A trip to the RHS Great London Plant Fair


It’s taken me ages to get round to posting my trip to the RHS Great London Plant Fair but I’m so glad I’ve finally managed it because I’ve really enjoyed looking back through my photos and remembering just what a cool time I had at this little show. We stopped off here on our Easter trip to Great Dixter in Rye. Some of these photos are a little blurry because I took them all with my iPhone, a handy little camera but not that great on quality.

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The show was spread across the two small RHS halls and it was just the right size to cover in the mere 3 hours we were able to spare on our way to Rye. It had a lovely spring feeling to it, which made a nice change since spring hadn’t sprung outside. As well as enjoying the impressive displays I found it quite educational and it gave me some good ideas.

Something I particularly liked was the use of baskets and containers. Anyone who claims that their garden is too small or difficult to grow anything should really try container gardening. It’s so easy and can be very impressive. Just look at the pelargoniums in this photo below if you need more proof!

RHS-London-39RHS-London-21 I’m loving the hyacinths in the suitcase! I also love to see helebores in containers too. I’ve seen them growing really successfully in containers a few times now and they look great in the basket above.

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The heucheras and heathers in the two pictures above, as well as looking good in baskets and pots, are the real unsung heroes of the drab few months we’ve had. These plants really come into their own and provide intense colour in the winter months when there’s little else going on.

Luckily we’re now getting some better weather but the warm purples and reds of these plants still stand out and provide a brightness while we wait for summer to arrive. I have some heather planted at my allotment but why didn’t I fill the hanging basket outside my door like this?! Next year….

Talking of containers, check out these edibles! The spinach in the paint pot and carrier bag looked cool.

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The part where I really lost myself was amongst the amazing displays created by members of the Alpine Garden Society. I just love these little plants and when you think about the effort that goes in to creating such perfect specimens for show I know that there’s many other people who love these intricate little plants too.


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The hepatica (above) was so cute I just wanted to stare at it for hours.

Back in the other hall there was an awesome display of sempervivums planted in troughs, pots and wooden fruit boxes. They’re so easy to grow and as a result I have these ‘houseleeks’ growing in the most random of places and I love it when they shoot up their totally alien looking flowers.

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I really enjoyed this little show and yes, we came away with a couple of purchases (no surprise there). I bought a tiarella and Adam bought some ‘Flexi-Tie’. The tieralla loved its little journey down to Rye and then onto Oxford (we visited the botanic gardens there so I’ll post about that some point) and it’s now happily living in a little container in my garden.

I sooo want one of these mini mountains in my garden!

It seems like such a long time ago now and I can’t believe it’s taken me ages to get round to this, the truth is I’ve just been enjoying the milder weather so much that I’ve been spending all my time outside in the garden :) It’s so brilliant to finally see new shoots appearing and my seedlings growing stronger. I’ll do a ‘what’s growing on update’ soon.

Did you visit the Great London Plant Fair? Do you enjoy these types of shows? Could you get lost for hours looking at the little alpines too?

32 Responses to “A trip to the RHS Great London Plant Fair”

  1. gardeninacity April 20, 2013 at 1:53 am #

    You’re right, the Hepatica is cute.

    • Anna B April 20, 2013 at 7:20 am #

      Hehehe! Thanks Jason! I saw a program on tv about a guy who has a nursery full of these, they’re a really delightful little plant. Thanks for your comment :)

  2. Charlie@Seattle Trekker April 20, 2013 at 2:46 am #

    You photos are such great fun. I always find flower show photos to be so full of ideas and inspirations.

    • Anna B April 20, 2013 at 7:21 am #

      Thanks Charlie! The only problem is that I take so many and I want to post them all! It takes me hours to ho through them and can really delay my postings! Thanks so much for your comment :-)

  3. notjustgreenfingers April 20, 2013 at 6:10 am #

    Wow, the flowers are beautiful and your phone took the pictures beautifully. I loved the alpines and was quite amazed at how the heucheras looked together. The plastic bag, reminded me of the year I grew flowers in my husbands old boots…and they looked fab lol

    • Anna B April 20, 2013 at 7:24 am #

      Hahaa! I think I’ve seen a photo of those boots on your website?! I love the heucheras too, they really are gorgeous plants that don’t often get the recognition they deserve. I thought they looked great in those little pots put up against the bright green. Thanks so much for your comment :-)

  4. Cathy April 20, 2013 at 6:15 am #

    This is a lovely post Anna! The alpines and houseleeks are plants that love my garden, and I must make an effort to grow some more in containers too. I love this type of show where you can get good ideas – thanks for sharing! :D

    • Anna B April 20, 2013 at 7:29 am #

      Hiya Cathy! I’m so glad you enjoyed my post :-) great to hear you love alpines too, they really are lovely little things. I did get ideas from the fair and was happy that it was only quite small so we could cover it all in the little time we had. Thanks so much for dropping by, I hope you’re getting some nice gardening weather :-)

  5. Christina April 20, 2013 at 6:58 am #

    The RHS shows are great. I miss being able to go to them. I loved sharing you visit! I do like the idea of growing some edibles in containers, I just need to sort out the watering. Christina

    • Anna B April 20, 2013 at 7:38 am #

      Hello there! I’m so pleased you enjoyed your virtual visit! I love containers because it means I can get more plants in, rearrange them as often as I like and grow things pretty much anywhere. I don’t struggle with watering but some things are more needy than others. The front of my house is south facing so in summer I just give them a quick water in the evening and sometimes before work if they look thirsty. Bulbs in spring are great, they need very little care. I put all my herbs in pots too, in amongst my flowers! Thanks so much for dropping by :-)

      • Christina April 20, 2013 at 7:55 am #

        Watering here in Italy is more of a job. Only plants that need minimum water will really survive, but I want to try salad leaves in containers so I can move them into the shade and prolong the time I can grow them. I’ve planted potatoes in sacks this year for the first time, have you done that? Christina

        • Anna B April 20, 2013 at 3:36 pm #

          Hi Christina, yes I have done that! I was so disappointed that I couldn’t get them into my beds a couple of weeks back (due to the freezing weather) so I tried a few in sacks, they’re coming through already and I just keep adding earth on top for the time being. I can’t wait to see how they turn out. Looking forward to seeing how yours do too! :)

  6. pianolearner April 20, 2013 at 7:32 am #

    I like how you bought the plant and he bought the flexi-tie! Us men……..

