1 Apr 2016

Extravaganza! The RHS Spring Plant and Orchid Show

I have a thing for automata and this one was on show at the RHS halls in February

While I often hanker for the country life, living in London does have its occasional perks. One such is coming up over the next two days with the second of the RHS spring shows - this one is billed as a Spring Plant Extravaganza and includes the RHS Orchid show. There will be talks throughout both days and there's also a sneak peek at the show garden being built for RHS Tatton Park by the Young Designer of the Year. Wowzer!

It's wonderful that the RHS puts on these shows because, no matter what the weather outside, visitors can be cozy and warm indoors, drooling over a selection of the most beautiful plants and getting advice from experienced nurseries and growers. Not to be missed, especially if you have a bit of cash to spend.

This is not to say that non-London folk will be overlooked as it's only a couple of weeks before the RHS spring show in Cardiff, followed by Malvern at the beginning of May and Chelsea (whoop whoop) just three weeks after that. * By which time it will be almost summer.  So, plenty to entertain us while waiting for our seeds to grow.

I can't get to this weekend's show (gardening deadlines to meet) but I did make it to the earlier show in February. I went because I knew that Pennard Plants would, as usual, be there with their enormous A-Z selection of seed potatoes plus I needed some more Polka raspberries from them - and why pay postage? I also wanted to pick up some baby chilli plants from the very reliable Sea Spring Seeds; my home-sown chilli plants matured very late last year, giving me just the one fruit, and then died overwinter. I knew that I could pick up healthy little plants at the show and these are now growing steadily on my kitchen windowsill - sorted! Sea Spring also sell an awesome selection of seeds if you want to grow your own salad leaves, tomatoes and chillies, including the infamous Dorset Naga, one of the hottest chillies available - but I think I'll stick to the salad leaves.

Having made my purchases (including some Heritage tomato seeds, again from Pennard, and some more gardening gloves), I was free to wander around the show drinking in the buzz and excitement of gardeners embracing a new gardening year. It's part of the fun, knowing you're among like-minded passionate gardeners and there were plenty of impromptu chats among visitors. There were the usual award winning displays of snowdrops, primulas, hepaticas and iris reticulata (all heart-stoppingly beautiful) but, hey, that was February, we've moved on since then.  For a taste of what might be found in today's show,  photos in the collage below were taken at last year's spring show.



With so many nurseries and trade stands here, there's always the possibility of picking up a really exciting new plant.  I bought the glorious Geum 'Totally Tangerine' from Hardy's Garden Plants here a couple of years ago, the same plant that was all over Chelsea flower show that year. Hardy's are fantastic at putting together stunning and inspirational plant combinations in their exhibit - in fact, Rosy Hardy has a show garden at Chelsea this year.  How do I know that?  The RHS had put on a large display of the drawings and plans for this year's Chelsea gardens in one of the halls and it looks like it's going to be a corker.  More about this in a later post.

So please go along to the show if you can - I want to read about it! The show is on today and tomorrow (1st + 2nd April,  10-5 pm).  Venue is the RHS Halls in Westminster (Victoria or Pimlico tube stations) and there's a cafĂ© on site.

Totally Tangerine - how could I resist?


* The Harlow Carr flower show is in June, Tatton Park in July and Hyde Hall is in August.  Check out the RHS Events page for more info.

9 comments:

  1. A most enjoyable post, and lovely pictures. Have a good weekend. Flighty xx

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    1. Thank you, Flighty - you too. I'm making the most of the good weather to drastically reduce the hedge around the new garden space that I'm renovating.

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  2. Oh splendid shades of Heath Robinson there Caro. Guess where himself and I are off to tomorrow? Will try to report back soon.

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    1. Hurrah! I hope you have time to post about it Anna. What a shame I'm busy this weekend, it would have been the perfect opportunity to meet up! The automata did make me chuckle - I love the idea of drinking tea while cycling so that the garden is trimmed and pruned without too much effort! :o)

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  3. I love the automata! And Totally Tangerine is a fabulous plant, it does well here so I am spreading it around. I've n not made it to a show for years now, but they are wonderful, for inspiration and new plants. I need some chilli plug plants, may have to take a look at the Sea Springs website, though I know I am late this year.

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    1. I first saw (and was fascinated by) automata in Covent Garden many years ago - there was a permanent exhibition there but they were unable to compete with fashion brands when the rents went up (as is happening in so many areas in London). I'm always happy to recommend Sea Spring as I've found their seeds and plug plants are of excellent quality. I grew Fairy Lights a few years ago from a plug - it became the most beautiful chilli bush ever with yellow, red and purple chilli growing upright like candle flames! I've just checked and they send out large plugs at the end of April so plenty of time yet!

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  4. I managed the February show - I love that one - it kicks off the year brilliantly. I particularly enjoyed the display of plans for Chelsea gardens. Unfortunately I missed this last show, so like you, I look forward to reading up on it.

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    1. I always look forward to the February show, for me it signifies an end to winter - as well as the potential for lots of new plants. I don't remember seeing Chelsea plans in previous years (is this a new innovation or just me not noticing before?) but am thrilled to have had a preview - there are some very exciting gardens this year!

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  5. It must be wonderful to have so many gardens shows so close to hand. It's a long journey from here but at least we can enjoy seeing views of it from other blog posts! I would get very tempted, happily Pennard Plants and Sea Spring seeds are on my door step and we always but seeds from both of them! We have also had fun doing tomato and lettuce tasting with Sea Spring seeds in the past. Sarah x

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Comments on my posts are much appreciated and help to build an online community of blog friends. Everyone is welcome! I love to discover new blogs so please leave a comment to introduce yourself.
Caro x

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