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10 of the Best UK Flower Shows You Simply Must See

With gorgeous blooms, fabulous show gardens, and the occasional glimpse of a Royal, the UK's garden shows are the envy of the world. So, if you're planning to visit the UK this summer, here are 10 of the best flower shows you simply must see.

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FlowerBilly Stock/Shutterstock

RHS Flower Show, Cardiff

When: 12 – 14 April

Where: Bute Park, Cardiff Castle, lovely grounds situated in the shadow of the historic Cardiff Castle, a medieval castle rumored to be haunted by a ghost!

Buy tickets from the RHS

What makes it special?

The RHS Flower Show Cardiff is the crown of Welsh gardening events. Hosted in the Welsh capital city Cardiff, the show makes the best of spring blooms, especially the daffodil which is the national emblem of Wales. This show is also famous for featuring an annual schools competition where pupils compete to produce the best show in a wheelbarrow.

New for 2019

A new category of Show Garden is making its debut this year. Blossoming Beds is open to community groups, and encourages imaginative bed and border plantings.

The Master Grower for the 2019 show is Scamp’s Daffodils who will be mounting a display and a woodland walk.

Attractions

Show Gardens: These include the Regeneration Gardens, designed around the theme of making gardening more affordable.

Floristry Marquee: Introduced last year to highlight the delights of flower arranging.

Floral Marquee: Plant nurseries from countrywide will be displaying their blooms.

Talks & Demonstrations: Expert advice from experienced gardeners.

Plant Village: Buy your own plants to take home.

Regional Food and Drink: Enjoy the best of Welsh cuisine.

Regional Arts and Crafts: Local crafters will be selling their wares.

You may not want to plant up a wheelbarrow, but container gardening is a popular way to display the finest flowers. Here are the 10 best plants for container gardens.

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gardenchanchai plongern/Shutterstock

Harrogate Spring Flower Show, Yorkshire


When: 25 – 28 April

Where: Great Yorkshire Showground

Buy tickets from the Harrogate Flower Show

What makes it special?

Run by North of England Horticultural Society, the Harrogate Spring Flower Show is famed country-wide for its high standards and a fantastic variety of events. In particular, it’s known for being the UK’s premier event for floral art and floristry, with over 150 individual displays. The theme for 2019 is, with the British tongue firmly in cheek, the weather! Other floral art themes include Urban, Pret-a-Porter and Upcycled Chic.

New for 2019

The Square Yards mini-show sees experts vying to squeeze as much interest into a small space as possible. And the Kerb (Curb) Appeal display is an urban garden competition using blank walls to showcase floral displays. The exact designs are still under wraps, but it’s rumored they could include street art, graffiti, urban containers and more.

If you’re thinking of selling your house, check out our simple creative ideas for enhancing your own curb appeal.

Attractions

Show Gardens: These are displayed along The Avenue.

Plant Nursery Pavilion: The best and most beautiful plants that growers have to offer.

GROW! Garden Theatre: The home of talks and demonstrations.

Feast! Food Theatre: Once you’ve grown it, see how to cook it.

The Pod: A host of garden-related activities for kids.

Plant Sales: From plants to pergolas, everything is here.

Crafts and Gifts: Local crafters displaying fantastic hand-made gifts.

Food and Drink: Specialist and artisan delicacies of every kind.

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FloralMafili/Shutterstock

RHS Malvern Spring Festival, Worcestershire


When: 9 – 12 May

Where: Three Counties Showground, Malvern

Buy tickets from the RHS

What makes it special?

Nestled in the shadow of the sweeping Malvern Hills (an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty), the RHS Spring Festival Malvern is not to be missed. Unlike some of the other shows, RHS Malvern allows its show garden designers free rein with their theme, resulting in some truly innovative and unusual designs. The Green Living Spaces section specializes in ideas for small spaces, such as vertical planting, making it great for those with a postage-stamp size garden.

