RHS Urban Show - neon sign at show

Review: RHS Urban Show at Depot Mayfield Manchester ★★★★

The debut of the RHS Urban Show in Manchester is a wonderland for all ages interested in plants, flowers and creating a vibrant living garden in our cities.

Review: RHS Urban Show at Depot Mayfield Manchester ★★★★ 1

It shouldn’t work, the show is in a cavernous, freezing space with no natural light, but somehow the experts at RHS have pulled it off an inspiring day of florabundance at the repurposed industrial heart of the UK’s most progressive city.

Review: RHS Urban Show at Depot Mayfield Manchester ★★★★ 2

The show is filled with ideas to re-wild our cities from balcony gardens, houseplants, small gardens and growing our own food. Forget the old image of gardening the Royal Horticultural Society is shaking things up with a smorgasbord of inspirational garden design, plant sellers and installation art.

Review: RHS Urban Show at Depot Mayfield Manchester ★★★★ 3
Flourish Manchester’s cut flower paradise

Highlights from the show included:

Beginner buddies cube at RHS Urban Show
Beginner buddies cube at RHS Urban Show
  • Planting inspiration in various show gardens like the tiny Alpines from the Alpine Garden Society, urban shade garden spectacular by Designer Conal McGuire and Andrew Simpson’s fabulous starter-plants rainbow cube referencing Manchester’s status as an LGBTQ+ haven.
Urban Shade Cube
Urban Shade Cube
  • Stunning site specific floral creations, which brought including ‘Reclaimed by nature’ By David Jayet-Laraffe of Frog, Textural immersion by Hannah Clark of The Bud and Pot is a glorious rejection of every flower needing to be the same in floristry and a florist shop installation of dreams made by Manchester’s own Matthew Cox from Flourish.
Textural immersion by Hannah Clark of The Bud and Pot
Textural immersion by Hannah Clark of The Bud and Pot
  • Science experiments including robot dogs a la a certain Black Mirror episode and mushroom growing towers that looked very E.T.
'Reclaimed by nature' By David Jayet-Laraffe of Frog
‘Reclaimed by nature’ By David Jayet-Laraffe of Frog
  • Four gorgeous mini balcony gardens, each facing a different direction, to cover varying aspects co-designed by students from Manchester Metropolitan University as part of their Rise programme.
  • A seductive dark urban forest installation demonstrates the practice of felling 10% of trees to provide light to the forest floor, encouraging a healthy layer of under planting to thrive. Nathan Webster designs and the immersive lights are by Kris O’Brine.
Review: RHS Urban Show at Depot Mayfield Manchester ★★★★ 4
A fabulous Streptocarpus plant from Dibleys Nurseries

Final thoughts on the RHS Urban Show

The astounding success of the RHS Urban Show will hopefully merit future shows in our cities around the UK. The show is a huge success for bringing gardening to a hip younger crowd and encouraging the next generation to take houseplants and urban gardening further.

Review: RHS Urban Show at Depot Mayfield Manchester ★★★★ 5

If anything is missing it’s a more social atmosphere at the show as Manchester is such a party city. The coffee shops and food areas are all a little lackluster for this internationally renowned culinary city.

Next time it would be great to have more of a festival vibe with more live music, better food options with planting attached and more satellite spaces particularly outdoors as the show feels pretty dark and theatrical. The concrete outside food areas were drab and the pub garden area inside was a little underwhelming despite much hype.

Next up after the RHS are: