Garden Shows

Garden Shows and Show Gardens

It’s the garden shows season and the Royal Horticultural Society, North of England Horticultural Society, Gardeners World and Gardens Illustrated are all holding shows in England. In Scotland, Rural Projects stage Gardening Scotland in early June.

Picture by Mark Waugh / RHS
Picture by Mark Waugh / RHS

Throughout the season, organisers make a real effort to keep the emphasis on horticulture. Lifestyle, food and craft shopping are an essential feature for many visitors but the heart of every show relies, for its integrity, on our independent nurseries: Hartside Nurseries at Harrogate or Dysons Salvias at RHS Hampton Court Flower Show for instance.

RHS Chatsworth

This year there is a new show: The RHS Chatsworth Flower Show sponsored by Wedgwood.

Picture by Mark Waugh / RHS
Picture by Mark Waugh / RHS

For many tourist attractions, our gardens included, Chatsworth sets the gold standard for tourists and visitors seeking an excellent customer experience. I love porcelain and bone china and, of course, I am potty about plants so this was a dream combination for me.

Wedgwood tearoom at RHS Chatsworth
Wedgwood tearoom at RHS Chatsworth

Despite the teething problems (traffic, dealing with the extremes of british weather and untested structures,) this new show ought to become a firm fixture in the show calendar. It was a sell out, the setting was unbeatable and some big names featured in the exhibitors and show garden areas.

Trends in Show Gardens

The trend seen at RHS Chelsea continued at Chatsworth; stylised recreations of pastures, uplands and shady copses were everywhere. This is great news for us as it is a style of gardening that we embrace. It’s wild gardening in the best sense. It is floral, creates complex tapestries that take a while to look at and take in and, crucially, it also encourages the small things to thrive in the garden.

Picture by Mark Waugh / RHS
Jo Thompson’s beautiful garden at RHS Chatsworth. Picture by Mark Waugh / RHS

‘Natural gardens’ like these create a peaceful atmosphere, increased birdsong and, with so much wild activity, they encourage the visitor or gardener to feel they are part of something and not merely an observer. Chemicals, in most cases, become unnecessary. It’s not a low maintenance option and hand weeding is essential from early spring until mid july. It’s good to see the RHS and garden designers helping to explain to some garden visitors that wild flowers are not ‘weeds’.

June in the Cedar Meadow at Easton Walled Gardens
June in the Cedar Meadow at Easton Walled Gardens
Dahlias and grasses in the cutflower garden or Pickery at Easton Walled Gardens
Dahlias and grasses in the cutflower garden or Pickery at Easton Walled Gardens
The rose meadow at Easton Walled Gardens
Rose meadows at Easton Walled Gardens