New for 2019

At this year’s show, the RHS is marking the 180th anniversary of the silver-halide photography process, with many exhibits exploring this theme. The ever-popular Floral Marquee will have a new section devoted to the wonderful world of houseplants. Perhaps they’ll include some hardy houseplants you literally can’t kill, like these!

And the Master Grower for 2019 is Mendip Bonsai who will be showcasing some of their unbelievable miniature trees.

Attractions

Show Gardens: No overarching theme, so expect something unusual!

Floral Marquee: An outstanding range of nurseries and plant growers.

Talks and Demonstrations: Expert advice on gardening and cooking.

There will also be the usual range of plant stores, food and drink outlets and entertainment.

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display Natalya Vestigio Services/Shutterstock

Royal Horticultural Society Chelsea Flower Show, London


When: 21 – 25 May

Where: The Royal Hospital, Chelsea, home to the famous red-coated army veterans known as the Chelsea Pensioners

Buy tickets from the RHS

What makes it special?

The RHS Chelsea Flower Show is the premier event in the British horticultural calendar. First held in 1833 (as The Great Spring Show), it moved to the Royal Hospital in 1912, and tickets are much coveted. The venue can only accommodate 157,000 visitors over the week, due to its location. Several members of the British royal family, including Her Majesty The Queen, visit the show.

New for 2019

This year the Duchess of Cambridge has co-designed a show garden titled Back to Nature. All RHS shows in 2019 are focusing on the benefits to health and well-being that horticulture brings.

Attractions

Show Gardens: These are the heart of Chelsea, where designers compete for a prized Gold Medal. Designed by businesses and non-profits, they range from the traditional to the ultra-contemporary and are always stunning.

Urban and Artisan Gardens: Also in the running for a medal, these smaller gardens are just as exquisite in their design.

Floral Marquee: Packed with eye-catching displays of flower and vegetables.

There are also opportunities to buy plants and accessories, and delicious food and drink.

Planning a show garden for Chelsea is considered the pinnacle of a designer’s career. If you’re planning your own garden, here’s how to design your best garden ever.

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Perennialseaonweb/Shutterstock

Gardening Scotland, Edinburgh


When: 31 May 2 June

Where: Royal Highland Centre Edinburgh

Buy tickets from Gardening Scotland

What makes it special?

With more than 400 exhibitors, Gardening Scotland can justly be called Scotland’s premier gardening event. This show features specialties like a Bonsai exhibition, a food fair and competitions by the Scottish Women’s Institutes to find the best window box, decorated flower pot and cupcakes. Gardening Scotland also has the Big Back Garden, a showcase for wildlife gardening with experts on hand to show you how to do it yourself. And, the Pallet Garden event is enduringly popular. It’s a competition for schools and gardening clubs for the best garden planted in a one-meter square pallet.

If you like the idea of recycling pallets, here’s what you need to consider before getting started.

Attractions

Show Gardens: Some of these eye-catching designs are truly inspirational.

Floral Art: A host of floral art societies combine to make a superb display of different forms of floral art.

Plant and Food Theaters: The place to go for expert talks and demonstrations.

Craft Marquee: See some of the local crafters and indulge in a gift or two.

The musical entertainment has a regional flair (bagpipes, anyone?), and of course, the very best of Scottish food and drink is available to sample.

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ChatsworthDebu55y/Shutterstock

RHS Chatsworth Flower Show, Derbyshire

When: 5 – 9 June

Where: Chatsworth House, a stately home with gardens landscaped by Capability Brown and the location for Pemberley in the 1995 BBC production of Pride & Prejudice.

Buy tickets from the RHS

What makes it special?

It’s hard to think of a more stunning location for the RHS Chatsworth Flower Show. With an imposing house, glorious gardens and amazing surrounding countryside, Chatsworth House has it all.

New for 2019

This year, RHS Chatsworth is hosting a new category of Show Garden for amateur designers and organized by local BBC radio stations. The three finalists were selected because their garden truly reflected the characteristics of their local area. And this year’s Master Grower is Pennard Plants, a company specializing in heritage vegetable and flower seeds. If you’re short on space, here are some vegetable varieties that grow well in pots.

