Three nurseries trialled arty displays for the first time — Plantbase, Strete Gate Camellias and Hillview Hardy Plants — using mentor Daryl Moore of urban garden/art project Cityscapes to help with displays.
Four nurseries per RHS show will present more artistic displays at other RHS shows this year, apart from Chelsea. Nurseries premiered new wood-clad Danish trolley displays and information boards listing their achievements.
Plantbase owner Graham Blunt used offcuts from his house renovation to create a 3D garden for people with smaller gardens, using a bookshelf idea.
"I think it’s a very good thing trying to move us away from bog-standard displays," he said. "Horticulture needs to move on. At the moment it’s still seen as just being about pretty plants — and we need to bring in the younger generation."
Graham said his efforts to "break the mould" have improved sales of his exotic plants, which are often too big to fit in the strict display guidelines of the traditional RHS plant marquee displays.
Moore said some nurseries did not want to be involved because they were nervous that they would not win gold medals for their displays.
"The project presents a great opportunity for nurseries to really find their own creative voices at the RHS shows and to increase their appeal to a wider demographic," he added.