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RHS Urban Show Manchester 

RHS Urban Show - New Show, New Style. 

RHS Urban Show - Sign

Mention RHS shows and you immediately think of the green spaces of Chelsea, Tatton or Hampton Court, not a red brick former Railway station with concrete floors and exposed brickwork! Manchester’s Depot Mayfield, built in 1910, has been an event space since 2019 and, it turns out, was the ideal venue for the RHS’s first, large scale indoor gardening show ‘Urban’. 

Aimed at city and town dwellers with limited or no outdoor growing space there was an emphasis on sustainability and interior design as well as some eye opening exhibits, such as the magical RHS Urban Show Forest and eerily lifelike robotic dogs used for mapping and sensing in difficult terrains.  

And of course, as to be expected, there were zillions of houseplants. As the trend for indoor greenery continues unabated ‘Urban’ offered plenty of opportunities to learn about, admire, and most importantly, buy, a vast range of plants from huge, glossy specimens to tiny glass ‘mossariums’.  

Despite the acres of greenery, there were still flowers to be found. Manchester florist Flourish were doing a great trade from their pop-up flower shop, and there were a small number of floral installations;  ‘Reclaimed by Nature’, David Jayet-Laraffe, and ‘Textural Immersion’, Hannah Clark, both thoughtful designs on the relationship between man-made materials and nature, stood out.  

Rhs Urban Show - Blue Diamond Garden Centre

Visually, lots to see but also lots to think about as well. Blue Diamond Garden Centre had four different room settings, all filled from floor to ceiling with luscious greenery, every plant grown in  peat free compost. There was practical advice on small scale gardening and, most importantly, courtesy of Happy Houseplants with GrowTropicals an innovative feature on focussing on ‘right plant, right place’, an invaluable visual guide to keeping your plants healthy and happy once you get them home.  

It was a huge challenge for the RHS to attempt an indoor show aimed at a new demographic in an edgy, industrial venue, nothing like they have ever tackled before. But, judging by the number of visitors queuing to get on in day one, it looks like they pulled it off. It was their first urban show, let’s hope it’s not their last.   

RHS Urban Show, Depot Mayfield, Manchester. 18th – 21st April. 


Su Whale

Su Whale is a florist and freelance writer with over twenty-five years' experience in the floristry industry. She is the author and publisher of three best-selling books: Cut Flowers, 4th edition (2020) Cut Foliage, 2nd Edition, (2021) and Houseplants (2019), all bookshelf essentials for the professional florist.




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