Why You Should Visit the RHS Flower Shows: a Q&A with Head of Shows Development Tom Harfleet

With shows across the country, the Royal Horticultural Society prides itself on bringing the art of gardening, breathtaking floral exhibits, beautiful garden designs, and an assortment of family-friendly entertainment to the wide public. From those just starting out, to those with a well-practised green thumb, there’s something for everybody at RHS Flower Shows; each show enjoys the benefit of renowned experts who offer advice and demonstrations together with the highest-quality nursery exhibitors to give your own garden that RHS flair.

Although best known for its world-famous event at Chelsea, there are plenty more locations from which to choose: find your nearest show at Cardiff, Chatsworth, Hampton Court Palace, Malvern and Tatton Park to get stuck into the RHS Flower Show fun.

In the run-up to the RHS Flower Shows, we spoke to Head of Shows Development Tom Harfleet to get his view on why these shows are so appealing and inspiring.

Is there something in particular you especially look forward to at the RHS Flower Shows?

The shows are all so diverse and they offer something special for everyone. I just love it when Spring comes and heralds the start of our shows season in Cardiff.

Across your entire involvement with the RHS Flower Shows, do you have a stand-out, all-time favourite moment?

That’s like trying to choose a favourite child! The shows are all wonderful in their own unique ways, but the stand-out moments are when we know we have inspired people to grow something themselves - when we have unleashed the power of gardening!

What makes each RHS Flower Show different from the others?

Every show highlights a different moment in the gardening calendar. RHS Flower Show Cardiff features daffodils and other Spring plants. RHS Chatsworth Flower Show is famous for its historic orchid collection which we are re-creating at the show in 2018. RHS Chelsea Flower show is famed for the floral displays in the Great Pavilion and trend setting garden designs. RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show is renowned for roses and the Festival of Roses Marquee. RHS Malvern Spring Festival offers a wonderful Festival day out with show gardens, shopping and expert speakers. RHS Flower Show Tatton Park showcases plants at the height of Summer as well as focusing on talented young designers. 2018 will be extra special with lots planned to celebrate the show’s 20th birthday. Each of our shows is set in spectacular surroundings.

For those considering becoming gardeners but aren’t quite sure, are there any events at the RHS Flower Shows that you would recommend to help people get stuck in?

We have hands-on demonstrations as well as talks and workshops at all our shows. And don't forget the shows held in our Horticultural Halls in Westminster throughout the year which have lots of ‘have a go’ activities, and even a plant themed cocktail or two!

And for those bringing the little ones, what can they expect to get the kids involved in?

At all shows except Chelsea, where regrettably we can’t accommodate very small children, there is lots to see and do with children’s trails, craft and workshop areas, wildlife activities and storytelling. We engage with local schools to offer wheelbarrow and other container planting competitions as well as the hotly anticipated scarecrow competition at RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show.

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This article was a collaborative effort, written together by the See Tickets Marketing team; Georgia, Sarah, Hayley, Callum and Abi.

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