CARDIFF RHS FLOWER SHOW 2019
Article by David Marks
The Cardiff RHS Flower Show has one advantage that none of the other RHS shows can offer, it’s the first one to be held each year. Unlike many of the others, it is early enough in the year to gain inspiration and act on it. April, when the show is held, is early enough in the year to successfully plant all those shrubs, plants and vegetables.
This totally independent guide from GardenFocused is intended to provide you with information about the show to help you enjoy it more. It opens up below with several top tips about the show, and you won’t find these anywhere else!
For 2019, the show will be held at Bute Park, Cardiff Castle, Cardiff CF10 1BJ from Friday 12 April to Sunday 14 April. Friday and Saturday opening hours are 10.00am to 5.30pm, on the Sunday they close an hour earlier at 4.30.
Tip Number One is that at 4.00 on the last day of the show, plants are sold off cheaply by the exhibitors in the Floral Marquee and Plant Village. Be there on time and pick up bargain, show quality plants and shrubs.
Tip Number Two is to pre-book your parking space (cost £10 or £5 for disabled) or use the Park and Ride (see tip Three below). We arrived just half an hour after the show opened (10.00am) in 2018 and were refused entry to the car park, along with many others. All the spaces had been taken except for those who had pre-booked.
Also be aware that very close to the date of the show, pre-booking may not be possible because all spaces may well have been taken. Certainly on Friday evening, the RHS website was reporting that all spaces for the Saturday and Sunday had been booked.
We only just managed to find a space in a nearby car park (£11.00) but spaces anywhere near Bute Park were filling up extremely fast and we suspect that there would be none available by as early as 11.30am.
Top Tip Three is that unless you are able to pre-book, we would strongly recommend that you use the Park and Ride on the Friday and Sunday, there is no Park and Ride on the Sunday. The Cardiff East Park and Ride runs every 15 minutes and the post code for sat navs is CF23 8HH near J29 of the M4. The bus will drop you off in the city centre and there are clear signs to the show.
Top Tip Number Four is to wear wellingtons or similar weather proof footwear. On the day we visited the weather was dry but even so, the grassed areas were bare and slippery. If the weather was wet, walking off the narrow paths could cause significant walking problems.
Top Tip Number Five is to be prepared for significant traffic jams on show days. RHS Cardiff is a very popular show and the whole town jams up with cars. Allow an extra 40 minutes or so just to travel the last couple of miles. It’s not a problem for most but being aware that this will be the case makes it less stressful.
Your Top Tips, if you have any additional tips to help other readers, use our comments section at the end of this article. We will add them so that others can be helped.
The show is aimed firstly at entertaining families with events and activities throughout the day for kids of all ages and adults. It’s also aimed at gardeners, from newcomers to this hobby through to seasoned experts.
WHEELBARROW GARDEN COMPETITION
Let’s face it, if you visit the Cardiff Show as a family it’s important to keep your children interested in what’s going on. There’s plenty for them to do and see at this show including the chance to create their very own flower arrangement.
Each year the RHS set a theme for the Wheelbarrow Garden competition. In 2017 it was Myths and Legends of Wales, in 2018 it was The Sea. In 2019 the theme is Year of Discovery which is very open to interpretation. The winners each year are decided by visitors to the show by vote. The top three wheelbarrow garden win prizes of National Garden Gift Vouchers.
Only 60 entries were allowed in 2018 and the same is likely for the 2019 competition. So entrants need to register their entries early.
Youngsters will be fascinated to see how other children from local schools and organisations have created mini-themed gardens in wheelbarrows. Even adults will be impressed by this annual competition.
The picture above was of a wheelbarrow garden entitled “An Octupus’s Garden”. Colourful yes, but with a very definite message behind it. Plastics in the sea dramatically affect sea life.
The above wheelbarrow garden also illustrates some of the plastic which can be found in the sea.
SHOW GARDENS AT RHS CARDIFF SHOW
Show gardens should inspire amateur gardeners to develop ideas which can be used when they develop their own gardens. There are several show gardens each year at the RHS Cardiff show each year and they definitely achieve their intended objective.
Reflection in the Past Garden
RHS Flower Show Cardiff
FLORAL MARQUEES RHS FLOWER SHOW CARDIFF
The demand to exhibit in the floral marquee at RHS Flower Show Cardiff is so great that a few years ago they expanded the show area to two marquees. The range of plants and gardening accessories is expansive and all can be bought on site, often at a discount.
Hosta Display by Brookfield Plants
RHS Flower Show Cardiff
It does become very crowded in the floral marquees throughout most of the day but this is normal at these large shows. Because the show is held in April the temperature inside the marquees is very pleasant.
FOOD AT THE RHS FLOWER SHOW CARDIFF
The number of food outlets at the show is astonishingly large and the cover all types of cuisine. Visitors are certainly spoilt for choice. Prices are on the high side with a plain burger costing £5.80 and high prices again for soft drinks. But this is common at events of this type. If you are on a budget it will be worthwhile bringing your own food and drinks.
Seating however is in very short supply and there is an endless stream of people circling the seating areas looking for seats. Some of the seats are in a covered area but by no means all.
One way to solve this problem is to buy your food first and then sit around the bandstand where there are far more vacant seats. Listening to music while you munch your lunch is an excellent way to spend half an hour.
The music goes on all day with two different bands rotating every hour. The programme for the bandstand is well shown near that area if you are particular about the type of music you want to listen to.
TALKS AT THE RHS FLOWER SHOW CARDIFF
Throughout each of the three days there are a series of talks from celebrities and experts in all matters gardening. These are held in a covered marquee and the program is clearly displayed just outside it.
These are not just rainy day attractions, they are well worth attending whatever the weather. In 2018 we listened to Matthew Biggs from Gardeners Question Time and it was very entertaining and informative. Each talk lasts about 20 minutes. Our top vote for 2019 goes to Jonathan Moseley, Floral Designer