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Conceptual Lust Garden by Rachel Parker Soden

RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show 2014
Designer Rachel Parker Soden
Contractor Burnham Landscaping
Lust Garden in the Inspire Zone
Site No. IN10
Conceptual Garden


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Sinful Gardens at Hampton Court Palace Flower Show

Lust Concept Garden Image June 2014

This year’s RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show sees the Conceptual Gardens take on a dark twist – each of the seven gardens are themed around one of the seven deadly sins. The Conceptual Gardens at Hampton Court are often thought-provoking, inspiring and sometimes controversial – and this year looks no different.

Lust, is a provocative yet playful garden designed by Rachel Parker Soden, inspired by a memorable scene in the 1987 film ‘Withnail and I’, a favourite of the designer.

Flowers are essentially tarts, prostitutes for the bees.”
Uncle Monty, Withnail & I (1987)


In an exploration of the relationship between plant sex and human sex, by contrasting our appreciation of the beauty of plants with the function of flowers to propagate their own species, the garden is re-contextualised as a brothel in its own red light district where the visitor is a voyeur on the sex lives of plants.

The central feature is a glass room, approached by crossing a canal along cobbled paths. The glasshouse glows, showcasing provocative plants that represent lust in an anthropomorphic fashion. The surrounding garden frames the glasshouse in its setting and features plants with evocative scents and plants that have been used, historically, to aid humans in their carnal relationships.

Rachel explains, ‘Plants have developed attractive qualities of beauty and fragrance, of course not for our benefit – the principal purpose of a flower is reproduction – and yet there is a time old relationship between plants and human sex. Long before it was known that plants had a sex life of their own, they have played a symbolic role in our relations, even in the most primitive civilisations, the appearance and scent of plants have led to their use as aphrodisiacs, tokens of courtship, talismans and features of rituals such as wedding ceremonies. Reversely, our desire and lust for beautiful flowers and plants puts us in the pollinator role, the demand for more leading to an increase in propagation.’

‘…in gardens beauty is a by-product. The main business is sex and death…’ Sam Llewellyn, The Sea Garden


Rachel Parker Soden Design
Rachel is an award-winning Surrey-based garden designer, creating unique and beautiful yet practical external spaces that enhance lifestyles, for both private and commercial clients. Based near Hampton Court, the design studio is ideally placed to reach London, the Home Counties and beyond.

RHS – Highly Commended and Winner of Best Small Show Feature Award
The Bee Garden, Hampton Court Palace Flower Show 2013
KLC – Marcus Barnett Award for Design and Creativity 2012
KLC – Conceptual Garden Project Award

We are pleased to announce that Surrey-based Burnham Landscaping will be the contractor for the garden build, following on from their previous two years success at the Hampton Court Palace Flower Show www.burnhamlandscapingltd.co.uk. We will also be working with key contributors, Hartley Botanic, who will be supplying the beautifully crafted glasshouse, and London Stone, who will be supplying our stone for the garden.

For all media and image enquiries please contact Rachel on the above phone number or email address.