RHS Feature Garden for RHS Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival will be entirely peat-free

Designed by Arit Anderson, the RHS Feature Garden will be peat-free, from plug to show plot, showcasing what can be achieved using sustainable alternatives.

Arit Anderson at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2023.
credit: RHS

Designer, author, RHS Ambassador and regular Gardeners’ World presenter, Arit Anderson is creating the garden for the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) to show that using peat-free alternatives is just as effective to create a garden full of colour and texture. Anderson’s peat-free showcase for the RHS Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival, featuring over 2000 annuals, perennials, shrubs and trees, aims to help the industry and gardeners transition to peat-free alternatives.

“The RHS Peat-Free Garden will be packed full of planting and design ideas gardeners can take home and apply on their own plot. I’m incredibly proud of this peat-free show garden which I hope will help shine a light on the issue and empower gardeners and industry to help bring about change. However, I also recognise the challenges designers face with residual traces of peat found in plants and that’s something the RHS is working hard to address”, explains Anderson.

Anderson’s design for the RHS Peat-Free Garden mimics an untouched peatland, before transitioning into a recognisable domestic garden complete with shaded as well as sun loving borders and beds. The plants for the garden have been sourced from growers including Golden Valley Plants and Rijnbeek, and partners in the RHS Peat-free Fellowship, such as Farplants and Hilliers.

The materials used in Anderson’s design have been recycled, including a large greenhouse at its heart made from up-cycled windows, borrowed paving, old railway sleepers and disused beehive that now serves as a bug hotel. Two large water butts will collect rainwater from the green house with overflow channelled into a wildlife friendly water feature and rain garden for future use during dry spells.

The garden will be built by London based, landscaping company Beaufort & Hampton.

A series of talks and workshops will be hosted on the garden for visitors of the show, to help demystify the origins and use of growing media such as compost, mulch and soil improvers, advice on peat-free seed sowing and propagation, watering and care advice for peat-free potted plants.

As of the 1st of January 2026, the RHS Legacy Peat Policy will apply across all of its operations, including show gardens. The policy acknowledges that some peat will remain in circulation for some time, particularly for older, larger plants such as herbaceous perennials and trees. However, all plants raised after 1st January 2026 will be required to have been grown entirely peat-free, and any potting action after this date must also be peat-free, for plants to be shown, exhibited or sold through the RHS. According to the RHS, this gives the industry time to transition in order to comply with the charity’s peat-free policy, but also recognises that peat already in production systems cannot be returned to the ground, and washing it off or throwing it away would be unsustainable.

Alistair Griffiths, RHS Director of Science and Collections, added: “We’re delighted that Hampton will be host to this peat-free garden from plug to plot. Industry and gardeners are showing huge resolve in their ambition to be peat-free and the garden will showcase how it can be done with no less colour or quality. From 2026, our Legacy Peat Policy will aid the transition by accounting for the legacy peat that is likely to be found in older and larger garden plants.”