The RHS Flower Show Cardiff 2018

Mini landscape show garden RHS Cardiff Show 2018 Green Fingered BlogHere are a few highlights from the RHS Flower Show Cardiff 2018, the first outdoor RHS show of the year.

The RHS Cardiff Show is a great way to get your gardening year underway. With winter finally gone, it's a chance to spend a day immersed in gardens and plants, and come away with ideas and inspiration for your own garden. Here are just a few things that caught my eye:

The RHS Flower Show Cardiff  2018

An evocative miniature landscape 

The title picture above is the Cwm Caerdydd show garden by Adam and Richard Davis of Evergreen Wales. "Cwm" is Welsh for valley, and "Caerdydd" is Cardiff. The father and son team designed this garden as a naturalistic interpretation of the South Wales landscape. 

I liked that it could be viewed from all sides. I think it's important for gardens to make you move around them to be able to see everything they have to offer. Each side offers a different viewpoint and a new perspective.

They've combined a birch wood, a glacial valley with a waterfall, natural stone and wildflowers to bring the essence of wild South Wales to a show garden - a sort of garden capriccio. 

It is certainly evocative - as soon as I set eyes on it I was transported back to a family outing to the Sgwd Henrhyd waterfall in the Brecon Beacons,  where we walked behind the falling water. This garden also features a cave behind the waterfall which offers a place to sit and relax.  

Mini landscape show garden RHS Cardiff Show 2018 Green Fingered Blog
"Cwm Caerdydd" show garden by Evergreen Wales
It's a fine example of how a garden can be inspired by nature, and how it can take you in your mind to somewhere else entirely, by bringing a piece of that place to you.  

Upcycling ideas for your garden

There are lots of examples of upcycling at the show this year. Car tyres have been repurposed into seats, steel re-bar into a bridge, jars into terrariums and logs into bug hotels. The Reimagined Past show garden, designed by Pam Creed, featured several such ideas.

It is an outdoor room, surrounded by some beautiful planting, using extremely clever combinations of euphorbia, lamium, hellebore, anemanthele and heuchera, amongst others, to produce a lovely subtle blend of bronze, purple and pink tones, occasionally offset by zesty yellow and greens.

The paving, walls and furniture are made from reclaimed materials, some of them quite surprising. There is an outdoor fireplace, and a porcelain sink mounted on the wall as a planter. But my favourite was the sash window weights that you can see in the foreground as a decorative addition.
Reimagined Past show garden RHS Cardiff Show 2018 Green Fingered Blog
Reimagined Past show garden by Pam Creed

Scilla peruviana

If you thought Scilla were little tiny flowers think again. This variety on display at the Harts Nursery stand resembles a protea flower as it's bright blue flowers begin to open. Quite striking.

Scilla peruviana RHS Cardiff Show 2018 Green Fingered Blog
Scilla peruviana

Arisaema sikokianum

Equally striking, and in my opinion even more unusual, is this. A deep purple spathe holds a pure white spadix on this woodland plant on display on the Millwood Plants exhibit which was judged the best of all those in the floral marquee. Very eye catching, it had plenty of people stopping for a closer look. 
Arisaema sikokianum RHS Cardiff Show 2018 Green Fingered Blog
Arisaema sikokianum

An alpine display in a pot

Coming as it does fairly early in spring, the Cardiff show is an ideal time for alpine growers to show off their wares. If you have upwards of £500 to spare you can take home something like this from Darcy & Everest. A spectacular handmade alpine dish, probably almost two metres across, and planted with some beautiful spring flowering alpines, amongst the gravel and stone.

Large alpine pot RHS Cardiff Show 2018 Green Fingered Blog
Large alpine pot display

It looks fabulous, but if the price is a bit steep, don't worry. You can make a similar display yourself (though a bit smaller!) using a broken pot.

Daphne x hendersonii Ernst Hauser

Daphne is one of the strongest and sweetest fragrances you can have in your garden. I have one outside my front door and love smelling it as I pass by in spring.

So when I spotted an alpine version of a daphne on the Ice Alpines stand, I was very curious as I had never heard of an alpine daphne before. I may have been far more susceptible than I ought to be, but the little notice next to it describing it as infrequently available was enough to reel me in. This one was planted in my rock garden before darkness fell!
Daphne hendersonii Ernst Hauser RHS Cardiff Show 2018 Green Fingered Blog
Daphne hendersonii Ernst Hauser

There are plenty of flower buds on it so I expect to enjoy the heady scent soon.

This post is part of a link up: Six on Saturday, organised by The PropagatorVisit his site to see what loads of other people have been looking at this week. As a special bonus, I have a seventh item for you - I couldn't resist including this hedgehog from the Wildlife Trust exhibit at the show. Made from garden prunings and promoting gardens as fun for children and homely for wildlife, it deserves a place.

Brushwood hedgehog RHS Cardiff Show 2018 Green Fingered Blog
Brushwood hedgehog

That's all I've got room for for now, but the RHS Flower Show Cardiff is open until Sunday if you can get along. If you can't make it, I'll be sharing more ideas and inspiration I found there, so please come back soon to see what else I found.


  1. That hedgehog is cute! I had never heard of alpine Daphne either - do update us on the scent please.

    1. I'll be checking it out the minute it opens!!

  2. Hi Paul,
    I went along this morning and I loved the Cwm Caerdydd show garden too! I have been to Chelsea but not to Cardiff and I liked that it was small but there were not enough show gardens in my opinion. Loved the flower marques though although didn’t buy anything...trying to be good! Did you buy anything Paul?
    Lovely 6!

    1. I've never been to Chelsea but it always looks absolutely swarming with people, which must make it difficult to see everything I would imagine. The Cardiff show is a bit more intimate I suspect but I agree with you about the show gardens - they are a highlight for me and I'd love to have more of them to look at and study.
      Did I buy anything? of course! Apart from the Daphne above, I came home with some alpines, a white astrantia that was on my wishlist for a while but I'd been unable to find in any garden centres, a hymenocallis bulb, and some air plants!! Probably could have bought more but was travelling by bus!!

  3. Loved the upcycle photo as well as the idea. All the photos make it look like an event not to miss.

    1. I love it! Always lots of ideas and inspiration.