There are few things more joyful in life than a garden in full bloom in summer. And whether you’re a green-fingered goddess or simply someone who derives pleasure from floral displays and innovative garden design, we’ve all found a new appreciation for nature’s bounty. Let the breathtaking beauty of the UK’s best flower shows spark your imagination and soothe your soul.
With 50 acres of glorious parkland and landscaped gardens galore (from a walled kitchen garden to a 100-year-old Japanese garden), Tatton Park is the perfect backdrop for a floral showcase. Little wonder then that the RHS has collaborated with the gardening team at the estate on a Feature Garden by designer Michael McGarr that takes inspiration from the lesser-known areas of the Park. And with the show’s Summer of Love theme, you can expect to be wowed by a riot of colour as you meander through the Floral Marquees and admire the incredible floral couture created by Fleurs de Villes.
Arguably the grande dame of them all is Chelsea. A must in the social calendar, the show was forced to go virtual last year. But its return in a new September slot, with an extra day added to the schedule, sees us enjoying the magic of Chelsea I.R.L. once more. From Champagne and shopping to a new Houseplant Studio (perfect for anyone keen to learn tips on growing plants in small spaces), the undisputed highlight is the Show Gardens. Naturally, designers are in a reflective mood this year, with Robert Myers shining a light on the work of nurses in his Florence Nightingale Garden and Naomi Ferret-Cohen creating a touching tribute to the NHS.
30 July-1 August
The award-wining Chorley Flower Show quickly made a name for itself when it set up home at Astley Hall in 2015. Following last year’s virtual event, the children who submitted designs to the Design a Garden Competition will see their designs brought to life, while, elsewhere, visitors enjoy talks and demos from a plethora of top gardeners, including floral designer Jonathan Moseley. However, the centrepiece of the show is set to be Mayflower 400 garden. A tribute to last year’s 400th anniversary of the Mayflower’s voyage to America, the garden features plants indigenous to both Britain and the US.
If dahlias are the thing that make your heart sing, the Flower Show at RHS Wisley is for you. Home to an annual spectacle hosted on behalf of the National Dahlia Society, blooms cultivated by exhibitors vie for attention against the bombs of colour homegrown by visitors. Elsewhere, expect to find top-quality plants from big-name nurseries and experts ready to dish out top tips via an array of demos and talks. And, of course, there’s Wisley itself. Alongside the impressive rock garden and cathedral-like glasshouse, the recently opened RHS Hilltop, a centre dedicated to horticultural excellence, is sure to delight.
Newly relocated to the stunning environs of Newby Hall & Gardens, this showcase of autumnal blooms will be right at home among the estate’s herbaceous borders (among the longest in Europe). Aside from providing the perfect opportunity to pick out a perennial or two for your outdoor spot, one of the quirkier features of the show is the array of gargantuan vegetables vying for the top spot in the North of England Horticultural Society’s hotly contested competition. But with indoor floral displays inspired by the interiors of the Hall to admire, there is much to satisfy the eye.