From the moment I entered the Lindley Hall today, I knew something was different. This was an RHS London Show, but it wasn’t just any show. The display stalls were set at jaunty angles, there were no trestle tables- just chipboard on rock cages, some plants hung upside down, moss was dripping from shelves, and cacti and succulents were caged behind wire, glimmering against some green light sabres. What had the RHS gone and done??
Something damn good, that’s what!
Finally, the tide seems to have turned with horticulture. Many of us have spent so long grumbling that nobody new is coming into the industry, despite Instagram being chocked to the brim with hashtag succulent, and East London spawning a new houseplant shop every week.
It was a delight to see the blend of the old and the new. Staunch RHS members at first seemed slightly puzzled by the installations, and the presence of botanically tattooed, purple-haired humans in wide trousers. But, soon, they relaxed, and realised that this was horticulture meets arts and crafts, and everyone was loving it! Most importantly, these were new faces, and their enthusiasm for growing things was unmistakable. How had we all missed this until now??
Everything felt so fresh and the atmosphere was buzzing. The entrance way was flanked with Monstera deliciosa and other gargantuan gems, and visitors were soon greeted by the aromas of a range of plant-based foods, including some yummy polenta cake, and the sight of an olive grove by the Norfolk Olive Tree Company!
There were so many great ideas on new ways to display your plants too, from the wonderfully burlesque curves of the Tanti Design containers to the translucent pot sets from Boskke. Repurposing was also gaining some ground too.
Cacti and succulents are getting so much press right now- because they are great for beginners! Watch my interview with brand new Prick Cactus shop owner, Gynelle, here! She had plants in all shapes and sizes, and it was a delight to see these ‘newbie horts’ selecting what would become their special plant purchase of the day! There were also some gorgeous clay figurine cactus at the show, by This Way to the Circus!
Technology also had a place at the show, as leading gardening app GardenTags were busy recruiting users to the popular programme, dubbed as ‘Instagram for plants’. Their competition to #tagitgreen was very popular too. If you’re planning to visit the show, you can find out more about it all here, you might even get to see their gardening horror movie! Read more my partnership with them too.
Everywhere I turned, people were enjoying this show, eager to upload their beautiful snapshots to social media as soon as they could. In fact, some were clogging in aisles in their pursuit to do so. But, we didn’t mind, as they were spreading the word about horticulture to the world outside!
So, well done to The RHS, horticulture seems to have ARRIVED. The masses are out there enjoying it; either potting up indoor plants, making kokedama and terrariums, or installing olive trees in their conservatories. But, it’s not just that, they are out there showing it off to their friends too, thanks to the advent of social media and the ‘digital garden fence’!
Growing stuff is now trendy, and that’s no bad thing.
The last day of the show is tomorrow, Sunday 13 November, make sure you visit!