Hampton Court Flower Show 2018

Posted by Rob Mann

Flower fluffers and the seedy side of Hampton Court Flower Show

Antihistamine, check. Sun cream, check. cameras, check. Its that time of year again when the Palace grounds of Hampton Court are taken over by the RHS and exhibitors. From sun hats to sheds, cabbages to carnivorous Lego plants, this event has got the lot.

Photography is a passion of mine and my photographic mantra is to capture emotion or tell a story… So with my press pass in hand its the perfect time to spend getting to know the contributors and convince them to open up (or bloom). The design of a show garden is an incredibly creative process and requires skills very similar to the ones we at Lime use on a daily basis, so I open with this to get the inside track.

The Children with Cancer UK charity garden by Emma Reed

2018 has been brutal on the exhibitors of Hampton Court Flower Show. Planning can be a year in advance, once the grounds are open its 24 hour days until the Monday judging. Couple that with the extended dry spell and the wind, you have a very stressful time for these green-fingered show folk.

The Entertaining Garden by Anca Panait

I spoke to one exhibitor who had just finished hoovering his garden, (yes hoovering) and as we chatted a large gust of wind covered it with tree pollen and leaves. He sighed, muttered ‘least I haven’t got a water feature’ and went back to work, just as a group of judges make their way towards his lot. This is it… 15 minutes, then the long wait for the result (for those interested he won a Silver Gilt medal).

Bill Bailey at Hampton Court Flower Show 2018

Press day is also time for gratuitous marketing stunts by the exhibitors, in the attempt to attract the attention of the Press, which makes it even more fun. I look at my photo call sheet and notice a familiar face… Seasoned HCFS veteran and keen environmentalist Bill Bailey is a show favourite of mine. We spend a while chatting about our previous meetings and different photo poses I’d like him to do, ‘1982 Freemans catalogue slacks centrefold’ was one of my favourites.

Matthew Soper and daughter pose with their carnivorous plants and a Lego Venus flytrap

As the day progresses, its apparent that the show is a success, the subjects of my attention have all won show medals and I’ve managed not to get burnt in the blistering sun of East Molesey… now off to the digital dark room to see the fruits of my labour!

Montage of Hampton Court Flower Show 2018