Attractions

Show Gardens: As with the other RHS shows, the Show Garden designers are aiming for a coveted RHS Gold Medal, and perhaps the honor of being chosen as “Best in Show.”

Floral Marquee: A place to wander among dozens of varieties of fruit, flowers and vegetables.

Plant Village: Buy something for your own little piece of heaven.

Workshops: Learn new techniques for yourself.

Gift and Craft Shops: Local artisan arts and crafts.

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clematisMaximum Exposure PR/Shutterstock

BBC Gardeners’ World Live, Birmingham


When: 13 – 16 June

Where: The National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham

Buy tickets from BBC Gardeners’ World Live

What makes it special?

BBC Gardeners’ World is one of the country’s most popular gardening TV programs and the presenters are household names. BBC Gardeners’ World Live is like an interactive version of the program. As well as the usual elements of a flower show, this one hosts the finalists for Young Landscaper of the Year. And, you also get free entry to the BBC Good Food Show that’s running concurrently at the NEC.

The Beautiful Border competition is unique to this show, emphasizing ideas for using very small spaces, such as bug hotels or packed vegetable plots. (If you want some inspiration for your borders, have a look at these fabulous, inspiring options).

New for 2019

As well as an ever-popular wheelbarrow-planting competition, this year the show is running a competition for kindergartens to plant up and maintain a flower display in a teapot. One of the conditions of entry is that the pot must be offered to a local care home after the event.

Attractions

Show Gardens: Outstanding garden ideas from some of the UK’s top designers.

Show Allotments: An allotment is a small patch of rented land in a shared community garden, usually used for growing vegetables and fruit. Competition is fierce to be allocated an allotment and you don’t often see them at garden shows.

Live Theatre: A whole range of events hosted by the regular TV presenters. Some are filmed for later showing on the program.

Floral Marquee: The place to see blooms at their best.

Plant Village: Over 100 places to buy plants, and with a plant creche so you don’t have to lug your purchases around the show with you!

Tree Surgery Clinic: Get advice on looking after your trees from experienced tree surgeons.

Plant Pyramids: The perfect way to show off new plant varieties.

Plus, of course, activities for children, opportunities to eat and drink, gift and craft stalls and other entertainment.

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Palace Fulcanelli/Shutterstock

Blenheim Flower Show, Oxfordshire


When: 21 23 June

Where: Blenheim Palace, the magnificent stately home that was the birthplace of Winston Churchill. Its superb gardens were landscaped by Capability Brown.

Buy tickets from the Blenheim Flower Show

What makes it special?

One of the newer shows on the UK horticultural scene, the Blenheim Flower Show was first held in 2012. Once again, the setting for this show is a star attraction. Many people visit Blenheim anyway, simply to look at the beautiful gardens. And there’s also the Pleasure Gardens, aimed at families, where you can explore the maze and the butterfly house or even ride a miniature train.

New for 2019

The theme for this year’s Show Gardens is Regeneration, so designers are focusing on affordability and making the most of sustainable gardening ideas.

Attractions

Grand Floral Pavilion: This is the heart of the show, where you can see a breathtaking display of flowers, fruits and vegetables.

Floral Art Marquee: Wonderful examples of floral art, both traditional and contemporary, as well as workshops and demonstrations.

Talks: Talks on gardening and a Q&A session with TV gardener George Clarke.

Shopping Village: A chance to buy plants, furniture, garden accessories and more.

Food and Drink Pavilion: Local and artisan foods are a specialty.

Gifts, Crafts, and Luxury Goods: Featuring many original handmade items.

Do you like giving experience gifts rather than stuff? Here are 10 experience gifts any DIYer would love.

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grounds Rachelle Burnside/Shutterstock

RHS Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival, Richmond


When: 2 – 7 July

Where: Hampton Court Palace, built by Cardinal Wolsey in 1515 and gifted to Henry VIII in 1529. As well as a stunning palace, there are also landscaped grounds, a chapel and a famous maze.

