Updated: Apr 26
What a day and what a show! After visiting The Hampton Court Flower show 3 times previously, this was my first time to visit The Hampton Court Garden Festival, as they have renamed it this year under the realisation that the show was not just a flower show (even though it is known as the world’s largest annual flower show), it is much more than that, the alluring atmosphere included innovative designs, wellness talks, food demonstrations, environmental awareness, biodiversity enhancing techniques, music, and mental health activities.
This event combined my two favourite hobbies – a holistic health and wellness lifestyle combined with garden designs and planting, both acknowledging the importance of healthy food, outdoor activities and exercise and mental health issues.
This enticing, jam packed event full of bustling stalls, exciting events and delicious foods was a great way to encourage visitors to lead a more health conscious life, considering the activities we take which affect our bodies, our minds and the environment, emphasising the need to understand the holistic meaning behind our life and the actions we take.
As soon as I entered the festival area, I was lucky enough to be in time for the morning workshop on Handmade Apothecary: Healing Herbal Recipes by Kim Walker. This was a short demonstration and explanation about the use of herbs and plants (the leaves, flowers and roots) to treat a few common everyday issues and ailments, rather than relying too much on shop bought pills and medication (as too many people do nowadays). She was very engaging and knowledgeable, and if this is something you may interested in, I recommend you visiting their website to learn some great skills!
My next stop was the collection of insect and bug hotels by the many primary schools involved in the insect hotel competition. This was a great way to inspire visitors to understand the importance of the insects in our lives and the world, and also how simple is it to incorporate a small one into all our gardens, to help increase biodiversity, as well as creating a fun activity for children to engage with. They are super easy to make at home, mostly using recycled materials such as tyres, roof tiles, and wooden palettes, or create your own nooks and spaces from wood, logs, piled up rocks or stacked plants and pots, just let your creativity run wild.
I also decided to stop and watch a few of the talks which had been organised throughout the day, both focused on a natural food and homemade recipe mentality, by Mark Diacono and Melissa Hemsley, as they demonstrated delicious homemade food and cocktail recipes, using ordinary simple plants, herbs and vegetables which could be grown in any garden.
My top 5 inspirational gardens:
These combined garden spaces with a health and wellness perspective, included:
‘The Forest will see you now’ small garden pointing out the benefits of being within a green forest space on your state of mental health and the calming effects of green spaces
‘The stop and pause garden’ inspired by the many practices of meditation, which feels like a very calm and secluded space, with soft planting and a reflective pool, perfect for relaxing and calming the mind.
‘The smart meter garden’ which highlighted the need for attention towards the use of energy, and also created a very tranquil space to watch the water move, and see the smoke rise from below, creating quite a meditative state that you leave this space feeling very refreshed and rejuvenated.
‘The calm amidst chaos garden’ was a great garden to demonstrate how many people feel overwhelmed and lost in the mess of our busy, rushed lives of this modern age, and showing the calm, safe peaceful place within that gardens and green spaces can create, for relaxing, exercise or meditation, which help to tackle the chaos on the outside.
‘The foraging garden’ demonstrating how many herbs and vegetables can be grown on a tiny space of land or in your back garden which can be incorporated into your cooking and baking.
All of the gardens at the show displayed just how many simple ideas could be easily incorporated in to the small spaces we live, the public areas we spend our time in and our current busy lives. It was exciting to see the mindset of the general public changing and wanting to incorporate healthier choices and activities into their lives, as well as the organisers understanding the importance of sharing a message in such at such a public event.
If you would like any advice on small steps and actions which could be taken towards a healthier holistic health and wellness lifestyle, feel free to contact me!
mark diacono - https://www.otterfarm.co.uk/