    • Anna B April 20, 2013 at 7:41 am #

      Hahaa! Yep! It was a woman who sold it to him, she was very enthusiastic about it. It’s really cute though because when I look like I need to stake things up in the garden he comes running along with his flexi tie! It’s ace! I wasn’t sure if people would know what it was but the first website I found it on is gifts for men or something, very amusing! Thanks so much for your comment. Hope your piano playing is going well :)

  7. Jo April 20, 2013 at 11:39 am #

    Wow, some wonderful displays there, no wonder you enjoyed it. Those daffodils in your fourth photo are stunning.

    • Anna B April 20, 2013 at 3:42 pm #

      Thanks Jo! There were absolutely no daffodils out anywhere when I went to the show so it was good to see them there and some really unusual varieties too! Thanks so much for your comment :-)

  8. home, garden, life April 20, 2013 at 6:39 pm #

    Oh what a fantastic show in true English style! Love that Woodie too.

    • Anna B April 20, 2013 at 9:06 pm #

      Hello Diane! It was very British indeed. They actually had a gin garden too (a bar serving gin) and a woman did a talk all about juniper berries and gin and the effect of gin on London!

  9. Cathy April 20, 2013 at 9:38 pm #

    Some amazing displays – you must have been worn out after your day!

    • Anna B April 21, 2013 at 6:02 am #

      Hi Cathy! We were tired when we got to Rye that’s for sure! We arrived there about 8pm, it was a case of a pub meal then vegging out!!

  10. Anna April 21, 2013 at 5:21 pm #

    A grand day out Anna. Love the sempervivums. We went to the London show in February which we really enjoyed. The emphasis seems to be on different plants in March. Will have to try and get there :)

    • Anna B April 22, 2013 at 9:29 pm #

      Hi Anna! There were some really amazing alpines. One thing I did notice was the London prices! It was so interesting to just look & learn though that I really only felt compelled to buy a plant I’d never seen before. Thanks do much for dropping by :)

  11. Ricki Grady April 21, 2013 at 8:14 pm #

    Oh you Brits! Your shows look so tidy and well organized compared to our sprawling, eclectic affairs.

    • Anna B April 22, 2013 at 9:31 pm #

      Haha! Hi Ricki! It was really quite British yes, lots of ‘terribly posh’ accents from the south! I’d love to visit an American show, sounds cool!

  12. Helen April 22, 2013 at 6:46 pm #

    That looks amazing. Especially the alpines and the hellebores in containers and the sempervivums in the troughs. Are they planted, each individual “rosette” or had just grown that way? Great photos, as good as being there!
    Must say I don’t think I’ve ever been to a proper plant show, hopefully that will change this year. :)

    • Anna B April 22, 2013 at 9:34 pm #

      Hi Helen! They are impeccable aren’t they and I wonder how they get them so perfect. They are very easy to grow and spread like that but mine always grow a bit irregular, with crispy brown edges and stuff everywhere. I’d love to know their secrets!

  13. thesneakymagpie April 24, 2013 at 6:03 am #

    I’ve been to their autumn show and really enjoyed the space and atmosphere. The succulents and heucheras seem to be in all show at all seasons!

    • Anna B April 24, 2013 at 8:11 am #

      Hello Sneaky magpie! :) That’s the great thing about those plants, they’re good for all seasons! While I was walking my new dog this morning I saw that some people on a nearby street simply had bricks on their window ledges with houseleeks growing on them! I do think they look great growing on bricks but I’ve never seen anyone use them like that as a ‘window box’ before and I thought to myself, anyone can grow something somewhere even if you don’t have a garden! Back to plant fairs there’s one at Harrogate over the next few days, it’s so close to me but I don’t think I can make it this weekend :( Never mind. Maybe I’ll make it to the Autumn show in London instead! Thanks for dropping by!

  14. Janet/Plantaliscious April 29, 2013 at 9:33 pm #

    So many great ideas for containers their, love the really quirky ones. I’m not allowed containers this year, I’ve so much other stuff to do and so many plants growing that need watering. But I am pretty sure the container count will increase again the longer we are here… And I have rescued a stone trough that is crying out for some beautiful alpines…

    • Anna B April 30, 2013 at 6:04 am #

      Hi Janet, I love those stone troughs for alpines! I’m a big fan of containers because it means I can have a colourful display at the front of my house and add little splashes of colour around my allotment. Thanks so much for your comment. I’m so pleased you enjoyed the photos!

  15. Allotment adventures with Jean June 6, 2013 at 8:55 pm #

    A beautiful day out. So impressed with the alpine gardens.

    • Anna B June 6, 2013 at 9:24 pm #

      Hi Jean! The amount of care and effort that goes into looking after the little plants is truly impressive. They are such cute little plants aren’t they! Hope everything is good with you in Australia! Thanks so much for dropping by :)


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