Imagination Ignites across RHS Flower Shows for 2016

rhs logo 2015The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) is working with UK nurseries across all major RHS Flower Shows in 2016 to fire up imagination and display plants in new ways. Award-winning garden designer Kate Gould will be mentoring 15 growers* during the show season to help put their creative ideas into practice.

Taking the first steps into spring, a selection of nurseries will first display their new designs at RHS Flower Show Cardiff, before going on to RHS Malvern Spring Festival, RHS Chelsea Flower Show and RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show, and finally at RHS Flower Show Tatton Park in July.

Nurseries from across the UK will participate, including Cornwall-based Trecanna, T3 Plants in Herefordshire, and Tinnisburn Plants from Dumfriesshire. All the growers in the project will be crafting their own fresh, eye-catching and innovative displays to best exhibit the allure of their plants.

As well as the creative challenges posed by the different design concepts, nurseries also face testing conditions individual to each show, from having to dual-manage the prime cultivation season in April, to non-stop shows throughout the summer months, and end-of-season plant choices in July.

On her role as mentor, Kate Gould said: “It was amazing to be asked. I think the RHS creative mentoring project is a brilliant idea as the shows are fundamentally about the plants, and the guys in the marquees bring the real magic. What I’ve found especially interesting is how open minded and inventive the growers’ designs are – I might suggest something slightly outrageous and they go, ‘Yes, that’s great! We can do that!’ As a designer that’s great for me, to bounce ideas off people and have them bounce back – especially a nursery, as I’m learning a lot from them as well.

“As a mentor,’ said Kate, “my role really is to fine-tune their ideas and be able to facilitate what they want to do and criticise constructively from a design point of view. For example, when you build a Show Garden you do it as you never would in the real world; so having done that, I know how to make the most of limited time to create a believable effect. We didn’t have to grow the plants for our Show Gardens, and it’s growing that’s the really challenging bit. The growers are so creative with their designs – I think ‘my goodness where did that come from, why didn’t I think of that?’ Maybe I should start growing myself!”

The RHS creative mentoring project was launched in 2015, with 14 nurseries being awarded Silver-Gilt or Gold medals for their new approaches to design. At RHS Malvern Spring Festival, Drointon Nurseries from North Yorkshire used mirrors and themed theatres to great effect in showing their Primula auricula, while bulb specialist Jacques Armand created an extravagant firework display using Eremurus and Allium at RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show.

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