Top plants, trends and themes of RHS Tatton Park

From a showground filled with luscious plants, beautiful gardens and creative borders, what were the key take-home trends of 2023?

RHS Letters at RHS Tatton Park 2022
RHS Tatton Park, the North West’s glorious summer flower show, returned with a fabulous display of gardens, as well as Long Borders, Installations and Pocket Beds. It was a show full of ideas and inspiration from some of the country’s best designers that you can try in your garden.

Top 5 plants

1. Agapanthus
2. Daylilies
3. Ferns
4. Echinacea
5. Jasmine

1. Agapanthus

Agapanthus on the RHS Nocturnal Pollinators Garden at RHS Tatton 2023
Towering spheres of Agapanthus were used throughout the showground, but rather than the blue or purple inflorescences that the plant is famous for, at RHS Tatton Park it was white globes which stole the show.

Key qualities: Suitable for borders and large containers, they like full sun and tolerate most soils, but need good drainage.

See it in: RHS Nocturnal Pollinators Experience, Alfresco, Terrace Garden RetreatThe Macmillan Legacy Garden, RHS and MEN Ginnel Garden

2. Daylilies

Hemerocallis 'Be Bop a Lula' on Brickyard garden at RHS Tatton 2023

Hemerocallis were the order of the day at the show, bringing delicate splashes of colour to many of the beds and borders, from the yellow-pink of H. ‘Be Bop a Lula’ in Brickyard to the romantic white of H. ‘Good Shepherd’ in the J. Parker’s Chained to Tech Garden.

Key qualities: Grows in sun or partial shade, in most soil types, repeat flowering through summer.
See it in: Brickyard, J Parker’s Chained to TechRHS Nocturnal Pollinators Experience

3. Ferns
Ferns in the Off the Grid garden at RHS Tatton 2023

Dryopteris featured in most of the gardens at the show, either as a background foil to brighter flowers, as in the Bible Society: Psalm 27 Garden, or mass-planted as the main attraction, as seen in Off the Grid.

Key qualities: Perfect for shade, easy to grow, grows on dry soil.
See it in: Constructing Minds, Off the Grid, Bible Society: Psalm 27 Garden, Elements

4. Echinacea

Echinacea on The Balanced Garden at RHS Tatton 2023
Coneflowers brought a dash of colour to many of the Tatton gardens and borders along with other daisy-form flowers such as Rudbeckia, Erigeron and single dahlias.

Key qualities: Tough perennials, great for pollinators, tolerates dry soil.
See it in: The Balanced Garden, J. Parker’s Chained to Tech, Alfresco, The Macmillan Legacy Garden

5. Jasmine

Jasmine and agapanthus in the RHS and MEN Ginnel Garden at RHS Tatton 2023

The aroma of Trachelospermum jasminoids, aka star jasmine, filled the air at RHS Tatton Park. It could be found scrambling up trellis in every garden category and even squeezed its way into a few Long Borders. With its glossy evergreen leaves, delicate white flowers and of course, delicious scent, the insects love it almost as much as the designers.

Key qualities: Year-round interest, attracts pollinators. 
See it in: BrickyardRHS Nocturnal Pollinators Experience, RHS and MEN Ginnel Garden

Top 4 trends

1. Soft planting
2. Dead wood hedges
3. Resilient trees
4. Corten steel 

1. Soft planting

Seeking Resilience Garden at RHS Tatton 2023
Billowing clouds of grasses and soft pink colour palettes gave the show a romantic feel with plants spilling onto paths and tumbling over the edges of containers.

Seen in: Seeking Resilience, The Balanced Garden, Elements, Alfresco

2. Dead wood hedges

Dead wood hedge on the Off the Grid garden at RHS Tatton 2023
Great for wildlife and reusing organic material – dead wood hedges are the ultimate in sustainable landscaping, so it’s little wonder they featured in many of the show designs. Easy to build, and inexpensive, it’s a great take-home idea for larger gardens.