Buy tickets from the RHS

What makes it special?

The RHS Hampton Court Garden Festival is the largest flower show in the world. First held in 1990, it’s second only to the Chelsea Flower Show in importance and boasts a fantastic show in superb historical surroundings. However, this show has more of a focus on environmental issues and growing your own fruit and vegetables.

New for 2019

Formerly known as the Hampton Court Flower Show, the RHS has adopted a new name this year to reflect a broader range of horticulture.

The Duchess of Cambridge’s co-designed garden will also be on display here and then transferred to its permanent home at RHS Wisley.

The late Beth Chatto is the 2019 Horticultural Champion for her contribution to garden design. Beth famously nurtured her own dry gravel garden focusing on drought-tolerant plants.

Attractions

Show Gardens: A new category of Show Garden for 2019, Global Impact Gardens are designed to provoke thought about global social, economic and environmental issues.

Floral Marquee: Displays of flowers, fruit and vegetables by growers.

Workshops and Demonstrations: See how to improve your own horticultural skills by learning from experts.

You can also enjoy delicious local food and drink and check out the plant sales to take something home for your own garden.

Beth Chatto featured grasses in her designs. It’s worth getting to know these 10 beautiful ornamental grasses for yourself.

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planting Del Boy/Shutterstock

RHS Tatton Park, Cheshire


When: 17 – 21 July

Where: Tatton Park, a 15th-century historic site that contains a beautiful mansion, a manor house, Tatton Old Hall, a farm and a 1,000-acre deer park.

Buy tickets from the RHS

What makes it special?

RHS Tatton Park features finalists in the RHS Young Designer of the Year competition, showcasing gardens by the hottest young talent in garden design. This show also features Back to Back show gardens, deliberately designed on a smaller scale than standard show gardens, making it easier for amateur growers to take inspiration from them.

New for 2019

RHS Tatton Park features Chrysanthemums Direct as its Master Grower for 2019. The company will exhibit at the show and offer expert tips.

Attractions

Show Gardens: Including those by young designers and the Back to Back gardens.

Discover & Grow Marquee: Devoted to vegetables, with experts on hand to showcase new varieties and offer advice to growers.

School Gardens: Mini garden displays from local schools.

Workshops and Demonstrations: On gardening and cooking what you’ve grown.

There are also food and drink stalls and live music to entertain you.

Chrysanthemums are beautiful flowers and very affordable. If you’re gardening on a budget, check out these 10 inexpensive plants that will make your garden pop.

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ChrysanthemumsDavidYoung/Shutterstock

RHS Garden Hyde Hall Flower Show, Essex


When: 31 July 4 August

Where: RHS Garden Hyde Hall

Buy tickets from the RHS

What makes it special?

Held in the height of summer, the RHS Garden Hyde Hall Flower Show is famed for its magnificent showcasing of British summer horticulture at its best. One of the most attractive aspects of this show is that each participating plant nursery plants up a small show bed rather than just a display, letting you see the plants as they might look in your own garden.

Attractions

RHS Hub: Drop in to get expert advice from RHS members on all aspects of gardening.

Plant Societies: Want to know everything about one kind of plant? Then check out the plant society stands.

RHS Garden: As Hyde Hall is an RHS garden, there’s plenty of garden-related delights to explore, as well as the show itself.

Plant Avenue: Browse and treat yourself to that special plant you’ve been dreaming of.

There are also food and drink outlets, craft and gift stalls and live music to keep you entertained all afternoon.

Are you enchanted by mini-gardens? Then marvel at these 15 beautiful fairy gardens created on a tiny scale.

Elizabeth Manneh
Elizabeth is an experienced freelance writer, specializing mainly in digital health & transformation, health & wellness, and education & learning. She's been published on ReadersDigest.com, Paysa.com, The Family Handyman, Huffington Post, Thrive Global, and The Good Men Project. She was also a regular contributor to Love Live Health and Daily Home Remedy. Elizabeth is a retired primary school principal and education consultant, with a continuing passion for education and learning.