Designer hopes for hat-trick at RHS Hampton

Award-winning garden designer Tom Simpson has joined forces with Cancer Research UK to create a stunning show garden at RHS Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival, (6th – 11th July, 2021) highlighting the importance of gifts in wills to progress and breakthroughs in cancer research.

Tom was awarded an RHS Gold Medal in 2018 and again in 2019 when his Cancer Research UK ‘Pledge Pathway to Progress’ garden also won the People’s Choice Award and Best Construction. Tom hopes that his 2021 ‘Legacy Garden’ will enable him to win a third consecutive gold.

The RHS Hampton Court Garden will be the first of four gardens the charity is exhibiting at RHS events across 2021 and 2022.

Each garden designer has been given an identical brief, to create an immersive, contemplative space symbolising how leaving a gift in a will to Cancer Research UK ensures research can continue to save lives for generations to come. The charity has been at the heart of the progress that has already seen survival in the UK double in the last 40 years. Today 2 in 4 people survive their cancer for at least 10 years. Cancer Research UK’s ambition is to accelerate progress so that by 2034, 3 in 4 people will survive their cancer for at least 10 years.

Tom’s design is in the form of two interlinked circles to create an infinity symbol. A serpentine water feature flows through the garden, the source and end of which are both obscured from view. These features represent the continuity and everlasting progress of cancer research.

At the heart of the garden, where the two halves of the infinity symbol intersect, lies a curved boardwalk engraved with a personal message from a supporter who has pledged a gift in their will to Cancer Research UK. Nestled within the planting, providing a peaceful place to relax and watch the water, there is a sunken paved terrace where visitors can enjoy a quiet moment of reflection.

Tom (pictured left) will be using a rich tapestry of bold drifts of flowering plants and a strong matrix of grasses in his planting scheme, creating a colourful and textural sensory experience as visitors move through the garden. The core colours are the purples and pinks associated with the Cancer Research UK logo, including Salvia ‘Amethyst’ and Veronicastrum f.roseum ‘Pink Glow’. These will be accented with zesty lime greens and pops of yellow.

Tom points out that it is such an honour to be selected once again to work with Cancer Research UK and be tasked with bringing to life an incredibly important message: “One in two of us will get cancer, but all of us can support the research that will beat it. I wanted to showcase my own personal appreciation of those who have pledged gifts in their wills, which fund over a third of Cancer Research UK’s life-saving work. The garden’s figure of eight infinity shape, the never-ending water feature and personal engraving from an existing pledger, felt like really powerful ways to highlight how these gifts keep on giving,” he says.

Several companies are supporting the garden, donating materials and time in its development, including Tom, Atelier Vierkant, Majestic Trees and Rosebank Landscaping.

You can find out more about the garden by visiting:  

Picture credit: Image of garden ©Tom Simpson