The RHS London Shows are fantastic celebrations of horticulture throughout the year, bringing gardening to the City. Themed or sometimes focusing on individual plants, they have grown in number from five shows to 13 in 2014.
An important member benefit (most are free), they are also a great way to inspire the next generation in horticulture through a full calendar of food and eating festivals to more specialist monograph shows (all about one plant).
The Plant and Potato Fair in February will be a great opportunity to see grand displays and pick up early spring plants. Experience potatoes through science and art by learning the methods behind growing potatoes while perusing mash sculpture and potato prints. The Botanical Art Show, later in the month, will display some of the world's best botanical art, from both UK and international artists.
April brings a flurry of London shows. The Great London Plant Fair will celebrate all things spring, featuring a focus on new, creative designs for front gardens. There will be an element of ‘English gardens’ throughout and by evening the show will become an English garden party. The European Orchid Show and Conference will show off the UK’s on-going passion for orchids, featuring spectacular and interesting displays, unusual and more common orchids and an evening event featuring entertainment, wine and canapés. Towards the end of April the Alpine Garden Show will be an homage to the wonder of alpine plants, mountains and plant hunting through a talks programme and the way the show will be dressed.
Even those that are not huge fans of the rose might well eagerly await May and this brand new show from the RHS – the RHS London Rose Show. This show follows on from the popularity of other specialist shows such as the orchid and alpine shows. The RHS decided to continue this style with one of the UK’s most popular blooms. Paying tribute to the rose, there will be displays of roses as well as more unusual features such as the rose ‘scent tasting’ (where visitors can enjoy and choose though the experience of their scent and potency of fragrance), the rose in art and literature as well as delicious rose-themed foods and drinks on offer.
October will be dominated by two of my favourite shows: the autumn shows, Harvest Festival and Shades of Autumn. The former will be a celebration of the tastes, foods and drinks of autumn time. Traditional veg competitions and food, under the harvest themes of food saving and sharing, will be on offer. The evening event will include brewing, orchard folklore, feasting and music. Shades of Autumn will be as striking as ever as displays of autumn colour fill the RHS’s London halls. A one-of-a-kind event from CityScapes will be on show too, depicting the whole of RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2015 through time-lapse films and sound bites.
And throughout the year, weaved between these shows will be the Secret Garden Sundays. Five in total, two in a central London location yet to be decided, they will engage with more visitors and encourage us to grow, eat and celebrate the best seasonal produce and gardening throughout 2015.
So, the phrase ‘RHS Shows’ doesn’t just refer to the large ones like Chelsea and Hampton Court – there is plenty to enjoy throughout the year at our London HQ.