The eye-catchers of the 2024 RHS Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival

There is ample inspiration to be found at this year’s RHS Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival, from small planting pockets to large show gardens, specialist nursery exhibits and sustainable gardening inspiration throughout – herewith our 2024 highlights.

RHS Hampton Court exhibitor Proctors Nursery

An average of 130,000 people attend RHS Hampton every year, with most visitors spending a reported five hours at the festival. Stretching over 31 acres, that’s a lot of show to see in a relatively short time – these are the exhibits that caught our eye…


  • The RHS Peat-Free garden designed by Arit Anderson. A novel showcase of sustainable gardening without needing to compromise on beauty. From plug to plot, Anderson’s show garden highlights the fact that sustainable alternatives can be used to make a beautiful garden. The garden mimicked an untouched peatland before transitioning into a recognisable domestic garden complete with shaded as well as sun loving borders and beds. A series of talks and workshops will be hosted on the garden discussing all things growing media such as compost, mulch, soil improvers, advise on peat-free seed sowing, propagation, watering and care advice for peat-free potted plants. Quoted recently in the news, Anderson said that peat is like a “sugar addiction” for gardeners. Hopefully this garden provides the inspiration needed to wean all off peat..
  • The RHS Money Saving Garden, designed by Jamie Butterworth for Anya Lautenbach to showcase her successful Money Saving Gardener books. The garden is a super demonstration as to how to create a beautiful garden from plants that can be easily propagated to save money gardening. At first glance, the opulent planting is somewhat deceiving of the money saving element, but as explained by Butterworth, the planting is “aspirational”. The planting palette is limited to 20 or so plants different plants, all of which are easy to propagate and grow. The garden also featured a delightful shed, made on-site from reused and recycled materials – by Butterworth himself. Other garden features, such as the array of old and recycled containers, pots, plant supports and paving provide further frugal gardening inspiration. A beautiful garden, definitely worth a closer look – especially if bestowed the privilege to see inside that thoroughly charming shed.
  • Judged for the first time, the Resilient Pocket Planting borders may have been small but had a big impact. The nine new garden design talents, were all mentored by award-winning garden designer Tom Massey and supported by Hortus Loci. Many interesting ideas and planting combinations on show across all of the gardens in this category, but look out for:
    • Winds of Change, by James Miller, Marko Yau and Saachi Parasrampuria – the coastal pocket garden, inspired by Jaywick Sands on the north Essex coast.
    • Our Forgotten Neighbours: Growing Resilience with Food Forests, designed by Marina Lindl – a compact, beautiful food forest with multi-layered, edible plants providing wholesome, nutrient-rich food.
    • The Wild Child Cornwall Garden, designed by Victoria Jane Cucknell – charming maritime hardy, texturally attractive, biodiverse and colourful space sculptural, live willow forms amongst the wild, edible and textural plants.
  • Similar in size to the Pocket Planting plots, the ‘All About Asteraceae: the plant family with flower power’ planting plots are a must see. Designed and created by graduates from the London College of Garden Design, the seven delightful borders, are fortuitously situated along Ditton Avenue showcasing the wide variety and diversity of plants in the genus Asteraceae. Not only a good opportunity for the new garden designers to exhibit their talents – which they did very effectively, but also a superb way for the RHS to highlight a specific plant genus in terms of range of varieties, foliage, textures, wildlife benefits etc. Enjoyed them all, but look out for:
    • ‘Healing Power’ by Adam Phoenix which focuses on the gift of using our gardens as a home pharmacy. Delightful, loose planting adorned with beautiful blue chicory (Cichorium intybus) – a plant which should be used more often.
    • ‘A Reinvention of Yellow’ by Rachel Barnard, Mel Wilkinson, Bev Small and Annie Shepherd (Garden Girls Collective). A clever border designed to challenge the often negative perception of yellow as a colour in gardens.
    • ‘For the Birds’ by Brian Youngblut to highlight the plight of Britain wild birds as a staggering 73 million have been lost since 1970. The garden is designed to give birds a fighting chance by planting flowering species from the Asteraceae family which contain rich food sources for birds such as Achillea, Cosmos, Echinacea, Helianthus and Zinnias.
  • The Climate Forward Garden, designed by Melanie Hick – the front garden re-imagined with sustainability and style. Front gardens are becoming a rarity, with many being paved over to accommodate (electric) cars but they could represent a vital refuge for plants and wildlife. This garden is designed for homeowners keen to turn their front garden, or courtyard into a more climate-friendly retreat, taking inspiration from the conditions and natural hues of the Australian bush. Here’s hoping this may help re-invigorate a love for the front garden…

Floral Marquee

  • Daisy Roots (120) – small nursery and member of the Plant Fair Roadshow. For the show, nursery owner, Annie Godfrey created a charming herbaceous display with truly enviable plant varieties including, Sanguisorba ‘Raspberry Mivvi’ and Sanguisorba ‘Pathway’.
  • Plant Heritage Exhibit: National Plant Collection of Rosa persica hybrids (116). Intriguing exhibit of relatively unknown Persica hybrids telling the story about the breeding of the Persica roses by Daniel Myhill, the National Collection holder of Rosa persica hybrids.
  • The Orchid Society of Great Britain (161) opted to focus their exhibit on a single genus, the Anguloa species and hybrids – which were introduced, grown, bred, and registered by Dr Henry Oakeley. A total of 60 Anguloa plants, with 600 flowers can be admired. A truly impressive exhibit.
  • She Grows Veg Ltd (158) with their winning exhibit of heirloom vegetables. Following their RHS Chelsea success, the She Grows Veg team of Lucy Hutchings and Kate Cotterill brought their fabulous vegetables to life with the help of contemporary florist, Hazel Gardiner, presented in a modern twist on Renaissance painting.
  • SS Great Britain Trust (147). Fascinating exhibit which delved into the history of plant migration in the 19th century. RHS Gold Medal winning garden designer Jane Porter helped museum staff create a display featuring Wardian cases to show how plants were transported, both inbound and outbound between 1859 and 1875.
  • Kent Wildflower Seeds (121) are exhibiting their native wildflowers to highlight how wildflowers are not only beautiful, but can be a productive element of any sized or styled garden.


Sadly on press day, few exhibitors were open for a good peruse but a must visit is the charming artisan producer, New Forest Shortbread (474). Lovingly made in the New Forest by Tracy Thew from Burley Rails Cottage, the delectable biscuits come sealed in recyclable bags and biodegradable boxes. The boxes are adorned with beautiful illustrations of the flora and fauna that is prevalent in the New Forest – with short descriptions about specific tree varieties, fungi and animals of the region. Happily devoured with fellow garden press colleagues, the biscuits were utterly delicious – well worth a quick visit.

Other exhibitors, worthy of a mention; Niwaki (321)- consistently good; Alitex (322) with charming planting in and around their greenhouse – adorned with an outdoor kitchen; Henchman – whom are to announce the winners of their Annual Topiary Awards competition later this week; all things roses in the Rose Marquee (David Austin, Peter Beales, Harkness etc); the nurseries exhibiting in the Plant Village whom put on charming plant displays, such as Proctors Nursery (headline picture).