of the most popular parts of the show, and this year pupils at 35 schools across the South East have created scarecrows with the theme of history to tie-in with the shows silver anniversary year. Visitors will encounter historical figures including Anne Boleyn and Winston Churchill, and a scarecrow trail will guide visitors across the showground, culminating at the scarecrow competition with a giant 7m high scarecrow as its centrepiece.

Families will also enjoy two of the historic gardens, celebrating the 150th anniversary of Alice in Wonderland and the 90th anniversary of Winnie the Pooh, and the Henri le Worm children’s garden, overseen by Blue Peter gardener Chris Collins aimed at teaching children about the importance of gardens. This year the Cookery Theatre will also host a pop-up Children’s’ Cookery Class to teach children the importance of a balanced diet.

Festival of Roses and Floral Design Studio
Continuing the historic theme, the Festival of Roses will showcase a wide range of beautiful, colourful and scented roses within an authentic walled garden setting. A programme of talks and events, with speakers including Simon Lycett and Jonathan Moseley, will complement the beautiful visual displays, and the prestigious Rose of the Year 2016 will be announced. Next door, the Floral Design Studio will display professional florists’ creations alongside the up-and-coming talent emerging from the UK’s top floristry colleges.

Floral Marquee
The Floral Marquee is ‘The Place to Buy Plants’ including 90 award-winning nurseries from around the UK, with stunning colourful displays and the best advice from the expert growers the Floral Marquee is a plant lover’s paradise. RHS Gardening advice is on hand and there will be demonstrations throughout the week at the popular potting bench.

RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show Preview Evening
Once again, the Preview Evening will start the show, taking place on Monday 29 June from 5 to 10:30pm. Visitors can spend time listening to live music with friends and family while viewing the beautiful gardens and floral displays, before tucking into a picnic or a meal in one of the restaurants. The perfect finish to the evening is an extended anniversary fireworks display, sponsored by Witan Investment Trust with the stunning backdrop of Hampton Court Palace, bigger and better than ever for the 25th anniversary.

The RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show will run from 30 June – 5 July. For further information or to buy tickets, please visit the RHS website at

Rhododendron and Azalea specialists Millais Nurseries are going for Gold at Hampton Court

rhs logoAfter winning three Gold Medals at the Chelsea Flower Show in recent years, Millais Nurseries are exhibiting at the RHS Hampton Court Flower Show. They are the only specialist Rhododendron exhibit and are showcasing late flowering varieties of Rhododendrons and Azaleas, ideal for extending the flowering season.

Rhododendrons and Azaleas are definitely back in vogue, thanks to all the hard work by growers and the media to put them back on gardeners ‘must have’ plant lists. Millais Nurseries have been working hard with their breeding programme to extend the flowering season of these beautiful plants and this year are launching their brand new ‘Midsummer’ range of Deciduous Azaleas at the Show.

This stunning range of Deciduous Azaleas is the result of a 15 year breeding programme started by the late Ted Millais. He worked with some of Denny Pratt’s best late flowering varieties which were bred in the 1970’s, and hybridised them with later flowering forms of R.arborescens and R.viscosum, which are native to the East coast of America. This has extended the flowering season by at least 10 days to the end of June, and produced some lovely bushy plants with great foliage, and wonderful scent. These have been selected and named by Ted’s son, David. Other varieties are still under development to extend the flowering into August.

millaisThe Millais exhibit is a large circular design in the Floral Marquee (Stand FM/245). It will be showcasing many later flowering varieties of Rhododendrons and Evergreen Azaleas together with their new ‘Midsummer’ Azaleas. The exhibit will be a riot of colour and certainly a temptation of the senses with the wonderful fragrance filling the air and evoking long relaxing summer evenings in the garden.

Millais Nurseries was established by Ted and Romy Millais in 1970, and is now run by their son, David. It is one the country’s leading Rhododendron specialists supplying the widest range available in the world.
The ‘Midsummer’ range

Midsummer Coral: Scented coral flowers with a yellow flare. Stunning light green foliage slowly turning glaucous blue. Flowering in late June, to extend the flowering season. Height 125-150cm in 10 years.

Midsummer Girl: Stunning pink scented flowers with light yellow markings in late June. Glorious light green compact foliage that turns glaucous blue throughout the growing season Height 125-150cm in 10 years.

Midsummer Moon: Delightful scented cream flowers with a pale yellow flash in late June. Wonderful lush light green foliage turning glaucous blue through the growing season. Height 125-150cm in 10 years.

Midsummer Rose: Gorgeous large rose pink scented flowers at the end of June, with faint yellow marking on the upper lobe. Attractive dark glossy leaves on plant of neat bushy habit. Height 125-150cm in 10 years.

Midsummer Star: Bright pink tubular star-shaped scented flowers in late June. A vigorous plant with a neat tight habit, and a nice glossy foliage. Raised at Crosswater Farm by Ted Millais. Height 125-150cm in 10 years.

Midsummer Wedding: Pale apricot buds, open to beautiful scented white flowers, with pale yellow markings on the upper lobe. Late June flowering. Reddish new growth, glaucous shiny leaves. Height 125-150cm in 10 years.

Henri Le Worm prepares for the RHS Hampton Court Flower Show 2015

rhs logoCreated by Olivier Blanc & Charlotte Salt, Henri le Worm aims to remind children where food comes from and the important role that nature plays in its production.

The opportunity to create a show garden at this years prestigious Hampton Court Flower Show (30 June – 5 July 2015) not only seemed an exciting step, but a natural way to encourage children to get back outside exploring and gardening.

The Henri le Worm children’s garden (stand number F443) will be overseen by horticulturist Chris Collins and will be delivered to an RHS standard. The garden will be divided into sections, comprising a recipe garden, Henri’s edible shed and livestock area and a schools demo garden. The centre of the garden will have an outdoor kitchen area where Raymond Blanc will be doing a demo using ingredients directly from the garden (on press day 29th June).

Within the garden, there will be wonderful colour; edible hanging baskets, a fruit border and free standing bushes, as well as raised beds bordered by carved sleepers and colourful gravel and bark as well as a wild life area. Visitors will be encouraged to touch and feel and learn more about Henri and his friends adventures.

Commenting on the garden, Olivier Blanc said “We are so excited to have the opportunity to create a garden at Hampton Court. Our aim is to create an interactive children’s garden that is both fun and educational. We want to share all the delights a garden can hold for young ones, from the produce you
can grow to the creatures you will discover. It is amazing to share all the wonderful knowledge you can learn from mother nature.”

During the last year, Olivier and Chris have been developing the Henri le Worm Community Garden Project – an idea that a group of local schools develop a communal garden to use during school time, to teach sciences, mathematics, cooking and gardening. The first garden will be in Woolwich and the garden from Hampton Court will be transferred to this site after the show.

Chris Collins added “Working with Oli on this project is a great way to get the children involved in outdoor learning, teaching them about growing their own food and showing them where food comes from, then creating back in the kitchens. I hope that visitors to this years show will enjoy our creation.”

Chris and Oli are currently working with a team to create the garden including renowned artist Tom Hare who is making five large willow weave
sculptures of the Henri characters. Willow is the perfect example of a sustainable material, which can be woven into forms with spontaneity and character.

BAM Construction are generously helping with the construction and transportation of the garden which will involve local schools, apprentices and trainees, as well as volunteers from the company. Their expertise includes sustainable construction and building design.

For further information about Henri le Worm visit