With garden closures meaning many missed out in 2020, the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) is hoping to welcome back visitors to its seasonal displays and more.
Here is what’s currently planned:
All four RHS gardens will welcome in spring with an array of bulb displays, starting with snowdrops, followed by fields of crocus and daffodils (February/March), tulips (March/April/May) and many other varieties.
In addition, RHS gardens are among 160 public sites across the UK to be planting flowering cherry trees across the year as part of the nationwide Sakura Cherry Tree Project symbolising friendship and cooperation between Japan and the UK.
Efforts will also continue to encourage more wild bees to the RHS gardens with the installation of wild bee nest boxes. Each box contains tubes of paper ‘straws’ where eggs laid by solitary bees such as the red mason bee, an important pollinator, can develop over winter into new adults that emerge in spring.
Unique installations and displays will also be on offer at individual RHS sites too. Just some of the many highlights include:
RHS Garden Harlow Carr, north Yorkshire
As visitors step into the garden, a new water feature and surrounding path will connect to the sandstone rock garden.
Planting up of the new Sun Border will continue throughout spring and will be completed by Easter. A new collection of over 20 monkey puzzle trees will be planted near the Bramall Learning Centre in an area where trees were previously lost to ash dieback and a new heritage orchard will include 17 apple cultivars representing the best from the local area.
A new wooden footbridge across the Queen Mother’s Lake featuring slatted sides shaped to enhance the surrounding landscape is also expected to be built.
RHS Garden Hyde Hall, Essex
In the Floral Fantasia area, new plant trials include what promises to be the most comprehensive outdoor, comparative spring pansy trial co-sponsored by the British Protected Ornamental Association (BPOA), with over 270 cultivars being put to the test (April).
Also in Floral Fantasia, a new rose bed will aim to demonstrate what can be achieved in small gardens. This features the new bedding plant rose ‘Precious Series’ in three colours and has four standards above 16 bushes.
In late summer, new dahlia displays will bring colour throughout the garden and work continues to create the first Linear Arboretum at an RHS Garden with around 200 new specimen trees including 120 flowering cherries set to be planted across the garden this year.
RHS Garden Rosemoor, Devon
Come spring, the bedding by the Welcome Building will feature rich purples and blues (Tulipa ‘Merlot’, Muscari ‘Joyce Spirit’ & Muscari ‘Superstar’) complemented by the pale lemon of Tulipa ‘Vanilla Cream’, while the greenhouse in the fruit and vegetable garden will be bursting with freesias and Narcissus ‘Paper White Grandiflorus’.
Other seasonal highlights will include the celebrated Collingwood ‘Cherry’ Ingram collection, joined by 15 new flowering cherries, and a newly designated National Plant Collections of Ruscus, hardy nerines and Iris will be on display.
RHS Garden Wisley, Surrey
The flagship new RHS Hilltop – The Home of Gardening Science is set to open in June this year. For the first time, this landmark development will give visitors a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the charity’s science work researching gardening challenges ranging from extreme weather to pests and diseases. The centre includes three purpose-built laboratories, a herbarium with digitisation suite, two learning studios and a teaching garden, while a new library and archive will enable the RHS to open up and share not-seen-before collections of botanical art, horticultural books and other records.
Wrapping around RHS Hilltop will be three new gardens, the Wildlife Garden and World Food Garden by Ann-Marie Powell and the Wellbeing Garden by Matt Keightley. Combined, these gardens will cover more than 17,000 square metres and include 150,000 bulbs, 53,000 perennial plants and over 300 new trees.
In addition, new plantings of white-flowered Cornus kousa and blue camassia will be going into the area where the fruit and vegetable gardens are currently to connect The Lane with the rose garden.
RHS Garden Bridgewater, Greater Manchester
In May, the grand opening of RHS Garden Bridgewater in Salford, postponed from July 2020, will establish a new destination for world-class horticulture in the North West of England.
Gardeners eager for a look at the first new RHS Garden for 20 years will supposedly see ‘modern design and thought-provoking planting’. The Paradise Garden by Tom Stuart-Smith will be a particular highlight, with Mediterranean and Asiatic plantings and a spectacular lily pond at its heart, while the Kitchen Garden designed by Harris Bugg Studio offers a new take on grow-your-own, with sections dedicated to agroforestry, classic and ornamental productive gardening.
For more information on all of the RHS Gardens, visit www.rhs.org.uk