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Chelsea.  It' sthe 100th edition thi syear and should have some extra oomph and fun to it.  I laos like Malverna nd tatton.  Haven't been to Cardiff or GW and didn't like Hampton Court because access is so difficult for people who have to come by car and, as  I did the year I went,  have a pushchair and toddler to drive along with all the plant purchases.


The only one Ive been to is Chelsea and I found it a rather strange experience. The show gardens were beautiful but you could not really see them as the crowds wre 10 deep. It was something I had wanted to visit for years but I ended up a bit dissapointed. Better on the tele.

I literally just said I fancy gardeners world live or something. But I don't want to fight in crowds for overpriced items so I'm open to learning where's best. I'm East Midlands
We have several spring shows in Cornwall.....never been to any of em. Something always crops up instead. Rhodos, azaleas, camellias, magnolias all feature down here in spring.
Have tickets for Chelsea....presssie......but it's a bit artificial for me. Plants not landscaping or "themes" or massive projects. I guess I will enjoy it though.



My tip for Chelsea is to get one of the afternoon only tickets - you are allowed in at 3pm.  It is cheaper, for a start, and by the time you get to 6.30pm the crowds really thin out.  By 7.30 (it closes at 8pm) you have Main Avenue to yourself - wonderful.  I guess it only works if you live close enough to London not to worry about travelling home after.

I also love Hampton Court - agree that parking can sometimes be a nightmare - but the last few years has been much better.  It far more spacious, and easier to look round the nursery stands than Chelsea - which is really just show gardens and the flower marquees.

Gardening Grandma

You can't beat Chelsea. I'm almost embarrassed to admit this to real gardening enthusiasts, but I love Shrewsbury. It is lowbrow compared with RHS shows, and the show gardens are relatively few. but as a magical experience it is great. There are the usual show-tents and floral displays, gardening forums and speakers, gardening magazines and free gifts, plant sales and displays. There are also military bands, choirs, and a truly marvellous firework display in the evenings. There is show jumping and dog shows, children's entertainment and even, in some years, concerts with the likes of Katherine Jenkins and Hayley Westonra. There are lots of related stalls, a food hall and displays of gymnastics, military motorcyclists and horses, etc. We take out membership of the horticultural society and use the members' enclosure and facilities, so we get a bit of  comfort for the two days of the show. It is now a family tradition to attend every couple of years.



Woodgreen wonderboy

I have been to Chelsea and Hampton Court. Last visit to latter was disappointing... too much lifestyle, too little gardening. My favourite is now Malvern and I see you live close enough for a day visit. I go to the Spring show to buy my plants etc for the summer, and to the autumn show to buy my bulbs and plants for the following spring. Brilliant selection of specialist growers and plants etc. Also much cheaper than the other 2 which are now very expensive.RHS please note.

Gardening Grandma

Wish I were, Brumbull. We're going on hol with the family at the end of August, financed by us, and have decided that it is too expensive to go to Shrewsbury as well. Might change my mind if we seem reasonably flush a bit closer to August, but it looks as though we will have to spend quite a bit on the car, so.... maybe. Last time I went, it had shrunk and seemed rather sad, although apparently the charity which runs it has plenty of money in reserve (I'm told). f It was absolutely rained off a couple of times and Hayley Westonra did an entire concert to an empty arena, save for a few diehards like us in the members' marquee seemingly a quarter of a mile away from her. Prices for stalls went up a lot too (again, hearsay) and fewer exhibitors and sellers went. I really hope it has recovered.


There's also a monthly show in London organised by the RHS at its own halls.  I went a couple of times when we were still in teh UK and they were very good - excellent plants and also a lecture.   Local shows are good too.

Here in Belgium there are spring and autumn shows I like to go to.  No show gardens but lots of good stalls selling plants and gardening goodies.  I have developed good relationships with a couple of nurseries who will happily let me order plants for collection at the show and save me a trip to the Ardennes to their nurseries and I have a favourite clematis Man who tells me which will cope with teh cold in my garden and labels his plants with hardiness in degrees centrigade to -25C.

If anyone else is gardening in Belgoum, PM me for a list of shows this April, May and June.


The AGS Show in Whitworth Manchester for tomorrow has been cancelled because of the weather.


Have , and always do visit both the Spring and Autumn shows in Malvern _ Well it's literally just down the road. 

Usually visit the Harrogate autumn show, which I quite enjoy

Have been to Gardeners World Live, but stopped going as I found it very disappointing. Maybe it's improved now.

Never been to big London shows because of expense getting there, travel problems, parking etc etc.

Quit like the idea of visiting the Tatton Park one, but always seem to be busy around then.

I've visited Malvern on a few occasions, thoroughly enjoyed it and would definately recommend it!
Gardening Grandma

I'd love to go to GW live but haven't managed it yet. In what way is it disappointing, I wonder?


My favourite has to be Malvern Spring Show, it's early, huge and stuffed with plants, gardening enthusiasts, and enough miscellaneous bumf to keep the non-gardening members of the family amused. I went to the  Cardiff show a couple of years back and it was very good but it's just too far from where I live. GW Live is the easiest one for me to get to, I have noticed that the number of exhibitors has diminished quite a bit over the past few years. It would be lovely to see more specialist nurseries taking part although I expect it's a huge expense for a small business.

This year I shall probably go to GW Live, I'm planning to go to Tatton for the first time and I would like to try the Malvern Autumn show. Chelsea just isn't an option for me, it's just too expensive. Maybe if I win the lottery....


I went to Harrogate Autumn show last year and enjoyed it. I also went to Malvern and Gardeners World. I've booked for Harrogate Spring,Malvern and GWorld again. Also hoping to go to Sandringham Flower show. I live in the East Midlands Harrogate and Birmingham aren't too far to travel. I think Chelsea would be too crowded for me to enjoy

We went to Malvern last year and really enjoyed it after a few years of Tatton. I think it's best to swap around a bit, because they seem a bit samey year after year, and Tatton 2011 did seem to be suffering from the recession - show gardens a bit limited. Get there early and take a picnic. Friends/customers who have been to Chelsea swore they would never go again. Us provincials don't like dense crowds, though.


just bought mtickets for Chelsea centenary OH won't go as he's bored so just girlies day. Mate is brill at getting us on the right tube and it's usually fuss free also bin to GW live, Harrogate spring shows, Tatton park, Southport, love em all for different reasons but always spend too much.  this year I'm not going to spend as often plants bought don't last the year up north!



ps we always get to shows for opening time and look round quick, also watch TV coverage to find places we want to see first then go back at end to anywhere we want or to pick up plants etc xx

Gardening Grandma

I quite agree about getting there early and seeing as much as possible before the crowds thicken and staying late when the crowds have thinned out. If I can manage it without bumping too many people on the shins, I like to take a little plant truck into which jackets, hats and picnics can go in the morning and plants and other purchases later in the day. If necessary, OH will sit and mind it while people-watching, while I browse the stalls and show tents.

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