7 February 1997



SCOTLANDS gardeners have a treat in store this summer – Scotlands National Gardening Show, a three-day event run by the Royal Horticultural Society in conjunction with the Horticultural Traders Association and the NFU.

It will be held at Strathclyde Country Park, Lanarkshire, from Fri, May 30 to Sun, June 1 (tickets 01698-507000).

"The feel of the show will be a mix of the Malvern and Hampton Court shows, with a clear horticultural identity and a strong Scottish character," says RHS show director Stephen Bennett.

A third of the exhibitors will come from north of the border, including some new to showing, and this proportion is expected to grow in subsequent years.

The venue will provide a loch and riverside setting for exhibitions, floral marquees, themed gardens and magnificent displays, says Mr Bennett.

The RHS is also working with Cheshire County Council on plans to stage a new show in the north-west. This will be held at Tatton Park, near Manchester, "hopefully, before the end of the century," says Mr Bennett. "The character of the show will be inspired by the rich horticultural heritage and history of the north-west," he adds.

Revenue from the flagship shows Chelsea (May 20-23, ticket hotline 0171-344 4343) and Hampton Court (July 8-13, tickets 0171-344 4444) will help fund these new projects, and the RHS aims to ensure that no two shows look or feel alike.

The society will again stage two shows in conjunction with the Three Counties Agricultural Society on the TCAG showground, the Malvern Spring Gardening Show (May 9-11, inquiries 01684-892751) and the Malvern Autumn Show (Sept 27-28).

The BBC Gardeners World Live event at the NEC, Birmingham (June 11-15, tickets 0121-767 4111) is now organised by the RHS. This event is strong on spectacle (geraniums taller than a horse, for example) and gardening celebrities.

lEducation is one of the main concerns of the society and 1997 will see the development of a new two-year training programme at the RHS gardens at Wisley, Surrey. This will lead to an RHS diploma in practical horticulture, and students will be able to spend three months in each of the eight garden departments instead of the current four departments over one year.

An artists impression of Scotlands National Gardening Show site.