Gardens aimed at coping with floods and heavy rain feature at Hampton Court


Gardens which aim to meet the challenges of a changing world such as flooding and heavy rain are featuring at this year's Hampton Court Flower Show.

The "gardens for a changing world" at this week's Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) show focus on the more sustainable direction horticulture is following, highlighting urban regeneration, flooding and abandoning manicured lawns for forest gardens.

Will Williams, 21, returning to the show after his debut last year, will highlight natural solutions to flooding, inspired by the North Yorkshire village of Pickering which has worked with nature to prevent floods.

An urban rain garden to cope with increased rainfall as a result of climate change, designed by Rhiannon Williams in her first show garden, features front and back gardens with measures to catch and store water and also cope with dry conditions.

A "brownfield - metamorphosis" garden sees industrial landscape springing back into natural life, a low-maintenance garden based on forest gardening techniques with edible plants and a garden promoting environmental responsibility by highlighting human damage to the planet also feature.

Wildlife is also a key theme at the show, which includes a tropical butterfly dome, surrounded by a wildflower meadow, nectar-rich plants for native butterflies, and caterpillar food plants such as nettles, grasses and heather.

And talks at the show's "Celebrity Theatre" include TV nature presenters Chris Packham and Michaela Strachan, along with other TV personalities including David Domoney, Charlie Dimmock and Justin Fletcher from CBeebies.

Mr Packham said: "I will be talking to people about how to bring a touch of the wild back into our gardens, and all of the tremendous benefits that has both for us and for the environment.

"Everyone can play a significant role in conservation, just by working in their own gardens, and I'd like to share some tips on how to do that."

Elsewhere, the show will feature a community garden highlighting the work of Blind Veterans UK, a large woodland play garden for children and adults with disabilities such as autism and a floral marquee featuring dozens of specialist nurseries.

A live challenge backed by Honda will see "the Black Gardener" Danny Clarke create a nine-square metre vertical installation made up of 616 plants in no more than three hours.

He said: "I love a challenge, and this is the ideal brief for me as it perfectly illustrates my mantra that no matter how little time, space or budget you have, you can still create a beautiful garden."

Nick Mattingley, director of RHS Shows, said: "At more than twice the size of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show and just a stone's throw from London, RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show is the best place for budding and expert gardeners who want advice, ideas, inspiration and an abundance of plants and gardening merchandise to beautify their outdoor spaces.

"The designers, plants people, growers, florists, contractors, artisan producers and tradestand exhibitors have pulled out all the stops to transform the historic grounds of Hampton Court Palace into the world's largest annual flower show for all to enjoy."