Charm personified: The Royal Windsor Flower Show

At the behest of their charming Show Director Alex Denman, I attended last weekend’s Royal Windsor Flower Show for the first time on behalf of, and was immediately smitten….

The former RHS Chelsea Show Manager, Alex Denman started working for the Royal Windsor Flower Show (RWFS) in 2019, taking on the challenge to revitalising the, then somewhat lacklustre show that had somehow lost its mojo. Her goal was to bring it back to life, make it commercially viable and be an important part of the Berkshire community. Along with her team and Juliet Roberts, the show’s Creative Director, Denman has cracked it. This charming, one-day show set in the historic Windsor Great Park is an absolute winner, and a must for your calendar.

The show not only boasts an impressive (Royal) guest list, but also superb floral and garden exhibits befitting any RHS Show, vast array of family-inclusive activities, respected nurseries and intriguing exhibitor stands – all of which beautifully laid out across the ample lawns. Even though a sell-out for 2024, you could hardly notice the 5200 strong crowd as there was abundant space to amble and view exhibits from all angles.

Denman told me that amongst all the various attractions, the RWFS provided ‘old-fashioned fun’. Admittedly, I disregarded that initially as cunning marketing speak, but I was mistaken. Though it has high aspirations, as many of the garden and floral exhibits were created by award-winning RHS Chelsea designers and exhibitors – this is still a village show and a heritage that is unequivocally celebrated. All of which is evident in the quintessentially British competition marquees, bursting with prized vegetables, floral display, bakery and crafts, but also around the show with the eagerly anticipated egg & spoon races, Punch & Judy shows – you name it. This show oozes personal touches and has a joyful energy that is difficult to achieve or replicate.

“This is a wonderful show” said Mark Gregory, Managing Director Landform Consultants and RWFS judge. “I mean where else would you have your exhibits personally viewed by Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Edinburgh, your plants and flowers judged by Alan Titchmarsh and your cakes tasted by Dame Mary Berry?”

Along with RWFS’s Honorary President Titchmarsh, the (gardening) judging panel included (amongst others); Mark Gregory; 2023 Master Gardener winner, Ben Hope; former RHS Wisley Curator, Matthew Pottage; Head of Horticulture at Garden Organic, Chris Collins and the Principal garden designer Landform Consultants, Catherine MacDonald.

Show Highlights

  • The central feature garden; ‘The Harmony Garden’ designed by Alan Williams of Landform Consultants with its circular, open design for all to see and walk through. The design focuses on the principles of The Harmony Project an educational syllabus for schools, to get children and adults invigorated about the cycle of life, which in turn has been inspired by HM The King’s 2010 book “Harmony: A New Way of Looking at Our World”. Beautifully, planted with woodland plants around an impressive, multi-stem white birch.
  • The Master Gardeners exhibits from a handful of carefully chosen gardeners, including Tom-Stuart Smith’s Serge Hill Project, Coworth Park , Eythrope Gardens, the Royal Gardens at Sandringham, Windsor Castle and Savill & Valley Gardens. Set on vintage plantsmans’ trolleys, the displays showcase impressive planting skills and offer inspiring ideas for visitors. The 2024 winner of the Master Gardeners competition was Suzie Hanson, Head Gardener at Eythrope & Waddesdon Manor.
  • The garden makers competition, in partnership with Creepers Nursery, featured the work of five undergraduate or recent post graduate designers, providing a platform for them to hone their exhibiting and planting skills. The winners of the garden makers competition for 2024 was the trio of SSH Scapes, a collaboration between Sonia Kamel, Sally Giles and Helier Bowling. Their ‘It’s a Bug’s Life’ garden won first prize and featured a flowering woodland landscape with habitats for insects, bees, spiders and beetles.
  • Floral gift for the King. A competition of charming flower posies designed for the King and will appear the next morning on the King’s table…
  • The Competition Marquee filled to the brim with delectable Victoria Sponges, trifles, sweet peas, floral displays and proud vegetables.

The 2025 Royal Windsor Flower Show will take place on the 7th of June, 2025. Make sure you don’t miss it…