Take a look around the RHS Flower Show Cardiff 2019, and see the beautiful displays in the Show Gardens and Floral Marquee.
The first big event on the gardening calendar each year is the RHS Flowershow in Cardiff. It takes place in Bute Park, right next to Cardiff Castle, and has a definitely Spring-like feel to it.
I travelled down to Cardiff with Mark again this year to take a look around the show. And as usual, it was full of horticultural inspiration, family fun, and much more.
This post will first cover the beautiful show gardens of the RHS Flowershow Cardiff, and will then take you on a tour through the Floral Marquees.
The RHS awards medals at each of its events as a mark of excellence. They are judged by a highly experienced panel, who award four grades of medal: Bronze, Silver, Silver-Gilt and the coveted Gold medal.
There’s no limit to the number of medals awarded at a show, and not every garden will receive one. If the judges consider that a display is below Bronze standard, they don’t award a medal.
Let’s take a look around…
The Show Gardens
This show is certainly a little different from the other gardening shows that I usually attend later in the year. The changeable weather in April adds its own challenges for planning a show garden.
The gardens here tended to be more architectural in design. There’s more more hard landscaping and evergreen planting, compared to the more floral style seen at the later shows.
These show gardens showcase the landscaper’s craft through innovative design and beautiful planting.
Nature’s Takeover – designed by Diego Carillo
In Nature’s Takeover, the simple beauty of nature is shown off through the beautifully unstructured planting. It almost looks as if the planting could reclaim the space!
This isn’t a vivid and colourful garden, but the palette of lush greens and rustic browns enhance the wild appearance of the garden. You could easily imagine that this is a wild garden, overgrown but still a beautiful place to relax.
And the dense planting is also very wildlife friendly, providing a safe habitat and food from nectar and berries.
A selection of new and recycled materials provide the backdrop to this lush vegetation. Reclaimed wood has been used to create the flooring and raised beds,while corrugated metal fencing adds privacy to the garden.
And there are a couple of chairs offering a place to sit and contemplate the display of beauty and wildness in balance.
I love the lush look of the planting in this garden, and the idea that Nature may be reclaiming the space. It has a very serene feel to it, and I also love the chunky style of the hard landscaping.
Nature’s Takeover won a Silver-Gilt medal as well as winning the awards for Best Show Garden and Best Construction.
The Xardin Urban Garden – designed by Brent Purtell
This garden was designed to be a public garden revitalising an inner city urban space. It takes common materials, looks for new ways to use them, and celebrates the results.
The contemporary environment created by this design is also an exciting ‘urban gallery’ for street art.
The design features a central pool, and draws inspiration from Japanese rock gardens (karesansui). It is also inspired by the abstract art of Agnes Martin and Ben Nicholson.
The planting around the edges of the garden soften the lines of the urban design, and create harmony and balance. It draws the viewer’s gaze up towards the art which is displayed on the corrugated metal walls of the garden.
Rust brown tones of Carex buchananii and the acid green Euphorbia amydaloides echo the tones of the hard landscaping and the bright colours in the artwork.
I love the concept of this garden, and the addition of street art to brighten up the background. But it looked to us as if the execution of the design may have let it down a little.
Some of the gabions weren’t completely filled with stones and others were slightly overfilled, which spoiled the overall finish of the garden. But the design was fabulous!
The RHS judges awarded this garden a Bronze Medal.
Perennial Garden – designed by Peter Donegan
The Perennial Garden is a lush private space, combining seasonal planting with space for entertaining and relaxing.
The clean, modern look features crisp lines with Welsh slate landscaping and an outdoor kitchen area as the main focal point. This bespoke kitchen will be relocated to the Veterans Growth charity after this show garden has been dismantled.
A fabulous specimen tree gives height to the garden, a clipped yew hedge provides privacy, and there is a raised seating area for relaxing in.
The dark Alcantara stone steps give an elegant air, and also provide fabulous contrast against the bright colours of the Euphorbia amygdaloides and the Geum ‘Totally Tangerine’ in the soft planting.
I loved this garden, and it was my favourite show garden at RHS Cardiff 2019. It felt very much as if it could be transplanted as-is directly into a small private garden.
This beautiful garden received a Silver medal from the RHS judges.
After we’d looked around the rest of the gardens, Mark and I headed off to explore the Floral Marquees.
The Floral Marquees of RHS Cardiff 2019
Enjoy a beautiful show of colour as I pick out some of the highlights from the Floral Marquee at this year’s RHS Flower Show Cardiff.
There were certainly plenty of people milling around, looking at the displays and stocking up on plants and bulbs for their gardens. It’s a great place to find out what’s on trend in gardens this year, and to pick up something new to take home with you.
As you might expect, there were beautiful displays of immaculate flower at every turn. So I’ve picked out some of my favourite exhibits for you in this post.
You’ll find colour everywhere you look at an RHS Flower Show, and Cardiff 2019 definitely didn’t disappoint on that front.
I loved these bright Dianthus on the G & K Carnations stand, which were displayed in wonderfully vivid hues.
