Tuesday, 23 April 2013

RHS Flower Show Cardiff 2013

I visited my friends in Bridgend last weekend, and we took advantage of the glorious weather on Saturday to go to the RHS Flower Show Cardiff. Apparently, that turned out to be the busiest day in the Cardiff show’s nine year history, with 9000 people visiting.

Daffodils were all around us, as you’d expect, with some brilliant names – Baby Boomer, Sophie's Choice, and Doctor Who (Quality Daffodils developed this variety to celebrate the television show, filmed in Cardiff, which is fifty years old). Quality Daffodils won the award for the best exhibit in the marquee (you can see a photo showing the length of its gorgeous display) and what is incredible (and fascinating for a florist) is that the display was of cut flowers which had been painstakingly cared for and arranged. There were other spring flowers, including some stunning primulas, a pale and pretty muscari called Babys Breath (which, fortunately, has the usual bubblegum scent and not the slightly nasty smell of gypsophila) and an astilbe called Drum and Bass Pink! Pheasant Acre Plants, who I’d seen at Wisley (and who most of my indoor bulbs are from) also had a beautiful display.

There were more stalls and fewer big garden displays than some of the other flower shows, but there were still many beautiful displays by the growers, and a colourful exhibition of literary-inspired, plant-filled wheelbarrows which were made by Welsh primary school children. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Treasure Island were popular choices, but there were also great entries inspired by The Hobbit and Rapunzel, as well as one where I didn’t know the book but I liked the Cardiff City FC symbolism and the beautiful fritillaries and daffodils!

 The atmosphere was fantastic – maybe because of the location (right in the centre of the city, by Cardiff Castle) or maybe Welsh families are more outdoorsy than English ones (I’m sorry, what an unpatriotic thing for me to say on St George’s Day!) – but it felt like a festival rather than a flower show, with people sunning themselves and eating the delicious ice cream that was served in several stalls. And after the longest, coldest winter that I can remember, it was a joy to see blue skies and blossom-filled trees, and feel the warmth of the sunshine. By the time I returned to England on Sunday, the narcissi and fritillaries in the garden, which had been so shy to grow, had suddenly shot up and blossomed.