Hampton Court Palace Flower Show that opens today (5 July) has something to offer everyone, with show gardens, talks, trade stands and plenty more. Nathan James Dodd attended the Press Day and was impressed with how much there is to see.
You don't have to be an enthusiastic gardener to enjoy a day out at the Hampton Court Palace Flower Show that starts today. This is a show that is so large and comprehensive that there is something to interest all the family.
The amount of rain we have had has effected the show's preparations but, with the final touches being applied and the smell of fresh paint as well as gorgeous flowers in the air, everything was finally being put in place for the world's largest flower display.
If you are a keen gardener then of course the Show Gardens will be an enticing attraction, with several categories including City Gardens that show just how much you can achieve in a small space, Summer Gardens and the award winning WWT Working Wetlands Garden. For the more adventurous there are also conceptual gardens.
Walk into the Festival of Roses and you're met with a intoxicating mixture of scent and colour from a marquee packed with magnificent blooms. It's quite a spectacle for anyone who loves roses of any variety and habit from Britain's best nurseries.
Inside the Celebrity Theatre, Cook & Grow Theatre and the Roses & Floristry Theatre, there are frequent opportunities to increase your horticultural knowledge by taking part in presentations and demonstrations by well known gardening personalities such as Diamuid Gavin, Christine Walkden and Pippa Greenwood.
Across 'The Long Water' is the equally stunning Floral Marquee, a huge area full with an encyclopaedic number of plants that the public are able to buy. Everything from delightful cottage garden flowers, brilliantly coloured lilies, verdant ferns and hostas to exotic carnivorous plants and rare heritage varieties.
You'll immediately see a great example of the family friendly atmosphere by visiting the magical Butterfly Dome. Go inside and both adults and children are able to walk amongst wonderfully colourful Asian and South American butterflies that flitter freely, settling on plants and sometimes passers by.
For the children look out for the Scarecrow Competition, not difficult as there are over 60 of them made from plants and re-cycled materials, and the Rocket Science Exhibition. Saturday is Family Day when Mr Bloom from CBeebies arrives, there's a Kids' Cookery School and Story Telling Bus.
You can easily spend hours walking around all the stands that sell everything a gardener needs, this is much more than a flower show, with ornaments, outdoor furniture plus food and drink from cheese to Yorkshire Gin. And it's all in the wonderful surroundings of the royal palace, as I overheard someone say, 'it seems to get better every year'.
The Hampton Court Flower Show is taking place Tuesday 5 July to Sunday 10 July and is open 10.00am – 7.30pm (5.30 Sunday).