I particularly adored these eye-catching Dianthus ‘Carthago’, with their vivid scarlet colour.
Carnations can sometimes get overlooked, because they’re such a well-known flower. But with these fabulous colours, there was no ignoring this stand!
And the RHS Judges clearly agreed, as they awarded G&K Carnations a Gold medal for their display.
I also loved these scarlet peonies on the Primrose Hall stand. If you usually associated peonies with pastel shades, these Paeonia ‘Red Charm’ will make you think again!
And just look at this for a colourful display!
The Pheasant Acre Plants stand always delivers, and I loved their Gold medal winning display at this year’s RHS Cardiff show. It exhibited a range of tulips from white, through pastel to the very deepest shades.
And the flame coloured hues of Tulipa ‘Flyaway’ are the absolute epitome of eye-catching colour!
These lily-flowered tulips provide fabulous colour, and I’m already planning to buy some bulbs to plant up this autumn. They’ll create a fantastic display in the garden in late Spring!
But if you prefer your flowers in slightly more restrained hues, then there was plenty to tempt you as well.
I loved the delicate shades of the Primulas on the Staddon Farm Nurseries stand (visit them online at Penny’s Primulas). They hold the National Collection of Primula sieboldii, and their pretty flowers look beautiful in this woodland-themed display.
It’s no surprise that they won a Gold medal from the RHS judges!
Or perhaps you’re thinking of installing a display of alpines in your garden? I’m intrigued by these plants, with their tiny flowers in such a wide range of colours and shapes.
It’s something that I’m considering for our garden, and I got plenty of inspiration from the urban rock garden display on the Premier Alpines stand.
Cactii and Succulents
Houseplants are becoming very popular these days, particularly with the rise in the number of people living in apartments or in rented accommodation.
If you’d like to keep some indoor plants but you’re worried about keeping them alive, maybe a cactus or succulent would be a good place to start?
There was a beautiful selection of Agaves on the Palm Exotics stand, together with a range of palms and yuccas. The display won a Gold Medal from the RHS judges.
I was very tempted by some of the large palm trees, but managed to limit myself to just a couple of baby Agave plants.
I’m hoping that one day they might grow as large and majestic as this beautiful Agave americana mediopica alba!
But of course the beauty of cactii and succulents is that they come in so many fantastic shapes, sizes and colours. There was a wide range on display on the stunning Ottershaw Cacti stand, which the judges awarded a Gold medal.
This fabulous Haworthia attenuata ‘Zebrina’ really caught my eye with its bright striped leaves. It likes a sunny spot, but not too much bright sunlight, so should do well in our south-facing dining room. It can also go outside during the warmer months.
It’s definitely on my wishlist for my growing plant collection!
RHS Cardiff 2019 Master Grower – Scamps Daffodils
The RHS Master Grower award recognises one specialist nursery at each of five RHS shows throughout the year. They receive special attention at the show, celebrating their ethical and sustainable business practices.
And it felt very fitting that the Master Grower at RHS Cardiff 2019 was R & A Scamp, who grow a fabulous range of beautiful daffodils.
I loved their display of beautiful narcissus, which come in a fabulous range of shades and hues. They aren’t just yellow, you know!
For example, just look at this gorgeous creamy double flowers on this Narcissus ‘Gay Kybo’. The inner segments are a deep orange, and it has a very soft and dreamy look about it.
Or maybe you’d prefer these neat Daffodil ‘Capability Brown’ with their pristine white petals and yellow inner segment edged with orange. They were developed by Scamp’s to celebrate the 300 year anniversary of the birth of the famous gardener.
Last year Mark bought some Daffodil ‘Flik Flak’ from Scamp’s, and I think this year he’ll be growing some of these tiny Daffodil ‘New Baby’. I think they may be even tinier than ‘Flik Flak’!
And of course the main R & A Scamp stand was looking as glorious as ever, with a beautiful array of daffodils in every shade.
It’s no surprise that this stand won a Gold medal from the RHS Judges, is it?
And Everything Else
And there’s plenty more to tempt you at RHS Cardiff, besides the gardens and the marquees. It’s a fabulous day out for the family, with lots of entertainment, live music and more.
There are masses of opportunities for shopping, with everything on offer from perennial plants to glass garden pods. You can browse through stands full of plants, and you’ll find some stunning displays like the Cook’s Garden Centre stand in the picture below.
Learn from the Experts
You can also pick up tips from the experts, in the Floristry tent, or in the Talks Theatre. You could hear from people like top florist Jonathan Moseley, food writer Karen Burns from Lavender and Lovage, and the RHS Question Time team.
And the RHS are also on hand if you’d like to sign up for membership.
Eat and Drink
You’ll need some refreshment after walking around the show, and luckily there’s plenty on offer.
As well as the stands in the food village, you’ll also find plenty of stalls selling food and drink including local specialities. You’re sure to find something that tempts you!
And of course you have to indulge in a few Welshcakes. They’re always delicious, but they’re at their best when they’re fresh off the griddle, sprinkled with sugar and eaten while still hot!
With so much to see and do, RHS Cardiff is a fabulous start to the garden show season, and well worth a visit.