The London College of Garden Design and the RHS celebrate Asteraceae

The London College of Garden Design and the RHS have created a new planting feature, ‘All About Asteraceae: the plant family with flower power’ for the 2024 RHS Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival.

Helenium flowers with bees

Planted by recent graduates of the college, seven borders along Ditton Avenue will showcase the wide variety and diversity of plants in the genus Asteraceae – commonly referred to as the daisy family, including for example, Calendula Officinalis, Echinacea, Helenium and Achillea millefolium. The All About Asteraceae borders celebrates this versatile family in seven glorious beds created by recent graduates of the London College of Garden Design

Nina Baxter, Director of the London College of Garden Design said, “We are proud to have teamed up with the RHS on this exciting project – showcasing the versatility of a whole family of plants and the diversity of ways they can be used in planting design fits perfectly with the college ethos of education and diversity and sustainability in planting. This is a fabulous opportunity for our graduates to get their first taste of creating an exhibit at one of the RHS’s flagship shows.”

The borders chosen for the 2024 RHS Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival:

  • ‘Healing Power’ by Adam Phoenix, Planting Design Diploma Graduate 2023, focuses on the gift of using our gardens as a home pharmacy. It highlights the healing properties of plants in the Asteraceae family, many of which can be used to make medicines, food products, herbal teas & infusions, natural dyes, aromatic oils and skin care products.
  • ‘A Reinvention of Yellow’ by Rachel Barnard, Mel Wilkinson, Bev Small and Annie Shepherd (Garden Girls Collective), Garden Design Diploma Graduates 2023. This border challenges the perception of yellow as a colour that gardeners are wary of – yellow is highly aspirational in fashion and interiors, portraying the owner as brave, confident and individualistic, and yet yellow is out of favour in the gardening community.
  • ‘For the Birds’ by Brian Youngblut, Garden Design Diploma Graduate 2023, highlights Britain’s falling numbers of wild birds – 73 million have been lost since 1970, a third of all wild birds, and the important part out gardens can play in helping to stop this trend. Gardeners can give birds a fighting chance by planting flowering species and the Asteraceae family contains many that are rich food sources for birds such as Achillea, Cosmos, Echinacea, Helianthus, Zinnias and many more.
  • ‘The Summer Haze of Asteraceae’ Kate Brown, Garden Design Diploma Graduate 2023, will display the vast variety of wonderful plant forms and flower shapes within the Asteraceae plant family, as well as highlighting the differences in adaptability to moisture content within the soil. This is a wildlife friendly border, with a vast selection of nectar rich planting, a small area of water, and a variety of habitats.
  • ‘Flower Power Field’ by Kathryn Cox, Planting Design Diploma Graduate 2023, is a tribute to the iconic Woodstock Festival held in the state of New York in the summer of 1969 and represents an imaginary place to chill out between bands. This garden aims to remind people of the collective spirit of flower power – be it through nature, music or art, from Woodstock to the current day.
  • ‘Wiltshire Chalk Stream’ by Oliver Wheeler, Planting Design Diploma Graduate 2023, highlights the range of Asteraceae plants that would be found whilst out on a walk along the riverbanks of the chalk streams in Wiltshire.
  • ‘Fabulous Foliage’ by Will Murray, Sally-Anne Rees, Kate Campbell, Planting Design Diploma Graduates 2023, encourages visitors to consider a foliage-first mindset; to show how dynamic planting schemes can be created which hold their own before the first blooms appear and long after they have faded, and how dramatic foliage can set the stage for when those blooms are in full flower. Whilst plants in the Asteraceae family share the same type of flower shapes, their foliage and leaf shapes vary considerably and can create real structure and drama.

RHS Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival 2024 takes place from Tuesday 2nd – Sunday 7th July, see show highlights.