A dog friendly garden? Doesn’t that mean just a broad expanse of grass, and a large wire fence to stop them escaping? Well, think again. For this year’s RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show (which is open until 10 July), Dogs Trust commissioned the wonderful designer Paul Hervey-Brookes, and contractor G K Wilson Landscapes to bring to life a garden for both people and dogs to enjoy.
It proved so successful that it won GOLD!
The garden is packed with subtle dog-friendly features, including tunnels and sniffer tracks playfully woven into the herbaceous borders,
and planting for four-legged visitors to seek out. Everything is categorically non-toxic for dogs, and a beautiful and striking pavilion retreat rests at one end of the garden enabling dogs to survey the landscape with their human guests. (The pavilion will be moved to Dogs Trust’s West London rehoming centre, as will most of the plants after the show.)
On preview day Dogs Trust brought in a few of their recently re-homed dogs – this is heavenly Sweet Pea the Dachshund. (Don’t bring your dog – these are the first non-service dogs ever allowed at Hampton Court!)
Lively sculptures capture the character of dogs, whilst the stillness of the large water feature represents the abandonment faced by stray dogs. The garden’s diverse planting provides a sensory experience accented in yellow to reflect the colour of Dogs Trust’s brand.
The dog sculptures are for sale in a silent auction. Contact Dogs Trust if you are interested!
Above: a sausage dog hiding in the borders!
Afterwards, we headed into the Dog House for the formal opening of the garden by actor Robert Lindsay.
We had a snuggle with Betsey, who is going to her forever home this week.
Above: My mama and Betsey.
And looked longingly at some of the dogs up for re-homing in the West London Dogs Trust centre.
And read the stories of some of the wonderful dog and human partnerships that have been facilitated by Dogs Trust.
Then it was off to check out the rest of the huge site, from the Rose Marquee to the scarecrow competition, via the show gardens and shopping opportunities.
Above: The Crabtree & Evelyn Botanical Studio Garden, by designer Jade Goto, whose inspiration came from country house still rooms, where garden plants were distilled to supply the house with fragrant waters and essential oils; celebrating single floral notes in their purest form, the planting scheme aims to capture the essence of perfume fields in Grasse.
Above: The Gold Medal-winning World Vision Garden, designed by John Warland.
Above and below: The Silver Medal-winning Immerse Garden, designed by Cherry Carmen.
The RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show is held in the grounds of Hampton Court Palace in East Molesey, Surrey and lies to the south west of London, about 30 minutes from Waterloo station. There is comprehensive travel information on the RHS site here.
We took the Overground train from Hampstead Heath to Richmond and then Uber-ed to the show (about £18), as I was with my mother – knee replacement, and sister – MS, and didn’t fancy Waterloo during the rush hour. We were able to hire a mobility scooter for my sister at the show (£25), which was fantastic, as she was able to zip about all evening without becoming exhausted.
On the way home we wanted to avoid the traffic, and we worried that a booked cab would never find us, so we decided to take the mainline train. (Hampton Court is in Zone 6, so you can use your Oyster Card.)
There is a charming 15 minute walk along the bank of the River Thames to the railway station from the show ground but, for the halt, lame or just plain knackered, there is a ferry service, which costs a mere £3 a head, and takes five minutes. (Departures from Hampton Court are designed with the train timetable in mind.)
Below: Hampton Court Palace from the water.
With huge thanks to our friends at Dogs Trust for hosting us at the Royal Horticultural Society’s Hampton Court Palace Flower Show 2016, which runs until 10 July.
More information on the RHS site here.
Click on the banner to see some wonderful dogs looking for a new home.