The first ever RHS Urban Show is coming to Manchester

The inaugural event will happen at Depot Mayfield with 'cloud gardening' and 'punk rockery'

By Ben Arnold | 10 April 2024

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Garden designer Tom Wilkes-Rios dusts between leaves of succulents on his balcony garden 'The Blue Garden', during build-up of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2022, Thursday May 19, 2022. The show returns for the first time in spring for three years and opens to the public May 24...RHS / Luke MacGregor

The inaugural RHS Urban Show is coming to Manchester later this month.

Taking place at the Depot Mayfield from 18 to 21 April, the RHS will celebrate its 220th anniversary with its first large-scale indoor event, exploring the ‘cutting-edge of modern gardening’, taking in everything from how to garden in small, urban spaces to an exhibit celebrating the Manchester music scene.

Among the exhibitors will be viral gardening influencer Jason Williams, who with his Instagram page The Cloud Gardener, has brought garden design from his 18th floor balcony to a whole new audience on social media.

Designed through a collaborative process involving students on Manchester Metropolitan University’s Rise programme and Notcutts Garden Centre, his exhibit, called Cloudscape, brings together four balconies each facing north, south, east and west with a maximum budget of £500, a north-facing shaded rented patio, an urban farm and a communal garden.

Cloud Gardener

Williams said: “The concept as a whole is an ambitious blueprint of how we can bring a city together. These are not show gardens, they are learning exhibits designed to teach residents, local authorities, retail and developers how we can all improve to make our towns and cities greener.”

Meanwhile, Midlands-based garden designer Amanda Grimes will present Pop Culture Planting: Punk Rockery, the New Wave and 24-Hour Party Planting, an exhibit which takes in influences from some unlikely places.

“Punk Rockery hits Manchester in the same way the Sex Pistols did in June 1976, though possibly with less swearing and a bigger audience,” she said.

“That now-legendary gig was the spark that lit the touch paper of the whole Manchester New Wave music scene which included the Buzzcocks, Joy Division/New Order, The Fall, Magazine, The Smiths and Factory Records, and went on to inspire so many more.

“The installation is named in honour of all that creativity which was, and still is, uniquely Mancunian. 24-Hour Party Planting is a celebration of Manchester’s thriving nightlife, restaurant and entertainment scene.


“It references the Happy Mondays’ track of the same name, and with it the hedonistic days of the Hacienda. It traces that legacy through to 2024 and the incredibly diverse, vibrant and endlessly creative energy of the Gay Village, Northern Quarter, Salford and beyond.”

As well as exhibits, there will be talks, workshops and shopping opportunities, including indoor and outdoor plants, pots, clothing and crafts.

Elsewhere, there will also be free guided tours of the next door Mayfield Park, where you’ll be able to hear from the designers and architects of the new park about the regeneration of the area.

Lex Falleyn, show manager for the RHS Urban Show, said: “Urban Gardening is diverse and dynamic and the inaugural RHS Urban Show is an exciting opportunity to explore the important role gardening plays in greening up cities.

“We’ve chosen to work with a wide range of gardeners, from award-winning designers to community groups to enthusiasts who juggle gardening with day-to-day life. We hope this will bring a balance of relevant yet realistic advice to get people growing.”

Tickets can be purchased here…

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