The one garden plant Juliet Sargeant is hoping to bring back into fashion

the lion king anniversary garden designed by juliet sergeant
The resurgence of the red hot poker?RHS / Sarah Cuttle

Juliet Seargant's The Lion King 25th Anniversary Community Garden at the RHS Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival 2024 has been the talk of this year's show after scooping the Best Show Garden and the Environmental Innovation Award.

The garden echoes the stage production of The Lion King in London's West End, with a large sun forming the backdrop, African dashiki fabrics and antelope sculptures. Also central to Juliet's garden is a striking yellow and orange colour palette of resilient plants – and one plant in particular has piqued interest.

'The ones that are getting a lot of attention are the red hot pokers,' award-winning garden designer Juliet tells House Beautiful. 'They're sort of tall spires of vibrant colour. I remember them from when I was a child, but they have slightly gone out of fashion, so I'm on a mission to bring them back into fashion because they're a really great low-maintenance, climate-resilient plant.'

the lion king anniversary garden designed by juliet sergeant
Juliet SargeantRHS / Sarah Cuttle

With tall dense spikes, red hot poker (Latin name: Kniphofia) flowers from March to November and is described by the RHS as a 'rewarding and often long-lived garden plant'. Easy to grow (full sun with fertile, well-drained soil), these hardy flowers are distinctively-shaped, and colours can range from fiery red and orange through to yellow, green and even brown and pink.

Best of all, the red hot poker can work in small gardens, too. Opt for narrow-leaved cultivars such as ‘Bees' Sunset’, which grow well in pots and containers.

Want to get the exact look? Juliet planted Kniphofia 'Alcazar' in the Lion King Garden. Creating a warm tone to garden borders, the flowers stand at 1.5m on sturdy bronze stems and will attract butterflies and birds into the garden. They're also ideal as a cut flower plant to create unique floral displays in the home.

lion king garden rhs hampton 2024
Juliet’s Lion King GardenAlister Thorpe

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