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Home > Gardening News >

Putting on a Show (Win Tickets)


Many years ago, in the early days of the plant nursery as we know it, there was no such thing as a printed colour catalogue. If a grower wanted to display the plants on sale, it was necessary to plant them where potential buyers could see them growing. One of the earliest was at Waterer’s Walk in Knaphill, Surrey, where locally-grown Rhododendrons and Azaleas were grown to mature perfection and a buyer could walk along the length of the selection, making notes on which to order.

This was only really useful for the limited number of buyers who could travel to the nursery, so the idea of a show where multiple growers could all showcase their plants was born. All the plants at the show would be at their absolute peak in order to be the most tempting and a new art of growing was developed, using cold stores and greenhouses to manipulate each plant into flower at exactly the right time.

The RHS Chelsea Flower Show was the “best of the best”. It was the ultimate goal for the growers, falling in May when many plants were at their best and others could be coaxed or held back.

Now, with catalogues and the internet, this is all less important and shows like Chelsea have veered towards design at the expense of the growers’ art.

From spring to autumn, there will be a garden show somewhere every weekend, whether it is a large national one or a local one on the village green. Best blooms are primped and prepared for the ruthless judging process, prized plants are cleaned and tidied and there is fierce competition for the silverware.

Many shows have a long tradition and are an integral part of life, others are new and aimed at the next generation who are bringing a different approach to growing that suits their background or situation.

Charlotte Daubney with an excellent display from Taylors Bulbs at this year's Harrogate Flower Show.

For the gardener, shows are a way to meet the growers who still sell plants to the public in this way. No-one is better placed to answer questions about a plant than the person who grows them for a living.

It’s also the only way to find the unusual plants that are only grown in small numbers by specialists. All too often, garden centres all buy the same plants from the same suppliers, so the only variable is the price. If you have a particular favourite group or type of plants, this is the very best way to expand your collection!

Competition & offers

We have a pair of tickets worth £56 to give away for the BBC Gardener’s World Live Show at the NEC Birmingham on Sunday 16th June. For a chance to win, Click Here

Tickets are non-refundable, non-exchangeable and non-transferable, and do not include travel, accommodation or expenses. There is no cash alternative. Details of giveaway and prize correct at time of print.

Full Terms and Conditions

We can also offer discount codes for tickets: 

GARDENS20: 20% off standard adult/concession entry tickets (excl. Saturday) expires 9th May 2024
GARDENS15: 15% off standard adult/concession entry tickets (excl. Saturday) expires 6th June 2024

Latest News from garden.help

This story was published on: 03/05/2024

Image attribution: Val Bradley

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