What more uplifting way for a group to enjoy a day out in Spring than at an RHS Garden, with their fabulous displays of bulbs, blossoms and special events. From the Royal Horticultural Society’s historic home, RHS Garden Wisley in Surrey, to the beautiful RHS Garden Rosemoor in Devon, and from RHS Garden Harlow Carr in Harrogate to the wide open spaces of RHS Garden Hyde Hall in Essex, there are also a range of Spring Flower Shows to kick-start the Flower Show Season.
Commenting, Melissa Hackney, Group Sales and Marketing Manager, says ‘Spring is one of the most popular times to visit our gardens as they all show new signs of life and wonderful spring displays, which makes a fabulous day out for groups. With coach-friendly status and plenty of options for group activities from an organized tour to special catering packages, we’re always delighted to welcome groups to enjoy the gardens and there are also some lovely Spring Flower Shows to choose from in Cardiff and Malvern.’ The following are highlights of what’s on when in the Gardens in 2019:
RHS Garden Wisley: The historic home of the RHS
The historic home of the RHS with one of the largest plant collections in the world, RHS Garden Wisley was founded more than 100 years ago in the heart of Surrey countryside. Wisley is famous for its spring displays with huge collections of magnolias and rhododendrons bringing colour to the woodland gardens, generous swathes of bulbs carpeting the lawns and borders and the alpine house is also a treat. April through to May sees blossom and daffodils throughout the arboretum; and in the Orchard, and a magnificent range of starry white, pink and purple magnolias. Enjoy camellias, rhododendrons and carpets of erythroniums in the woodland and a flourish of 15,000 tulips in the top terrace. As April turns to May, it is the perfect time to see the garden’s iconic Wisteria, including a splendid 75m Wisteria Walk featuring dark purple and mauve blooms. The oldest and most diverse of the four RHS gardens, its collections include cultivated plants of national significance as well as fascinating blend of historical and modern and cultivated planting. Groups love it for its unrivalled selection of plants and fabulous displays which continually change as the seasons progress.
• Special events in Spring include a Spring Plant Fair from 20-22 March and a Spring Craft Fair from 29 April – 3 May. Prices from £12.20pp when pre-booking groups of 10 plus.
RHS Garden Hyde Hall: A hilltop haven in the heart of Essex
This peaceful garden is a perfect destination for groups, who love the eclectic combination of gardens on offer. As spring starts to creep up, the garden shows new signs of life, with golden daffodils and the blues and purples of grape hyacinths and winter windflowers. Tulips, marsh marigolds and gorgeous malus tree blossoms also come to life at this time of year. With its wide-open skies and far reaching views, there are some 360 acres to explore. Highlights include the fascinating Mediterranean inspired Dry Garden which showcases an array of drought tolerant plants that thrive in an area which is actually in the driest part of the UK. Originally a farm, which was gifted to the RHS 25 years ago, it features a beautiful hilltop garden, rose garden, woodland, meadows and pasture which seamlessly stretches into the vast open countryside. Reflecting its heritage and links to edibles in the surrounding area, there is also a superb Global Growth Vegetable Garden showcasing fruit and vegetables from around the world.
• Special events in Spring include a Plant Heritage Fair on 25-26 April, an Alpine Show from 2-3 May, a Craft Fair from 3 – 6 May and an Anglian Potters Exhibition from 23-31 May. Prices from £9.50pp when pre-booking groups of 10 plus.
RHS Garden Rosemoor: The Perfect Day Out for Groups
Nestled in North Devon’s beautiful Torridge Valley, in between Exmoor and Dartmoor National Parks, Rosemoor is a hidden gem and a real treat for garden lovers at any time of year. Spring is no exception – as all around the garden there is fabulous colour from the wood anemones in the Upper Woodlands, on to daffodils, rhododendrons and camellias and Japanese flowering cherries as the season progresses. Spread across 65 acres, the original garden was created by Lady Anne Berry over a period of thirty years and has continued to develop as a true plantsman’s garden, with plenty of areas of interest and incredible beauty ranging from Rosemoor’s remarkable 150 metre Long Borders and vibrantly coloured Hot Garden to a fascinating Arboretum containing Lady Anne’s meticulous records of the origin of every plant in her collection. Consistently rated one of the best places in the UK to see roses, it has two outstanding rose gardens – the Queen Mother’s Rose Garden and more traditional Shrub Rose Garden. It is particularly popular for groups as part of a broader North Devon itinerary and offers a quintessential English garden experience.
• Special events in Spring include a Spring Flower Festival from 14 – 15 March, the RHS National Rhododendron Show from 25 – 26 April, the Spring Craft Fair from 1-3 May and the Plant Heritage Plant Fair from 9-10 May. Prices from £7pp when pre-booking groups of 10 plus.
RHS Garden Harlow Carr: Yorkshire’s Must Visit Garden
Harlow Carr captures the essence of Yorkshire within a beautiful garden setting. On the outskirts of Harrogate, in 68 acres of glorious wooded valley, this must-visit garden inspires with its innovative design and creative planting. Harlow Carr in spring is a treat for the senses. From waves of bright spring bulbs to enchanting rhododendrons in the woodland, spring is a joy at Harlow Carr. The season starts with over 1/4 million bulbs including snowdrops, daffodils, bluebells, iris, crocus and grape hyacinths. Whilst in May, the Rhododendrons – of all shapes and sizes and ranging from white to scarlet – are a must-see. Initially laid out around the site of a Victorian hotel and bathhouse, the gardens were developed after the Second World War when the newly formed Northern Horticultural Society leased the land and opened it as Harlow Carr Botanical Gardens in 1950. Amalgamating with the RHS in 2001, the garden has continued to develop with design features evoking the surrounding landscapes, including water features, dry stone walling and wooded areas. Groups love the authentic Yorkshire feel of the garden as well as the very popular on site Bettys tea room. Particular highlights are the colourful herbaceous borders, Woodland Glade with its seasonal flourishes of rhododendrons, narcissi, foxgloves and giant Himalayan lilies, the Alpine House, raised Kitchen Garden of fruit, vegetables, flowers and willow and the walk along one of the country’s longest streamside gardens.
• Special events in Spring include a Meet the Experts Cyclamen day on 5th April and a Spring Gardening Weekend from 2-3 May as well as a Plant Heritage Spring Fair. Prices from £9.50pp when pre-booking groups of 10 plus. Guided tours £3 per person for groups of 10.
RHS Flower Show Cardiff: 17 – 19 April 2020: Brimming with the colours and scents of spring, RHS Flower Show Cardiff is the perfect place to kick-start your gardening year. There’s plenty to see and do with seasonal ideas for your garden, stunning floral displays, talks, workshops and fabulous shopping. Set in Bute Park in the heart of Cardiff city centre, the show celebrates a love of the outdoors, creativity, and the wonder of springtime. Group Rates from: £12 per person 10+
RHS Malvern Spring Festival: 7-10 May 2020: Set against the magnificent Malvern Hills, the RHS Malvern Spring Festival is packed with gardening, food and floristry. Based at the Three Counties Showground in Malvern, Worcestershire, it offers the perfect opportunity to prepare for the upcoming gardening season. Gather inspiration from over 70 hand-picked nurseries in the prized Floral Marquee and pick up helpful tips through a series of talks and demonstrations from gardening greats. Ask about special options for exploring the show on a tour with an expert guide. Group Rates to be announced shortly.