Innovation project aims to shake up floral marquees at RHS shows this summer

Floral Marquee Innovation Project will see nurseries creating artistic displays at all RHS shows bar Chelsea this summer.

Chelsea Flower Show: outside the Floral Marquee Innovation Project - image: RHS
Chelsea Flower Show: outside the Floral Marquee Innovation Project - image: RHS

The RHS is looking to shake up its floral marquees with an idea called the Floral Marquee Innovation Project.

It will include four nurseries creating arty displays in floral marquees at every RHS show this summer apart from Chelsea. Darryl Moore, founder of urban garden/art project Cityscapes, is working as mentor of the project.

The new displays will be at the RHS Flower Show Cardiff (17-19 April) and will also be run with different nurseries each time at RHS Malvern Spring Festival (7-10 May), Gardeners' World Live (11-14 June), RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show (30 June to 5 July) and RHS Flower Show Tatton Park (22-26 July).

Plantbase owner Graham Blunt is among those launching the idea at Cardiff. He said the RHS is looking to rejig the marquees. Gardens, shows and retail director David Morley backed the move. "I'm trying to create a 3D garden for people with smaller gardens using the bookshelf idea. It's a tiered effect with shady plants at the bottom and alpines or desert plants at the top."

Jacques Amand, Floyds Clematis and Plantagogo are also among those involved. But Blunt said some traditionalist exhibitors are opposed and added that Chelsea is not part of the plan. All exhibits will still be judged in the same way.

"I think it's a good thing trying to move us away from bog-standard displays," said Blunt. "It's very, very important to do this. 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."

The RHS is also looking to change the sales table set-up in the marquees. Cityscapes presented five experimental exhibits at the RHS London Shades of Autumn Show.

Mentor's opinion

"As mentor I will be providing inspiration, design guidance and logistic support for the participating nurseries to assist them in realising new and adventurous displays of their own devising. The process involves close contact with the nurseries, including brainstorming sessions, developmental visits and installation assistance during the build-up to the shows. The project presents a great opportunity for nurseries to really find their own creative voices at shows and to increase their appeal to a wider demographic."

Darryl Moore, RHS Floral Marquee Innovation project mentor

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