RHS reveals highlights of 2018 flower shows

Mass plantings of orchids, a display of poisonous flowers, and chance to experience prehistoric landscapes are new features at this summer’s Royal Horticultural Society shows.

Described as the world’s most famous flower show, the RHS Chelsea Flower Show (May 22-26) will have 10 show gardens;, new ‘Space to Grow’ gardens; and the first ‘Chelsea Late’ on May 25, with an evening of music, entertainment and demonstrations.

The RHS’s newest show, RHS Chatsworth Flower Show, returns to the 1,000-acre Chatsworth Estate (pictured) in Derbyshire (June 6-10); the society’s largest flower festival will take place at Hampton Court Palace in Surrey (July 2-8); and the RHS Flower Show Tatton Park will celebrate its 20th anniversary (July 18-22).

RHS Chatsworth Flower Show will – for the first time at an RHS show – feature a mass planting of more than 12,000 Cosmos summer flowers.

The display with create “a striking vision of pink” in front of Chatsworth House for visitors to walk among.

There will also be more than 100 varieties of the popular Phalaenopsis Orchid, and the important role plants play in cities will be explored in the new Living Laboratory.

Another first will be at the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show, which will welcome influential landscape designer, nurseryman and author Piet Oudolf.

The Dutch designer will bring his naturalistic style to the show, creating a “whimsical walk-through feature” opposite the palace.

Thousands of Verbena bonariensis flowers will create a display of lilac, lavender and violet shades along the Long Water, and more colours will be on show with the annual Festival of Roses.

The show will also explore the evolution of plants with Evolve: Through the Roots of Time, guiding visitors through prehistoric landscapes that would have been seen millions of years ago.

RHS Flower Show Tatton Park will have its first ‘Poisonous Garden’ with flowers such as toxic foxgloves and Angel’s Trumpet, as well as carnivorous plants and their prey.

New for 2018, The Flower School offers a hands-on experience with talks and workshops, and ‘florist to the stars’ Simon Lycett will host an interactive floristry demonstration.

Pictured: Chatsworth House. VisitEngland/Rich J Jones