Disney's The Lion King - Designs for the Circle of Life garden. Production photo by Deen van Meer

Disney’s The Lion King to celebrate 25th birthday with RHS Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival community garden

This summer, hit West End musical Disney’s The Lion King will present a community garden at RHS Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival.

“The Circle of Life” garden will celebrate 25 years of the award-winning West End musical, which first opened at the Lyceum Theatre on 19 October 1999.

More than 19 million people have seen The Lion King in London, with every performance needing 150 people to put on the show, including 50 on stage and 100 backstage, along with 232 puppets and 350 costumes.

“The Circle of Life” garden will take place at the Royal Horticultural Society’s annual Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival from 2 to 7 July 2024, and feature rousing live performances and interactive activities throughout the week.

The garden will be designed by leading garden designer Juliet Sargeant, and filled with vibrant, drought-tolerant flowers, to reflect the bright colours of Julie Taymor’s design, and dusty red soil will be planted with swathes of resilient grasses to reflect the Pridelands. It will be surrounded by a wildlife-friendly dry hedge, to create a traditional Boma providing a communal meeting place for visitors to enjoy. The ‘Circle of Life’ will be echoed throughout the garden, creating balance and harmony, whilst a large silk ‘sunrise’ will provide a colourful and theatrical boundary focal point.

Climate resilient plants and trees such as Bulbinella frutescens ‘Sunset Orange, ‘Zanthoxyllum simulans (Szechuan pepper), Kniphofia varieties, Zelkova serrata, Savannah Ruby Grass, and Gleditsia Skyline (Honey Locust) will offer practical, drought-tolerant take-home ideas for show visitors to plant in their own outdoor spaces.

The designer of The Lion King garden, Juliet Sargeant, said in a statement: “The Circle of Life” is a great theme for a garden-maker! I am having such fun, working with the talented Lion King team to create a colourful and stimulating space for Lion King fans to celebrate 25 years of the iconic West End show. The parched landscape of the African savanna is a continuous backdrop to the drama on stage and it has provided me with an inspirational well-spring, from which to create a drought-tolerant garden with practical ideas for people to take home.”

The role of Scar in the West End has been played by George Asprey for 16 years, and as a keen amateur gardener, he said: “I find gardening gives you such a strong connection to nature and the seasons: what to sow in different soil types and when to sow it. I find I’m much more aware of the changing cycles around me – not just in my garden, but also when I go on walks, or even when I notice the trees around town. My garden is a place I can truly lose myself, a relief from the stress and strains of the modern world. I hope this garden at Hampton Court offers visitors the same respite. During lockdown when the theatres closed, I joined a lawn care company. The work was hard and the hours were long, but I loved it. Creating beautiful spaces and maintaining them gave me a huge sense of pride; it was a time I will never forget. The Lion King at its heart is about respect for nature’s equilibrium and existing in harmony within it.”

Disney’s The Lion King is now booking at the Lyceum Theatre to 19 October 2024.

Book tickets to Disney’s The Lion King in London

The Lion King

Lyceum Theatre, 

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👤 📅7 April 2024
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📷 Main photo: Disney's The Lion King - Designs for the Circle of Life garden. Production photo by Deen van Meer

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