Garden Shows have become a mainstay in the British calendar, not only popular with keen gardeners and garden designers, these fantastic events are now also a firm family favourite. Whether you are looking for the latest innovations from your favourite nursery, new ideas for fruit and veg for your allotment, looking for exciting furniture for your garden or simply want a great day out with your family, UK garden and flower shows can deliver.
For a quick overview of some of garden shows in the UK take a look at our blog and for a few great tips on getting the most out of your visit to a garden show this year read on.
Plan Your Transport & Time
Most Garden Shows now have websites and social media feeds so you can get all the information you need to plan your day at the show, they often have timetables and event listings so you can create the day (or days) that will interest you most. If you want to see and do everything you can then it helps to make a timetable for yourself and download a map of the area and mark where you need to be and when – for those of you that like to keep to a schedule like this do remember also to take some time to enjoy the ambience of the show or for unexpected finds.
Planning also includes getting to and from the show, check where you can park or what public transport services the show site. People do travel a long way for a good flower show and often you can find organised trips by bus so you don’t have to worry about the driving – you just have to remember which is your bus and what time to be back for.
Sensible planning tips also include wearing sensible shoes so you are comfortable, wearing layers and bringing wet weather jackets to combat the typical British summer. Picnics are often welcome at garden shows and food stalls and ice cream vans are common. If you are very keen and plan to spend a lot of time at the bigger shows check to see if they have hospitality packages as these may work to your advantage.
Gardening Lectures & Interesting Talks
One of the most popular and interesting items on the Garden Show timetable are talks, lectures or presentations about a wide range of gardening topics by experts, some may have an extra fee to attend. At the larger shows you can also often find celebrities (like Monty Don or Alan Tichmarsh) from the world of gardening doing the same, always check to see if you need to book a seat to avoid standing at the back or missing it altogether. These gardening talks are great too for those who want to pick up excellent tips that can help you in your own garden. If you check online, you should see a list of people who are giving talks. If you don’t know who they are, then check out their bio and find out more. Just remember, popular speakers usually sell out quickly, so as soon as you can book your place.
Chat to Growers and Producers
There is nothing a passionate producer likes to do more than talk about their creations! There are usually plenty of stalls at garden shows and many interesting and passionate gardening people to chat to. Rather than simply looking at the flowers and arrangements, make the effort to actually talk to the growers and producers who can tell you all about their products, and any handy tips that they might have – who knows what you could learn!
Notebook & Camera at the Ready
Ever got home from a garden show and found that you couldn’t remember the name of a plant you really liked? Taking a notebook or a camera, or both, can solve all that. Not only can you make a note of all the tips you get from stallholders and experts, you can take pictures of the day to remind you of great arrangements, interesting ideas or concepts and wonderful new plants.
Remember a Shopping Bag
Many Garden Shows have a stalls offering, selling everything garden related from unique plants to modern hot tubs! Garden gnomes and a host of other decorations for your garden will be available to buy, many large ticket items like greenhouses or handmade garden furniture often have ‘show prices’ giving you a discount if you buy at the show so it is worth checking out which vendors are going in advance as you could save a good amount of money.
Whatever your favourite part of a garden show is, remember to have fun - a little bit of planning ensures you won’t miss something that is very important to you, but leave space in your itinerary for browsing or simply sitting to enjoy the wonderful displays on offer