Seen in: Constructing Minds, Off the Grid

3. Resilient trees

Silver Birch at RHS Tatton 2023
Rowans, birches, apples and figs – this year at RHS Tatton tough trees were on-trend. These sturdy staples also multi-task, either by providing fruit, or added decorative appeal – such as the peeling white bark of the birch, or bright red berries of the rowan.

Seen in: Constructing Minds, The Empowerment Garden, Brickyard

4. Corten steel

Corten steel dinosaur at RHS Tatton 2023

Fast becoming the go-to material for every garden designer, corten steel is strong and durable, and has great aesthetic appeal. At Tatton, it was crafted into decorative screens, moulded into containers and shaped into water features. It seems there’s nothing that can’t be made out of the stuff, as shown the Escape the T-Rex! Long Border.

Seen in: Constructing Minds, Off the Grid, Brickyard, The Empowerment Garden

Top 3 themes

1. Switch off
2. Local
3. Reflection

1. Switch off and enjoy

J Parker's Chained to Tech Garden at RHS Tatton Park 2023
Taking time out from technology and thinking about the impact that modern life has on the natural world was a key trend at RHS Tatton in 2023. J. Parker’s Chained to Tech Garden came from the perspective of how screens affect our wellbeing, while the RHS Nocturnal Pollinator Experience questioned our use of light in the garden and how it hampers wildlife.

Seen in: J. Parker’s Chained to Tech Garden, Off the GridRHS Nocturnal Pollinator Experience

2. Local plants and local people

RHS and BBC NW Northern Star Garden at RHS Tatton Park 2023
RHS Tatton Park has always been proud of its roots in the North-West, and in 2023 the Northern Star Feature Garden celebrated five local communities with a dedicated bed designed for each one. The Long Borders were a great way for local up-and-coming designers to start out at the show, and the RHS MEN Ginnel Garden was created to be rehomed down the road in Moss Side, Manchester.
There was even an installation by the Tatton Park Garden Team, and you can’t get more local than that.

Seen in : RHS and MEN Ginnel Garden, RHS and BBC NW Tonight Northern Star Garden, Long Borders, Installations


3. A moment to reflect and contemplate

Macmillan Legacy Garden at RHS Tatton Park 2023

Memorial gardens have been a recurrent theme through show season and RHS Tatton was no exception. The Macmillan Legacy Garden called on visitors to take time to think about their own place in the world and the hope they can leave behind for others. The Bible Society: Psalm 27 reimagined a traditional graveyard with naturalistic planting and gentle symbolism to encourage quiet reflection. ‘Best in’ winner for the Show category, Constructing Minds, created several areas for private counselling, as well as representing an emotional journey through the course of the garden.  

Seen in: The Bible Society: Psalm 27 GardenConstructing MindsThe Macmillan Legacy Garden


2. Baths (and other quirky containers)

RHS and MEN Ginnel Garden at RHS Tatton 2023
Throughout the showground there was an emphasis on sustainability and reusing old materials. Not one, but two baths had been upcycled, as a container in The Ginnel Garden, and as a relaxing water feature in the Pocket of Peace Long Border. The Ginnel Garden designer, Jason Williams used fly-tipped junk throughout the garden, including half a trampoline as a frame for hanging baskets and countless old tins and cans filled with herbs. The Apothecary Garden contained a shed made from old windows and repurposed a clothes airier to dry herbs, showing that nearly anything can be given a new life in the garden.

Seen in: The RHS and MEN Ginnel Garden,  The Apothecary Garden, Pocket of Peace, Brickyard

1. Master Grower

Holden Clough Nurseries at RHS Tatton 2023
There can be only one Master Grower and Holden Clough Nurseries showed why they were awarded the illustrious title, as visitors flocked to the Floral Marquee to see their wonderful display. Beautiful plants scrambling up wicker obelisks, intermingled with photography showing the history of the nursery displayed on rustic old doors, creating a nostalgic, family feel. A must-see at the show.


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