The show goes on at Partner Gardens
The RHS Chelsea Flower Show (22-26 May) wowed visitors with world-class show gardens inspired by themes as diverse as Italian villas, the Arts & Crafts movement and plant hunters. The show may be over, but you can explore these themes further at an RHS Partner Garden - don't forget, RHS members get free entry at selected times (check the RHS Members' Handbook for details).
Celebrating Furzey Gardens
Chris Beardshaw's gold-medal winning show garden celebrated the 90th anniversary of Furzey Gardens in Hampshire and the achievements of its learning disability team.
RHS members can visit Furzey Gardens free of charge throughout the open period (March - October). The rhododendron collection reaches a peak in May, forming spectacular banks of colour. Look for Rhododendron Obtusum Group 'Hinomayo', the Emperor of Japan's pink azalea.
This year, a number of show gardens - including The APCO Garden and The Arthritis Research UK Garden - took their inspiration from the gardens of Italy. You don't need to pack your passport to enjoy Italianate gardens - you can find fine examples at Compton Acres (pictured), The Trentham Estate, Borde Hill Garden and Dyffryn Gardens.
Gardens of a golden age
The M&G Garden, designed by Andy Sturgeon, paid homage to the much-loved Arts and Crafts movement. To enjoy more gardens in the Arts and Crafts style, plan a visit to Coleton Fishacre (pictured), Cottesbrooke Hall, Hestercombe Gardens or Kingston Maurward Gardens. These are all outstanding examples of the style, featuring natural materials, soft, unrestrained plantings and garden 'rooms'.
In the footsteps of the plant hunters
The Plant Explorer's Garden depicted the garden of a young plant explorer who spends most of his time travelling, researching and collecting plants of interest.
A number of RHS Partner Gardens have special associations with the great 19th-century plant hunters. You can follow in their footsteps at Scone Palace, home to a Douglas fir planted from the original seed collected by David Douglas in 1825.
Branklyn Garden near Perth was begun using seeds wild-collected by plant collectors such as Forrest, Rock, Ludlow and Sherriff - May is a good time to see the striking collection of Meconopsis (Himalayan poppy; pictured). The fine collections of trees and shrubs at Hergest Croft Gardens include many purchased from Veitch’s Nursery, sponsors of prolific plant hunter Ernest Wilson.
Find more RHS Partner Gardens to visit