Britain in full bloom at Hampton Court

This week's RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show highlights the best of British – designing, growing and wartime spirit

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There is something extra specially British about the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show this year, and it's not the weather. There was not a cloud in sight as the sun beat down on immaculate show gardens, marquees packed with exquisite displays of roses, herbs, vegetables and all manner of other blooming marvellous plants. 

Chelsea Pensioners and a Yeoman Warder in the Battlefields to Butterflies Garden at the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show 2018

Chelsea Pensioners and a Yeoman Warder in the Battlefields to Butterflies Garden, designed by Todd Longstaffe Gowan to feature a barren scene of trenches and charred, skeletal trees with a landscape filled with trees and wildflowers beyond

(Image: © ©RHS)

As exhibitors spritzed their perfect plant specimens with water to stave off wilting stems, visitors displayed their best wartime spirit and endured soaring temperatures to enjoy a wealth of gardening inspiration in this most British of settings. 

Charlie Bloom's Brilliance in Bloom garden at Hampton Court 2018

Charlie Bloom's Brilliance in Bloom garden was a colourful inspiration, showcasing the talents of craftspeople including Simon Probyn who made the sculptures and Nickie Bonn & Art4Space who created the mosaic. All materials from the garden will be reused after the show. Brilliance in Bloom was awarded a silver medal 

(Image: © Karen Darlow)

How fitting then, that one of the first show features to greet visitors is Battlefields to Butterflies, a tribute to the 24 men of the Royal Parks and Palace Gardens who lost their lives in WWI, this being the centenary year of the end of the Great War.

Shed on allotment garden exhibit at RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show

The talking shed - one of the 'Veg Box' gardens designed by The Community Brain & Kingston University as part of a project to celebrate the history of Tolworth & Surbiton's allotments and sheds. The shed and allotment garden won a silver medal

(Image: © Karen Darlow)

Elsewhere in the show are horticultural nods to such other British institutions as Dig for Victory, Grow Your Own (an RHS garden in collaboration with chef Raymond Blanc's Gardening School), the Suffragettes, scarecrows designed by teams of local schoolchildren, the Fire Brigades Union and a talking shed. Yes, a ramshackle shed that tells the story of Tolworth and Surbiton's sheds and allotment holders. 

The Health & Wellbeing Garden by Alexandra Noble Design at Hampton Court 2018

The Health & Wellbeing Garden by Alexandra Noble aims to slow your pace and your mind, and features a continuous path to encourage walking meditation, a camomile bench and a shallow reflective pool - good for all kinds of reflection. The garden was awarded a silver medal

(Image: © Karen Darlow)

Just some of the many highlights of this year RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show on now until Sunday 8 July.  

Best of both Worlds garden by Rosemary Coldstream at Hampton Court 2018

The gold-medal winning Best of Both Worlds garden by Rosemary Coldstream and students on BALI's GoLandscape initiative showcases the current dilemma facing British back gardens. Do we choose classic cottage garden pastels, or strident colours and contemporary landscaping? Why not both, says this solution which showcases both styles either side of the stylised hedge 

(Image: © Karen Darlow)

The South Oxfordshire Landscape Garden at RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show 2018 with brick terrace and wall inspired by Brunel railway bridge

The South Oxfordshire Landscape Garden designed by Rory Andrews is a contemporary interpretation of two archetypal British scenes the Brunel railway bridge and the wildflowers growing alongside the Thames near the designer's home. Rory's reworking of the familiar scene won him a bronze medal

(Image: © ©RHS)