The Changing Face of Britain in Bloom

Wednesday 2 July 2014

World’s largest annual flower show will explore how RHS Britain in Bloom has evolved since 1964


Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Hampton Court Palace Flower Show (8-13 July) is celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of RHS Britain in Bloom and will show how the campaign has changed since 1964 when it was started as a way to market the UK through floral displays.

At four hundred square metres ‘Fifty Golden Years: A Celebration of RHS Britain in Bloom’ is the central feature of the show, designed by Bloom judge and multi-RHS Chelsea Gold medal winner Jon Wheatley. It will feature traditional floral displays as well as more contemporary sustainable and edible planting.

Jon said: “I want visitors to experience the journey Bloom has been on since it started and also take a glimpse at the next fifty years. The garden will feature plants that have been used by communities to brighten up our streets over the last half a century like begonias and geraniums. Whilst these plants are beautiful they tend to be high maintenance as well as having short flowering seasons.

“On the other hand Bloom groups, with the encouragement of the RHS, have developed a more sustainable approach with the use of longer term planting that is equally stunning but requires less attention like agapanthus. There will be wildflowers, a feast for pollinators, and mouth-watering produce like beetroot highlighting how many of the 3,900 groups are becoming self-sufficient by growing their own. All in all the contrast between the two concepts of past and future is demonstrated along with a range of colourful plantings that I hope will provide a real WOW factor.” 

One section of the garden will showcase planting for wildlife which includes a field of poppies and pollinator-friendly ‘Giraffe’ sunflowers. Stood amongst them will be Gerald – a 12 foot giraffe, who has made his way over from a community in Exeter especially for the show.

Bloom groups and schools across the South West of England contributed ideas to the garden as did communities in London, the South East and Scotland. This is a real testament to the community spirit which is so vital to Bloom.

Jon Wheatley’s garden is the third show feature at RHS shows celebrating the work of Bloom volunteers. There will be five themes of the garden aimed to demonstrate to visitors what can be gained from making the most of public green spaces. After the show, the garden will be going to a Bloom community.

Community gardening is a theme that features prominently across the show* and plants and resources from The One Show garden will be going to Bloom groups in Bath in Bloom which has been part of the campaign since the very start in 1964.

Anybody can set-up their own Bloom group or join their nearest one for free by visiting:  



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