The RHS Wisley Flower Show, the last major event in the UK flower show year to be held from 6 – 11 September, returns in 2016 with a record 75 nurseries and garden tradestands offering their wares, including 17 nurseries attending for the first time.
The vibrant visual feast will be enhanced by more than 100 exhibitors competing for the top prizes in the National Dahlia Society Annual Show. Visitors can enter the ‘My Best Garden Dahlia’ competition, by bringing along a single stem by 11am on Saturday or Sunday (judging at noon; prizes awarded at 3pm).
Surrey National Association of Flower Arrangement Societies (NAFAS) will be exhibiting its magnificent floral art creations under the theme ‘Not Quite Strictly’ in the Floral Ballroom Marquee, with more than 100 floral designers ‘taking to the floor’ using the finest flowers and latest techniques.
No fewer than 55 of the UK’s best nurseries, including Gold and other medal winners at the RHS Chelsea and Hampton Court Flower Palace Shows, will offer plants for sale. Of these, 17 are attending for the first time including Lime Cross, a family-run business specialising in conifers, trees and shrubs, and Ottershaw Cacti, which runs one of the largest private collections of cactus and succulents.
Pepperpot Nursery sells a wide range of unusual herbs, such as catnip, comfrey and heartsease, as well as interesting selections of common herbs such as mint ‘Chocolate Peppermint’. T3 Plants supplies unusual plants, specialising in abutilons and salvias, and Stafford Lake produces some of the finest hostas available.
New tradestands include Backdoor Shoes, which offers garden shoes with patterns from meadows and bluebells to tulips and roses; botanical artist Linda Alexander; Rhino Greenhouses; and Turtle Mats, which offers colourful washable doormats, rugs and dirt-trapper mats.
There will be a strong programme of demonstrations on floral arranging by NAFAS, talks by exhibitors and RHS Garden Wisley curatorial staff and students on a wide range of gardening topics, and the show also offers the chance to source free, authoritative gardening advice from the Royal Horticultural Society.
Matthew Pottage, curator at RHS Garden Wisley, said: “The Flower Show is growing in size and popularity ever year, partly because it offers the chance to buy the very late summer hot coloured plants, which are different from those on sale at the earlier summer shows. It’s also a great time to see the garden in glorious late summer bloom, with spectacular flowers such as Japanese anemones, fiery ruby, orange and yellow heleniums, pink and purple phlox and pink and red Hesperantha..’
As well as Wisley’s flowers, the kitchen garden will be at its best, and the fruit trees will also be starting to come into their own, with fruit such as pears and plums starting to ripen. The Surrey Sculpture Society Trail around the garden will feature around 60 sculptures from established and up-and-coming artists from across South East England, all available to buy.
There will be a free shuttle bus from Horsley station every 20 minutes throughout opening hours of the show, and those who travel by train will receive 25% off their entry ticket.
See rhs.org.uk/wisley for details and to book.