‘The Tram Drivers’ Retreat’ wows at RHS Hampton Court

July 7, 2022

Southend-on-Sea’s allotment at the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Festival is wowing festivalgoers and receiving plenty of positive comments following the press and member launch on Monday 4 July.

‘The Tram Drivers' Retreat’ is the 12th garden that the council has submitted to the world-renowned flower festival and its design reflects Southend-on-Sea’s strong horticultural links, with over 77 acres of park land across the City. The garden also pays tribute to Sir David Amess, with a mini model tram that features in the garden being named after Sir David, as with our new electric pier train. The tram is made entirely of repurposed materials and around 95% of the garden features repurposed/recycled materials; even most of the plants have been taken from our Parks Nursery or rescued from other local areas.

The garden is in the allotment category and will be on show all week. At the launch yesterday (Monday 4 July), the garden was enticing visitors early on with its brightly coloured hydrangeas and interesting array of plants. One passer-by said: “It’s an absolutely beautiful garden. A very fitting tribute to Sir David.”

Another onlooker was blown away by the incredible use of space. Her daughter recently purchased a property with a small garden and the onlooker said: “It’s very simple but very beautiful. It’s an amazing use of space and I can’t wait to show the pictures I’ve taken to my daughter to give her some ideas of what can be done in a small space.”

Comedian and presenter Tom Allen also stopped by on the day and spent some time speaking with garden designer and youth offending officer, Tony Wagstaff, about hydrangeas and how to get the best out of them. Posting a picture of himself and Tony on his Instagram story, Tom said: “I learned a lot about hydrangeas from this nice man from the Tram Drivers’ Retreat in Southend-on-Sea!”

Cllr Laurie Burton, cabinet member for children and learning, said: “Each year, the council’s youth offending team create breathtakingly spectacular gardens for the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Festival and this year is no different. The garden pays fitting tribute to Sir David Amess, who did so much for Southend-on-Sea.

“The young people involved in the project have worked incredibly hard to create something truly special and I would like to thank them and our staff for the work they have done on this garden. With the garden being made up almost entirely of recycled materials, it also reflects the council’s ambition of becoming carbon neutral by 2030.”

You can find out more about the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Festival by visiting www.rhs.org.uk.


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