By Sarah Wilson
The news that the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) is opening a brand new garden in 2021 has got us looking forward to next year already. RHS Bridgewater in Salford, England, is the fifth garden in the RHS portfolio and it looks set to stun. With closures due to COVID meaning that many of us missed out on visiting gardens this year, we can't wait to get out into the fresh air and enjoy what’s on offer in 2021.
The aim of the RHS is to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and in so doing make the UK a greener and more beautiful place. Well they’re certainly delivering on their promise in 2021. It goes without saying that there will be eye-popping spring bulbs, stunning cherry blossom and romantic swathes of wisteria among the treats to look forward to at all the RHS gardens.
The dazzling RHS bulb displays kick off with swathes of snowdrops in January, followed by crocus and daffodils (February/March), brightly-coloured tulips (March/April/May), then more rare bulb varieties. In addition, RHS Gardens are planting flowering cherry trees as part of a nationwide project symbolising friendship and cooperation between Japan and the UK. Efforts continue to encourage more wild bees too with the installation of wild bee nest boxes.
Read on to find out more about the exciting opening at RHS Garden Bridgewater plus all the other unmissable events happening this year. You'll be able to take home some inspiration for your own garden too, plus there's plenty more to get you motivated for 2021 in our garden design ideas.
RHS Garden Bridgewater opening in 2021
In May the opening of RHS Garden Bridgewater in Salford will establish a new destination for world-class horticulture. If you’re eager for a look at the first new RHS Garden for 20 years you’ll be rewarded with inspirational modern garden ideas and fabulous planting. The Paradise Garden by Tom Stuart-Smith is a particular highlight, featuring Mediterranean and Asiatic plants and a spectacular lily pond, while the Kitchen Garden designed by Harris Bugg Studio offers a new take on grow-your-own. There’s also a Wellbeing Garden and a seven-acre woodland play space packed with garden ideas for kids.
Drama in the borders at RHS Harlow Carr
Step into the gardens of RHS Harlow Carr and stunning new water feature ideas will be the first thing you see. Planting up of the new Sun Border will be completed by Easter and features incense cedar, bay, agapanthus and nerines. It will also feature over a hundred hebe varieties. A seating area will provide a superb vantage point for the view along the dramatic Main Borders down towards Streamside. There is a new collection of over 20 monkey puzzle trees and a new heritage orchard including 17 local apple varieties. The trees will be underplanted by bee friendly plants and meadow flowers to attract pollinators.
A Capability Brown moment at RHS Hyde Hall
Visit RHS Hyde Hall in spring and you’ll be greeted by the sight of over 120,000 daffodils, while camellias, rhododendrons and magnolias will bring warm splashes of pink and red to the woodland areas. In Floral Fantasia there are new plant trials including pansies and sweet peas, and a new rose bed will demonstrate what can be achieved with small garden ideas. Work continues to create the first Linear Arboretum, planting 200 trees per year for the next five years. Described as Hyde Hall’s ‘Capability Brown moment’, it will significantly change the garden’s character and landscape in decades to come.
Bold planting at RHS Rosemoor
Drifts of white snowdrops usher in the first signs of spring, followed by a profusion of rich purple and blue tulips and muscari complemented by pale lemon tulips, while freesias and narcissus will create a scent explosion in the greenhouse. Other seasonal highlights at RHS Rosemoor include 15 new flowering cherries and wow factor drumstick alliums in the Hot Garden. A new shelter in the Devon Apple Orchard is being built by local craftspeople using traditional rural skills. Work will continue on the project to open up previously unseen woodland areas and increase native broadleaf trees.
Wisteria hysteria at RHS Wisley
The flagship new Home of Gardening Science will open in June 2021 at RHS Wisley for a behind-the-scenes glimpse into RHS research work. A new library and archive will share previously unseen collections of botanical art and horticultural books. Three new gardens designed by world-class designers include a ‘plot to plate’ experience in the Food Garden, which features a maze-like series of raised beds and an outdoor demonstration kitchen, and a series of ‘garden rooms’ in the Wellbeing Garden enticing you to explore how gardens can be used to relax.
And the best of the rest: the RHS Partner Gardens
RHS members gain free entry to over 200 RHS Partner Gardens. New highlights for 2021 include the opening of the restored walled garden at Picton Castle in Pembrokeshire, a new contemporary design for the Flower Garden border at Cawdor Castle Gardens in the Highlands, and a new trough garden and more than 3,000 organically grown perennials at Yeo Valley Organic Gardens, Somerset, making the meadow even more stunning late into the year.
Sarah Wilson has been a lifestyle journalist for many years, writing about gardens since 2015. She's written for Gardeningetc.com, Livingetc, Homes & Gardens, as well as Country Homes & Interiors and Modern Gardens magazines.
Her own (small urban) garden is a work in progress - so many ideas, not enough space to cram them in. Hero plants include her ever growing collection of ornamental grasses, black bamboo and ferns, and the perennials like salvias and penstemons that come back reliably year after year. All very restrained though when in fact she'd love to pack her garden with gaudy dahlias and giant cannas, so these are top of her wish list for what to grow next.
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