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RHS Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival 2020
by RHS
February 22, 2020

Gardening for everyone will be a key theme at the Royal Horticultural Society’s (RHS) Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival 2020 supported by Viking this summer, 6 – 12 July, as the festival celebrates its 30th anniversary.

A garden line-up set to highlight green spaces as vital places for people to reconnect, not only with nature, but friends, families and in communities, has been revealed. The announcement follows an RHS survey that found 52 per cent of people in Britain said they have experienced feeling alone.

The acclaimed landscape architect Tom Stuart-Smith is this year’s Iconic Horticultural Hero and will showcase a drought-tolerant garden. Community lies at the heart of this display as Tom will work with a team of apprentices at Sunnyside Rural Trust, a charity offering training and work experience to vulnerable people, who will help grow the herbaceous plants for the garden. The feature celebrates the influential designer behind the masterplan of RHS Garden Bridgewater which opens on 30 July.

Many Show Gardens will demonstrate how we can use gardens as places to connect with others. Returning once again with Cancer Research UK, Tom Simpson will create a peaceful space for visitors to sit together. The figure of eight layout will see the two halves connected by a serpentine water rill and will highlight the importance of pledges and how they support the research breakthroughs to help beat cancer sooner.

The Northern Roots Oldham Garden designed by Peter Donegan showcases the pioneering Northern Roots project, exploring how we can utilise vital urban green spaces to provide economic and social benefits to local communities.

Former RHS Young Designer of the Year Will Williams returns with Viking, the award-winning river and ocean cruise line which is supporting the festival for the fifth year. True to Viking’s Nordic roots and based on the Norwegian concept: Friluftsliv (pronounced free-loofts-liv) which can be translated as ‘open-air living’, The Viking Friluftsliv Garden is a Scandinavian-inspired social space promoting a relaxing outdoor lifestyle complete with a kitchen, plunge pool, seating area and fire pit. Award-winning designer Paul Hervey-Brookes will also create a contemporary setting for entertaining and relaxing with friends, drawing inspiration from the renowned architecture of Sir Christopher Wren with the Brewin Dolphin Garden – Inspired By Wren.

Gardens as places to connect with others can also be seen in the Lifestyle Gardens category. The Association of Professional Landscapers (APL) return with A Place to Meet Again, created in collaboration with its members and apprentices. Meanwhile, Amelia Bouquet designs a garden to meet friends, both old and new; The Communication Garden will feature fractured pathways symbolising changes in communication and conversation alongside a seating hub to listen, talk and share ideas.

In celebration of British grown flowers, gardener and florist Arthur Parkinson makes his festival debut with the RHS Cut Flower Garden. Designed in association with another of horticulture’s greatest, Sarah Raven, the space will demonstrate a variety of floral combinations for plots of all sizes and hopes to inspire visitors to grow their own floral arrangements.

Alongside the garden and throughout the festival, there will be demonstrations, workshops and talks focusing on different areas of horticulture, floristry, crafts and wellbeing to showcase the range of benefits plants, gardens and green spaces can offer. Other highlights include the RHS Community Allotments, It’s A Wild World School Competition and a range of family activities to inspire and delight visitors of all ages.

Rebecca Welti, RHS Festival Manager, says: “We’re very excited to reveal such a fantastic line-up of gardens and continue building on last year’s festival feel with a roster of workshops and talks to show how both keen gardeners and amateurs alike can get involved. We hope it will draw communities together, offer a platform for young talent and encourage more people of all ages to get gardening. We’ll have lots more to announce soon as we get ready to celebrate the festival’s 30th anniversary!”

The RHS Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival Preview Evening supported by Viking* will also return on Monday 6 July. For further information or to buy tickets, please visit the RHS website at

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