Contemporary garden fair GROW London, which runs from June 24-26 on Hampstead Heath, is where horticulture meets cutting-edge design.
This is the place to order the ultimate urban shed, pick up the secateurs used by the pros, take home a heavenly rose bush in full bloom and even enjoy a jasmine facial at the Serenity Garden Spa, designed by Matthew Wilson, the winner of the People’s Choice award at this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show.
Two new sections of the fair, GROW Gourmet and GROW Living, offer the best of artisan food and drink as well as innovative merchandise for the home from emerging designers and craft makers.
A series of workshops and talks will run through the three days of the event, including one by yours truly on June 25 at 2pm, in which I will explain how to give your garden impact through clever planting and thoughtful design, with tips and tricks from the likes of Joe Swift, Bunny Guinness and Jo Thompson.
Here, within one giant flower-filled pavilion, you will find temptations from around the world, such as Raj Tent Club’s tasselled garden parasols, fit for an Indian princess; Skoura’s gorgeous Moroccan blankets and bejewelled baskets; high-quality planters for urban spaces by South African company Indigenus, and creative plant holders and playful furniture from top Californian designer Eric Trine.
Proving that wildlife habitats for the garden don’t need to be rustic, Bee Palaces will present their colourful, contemporary ceramic hotels for solitary bees, our garden plants’ chief pollinators. And to encourage all kinds of insects into your garden, Meadow In My Garden will be selling its award-winning seed mixes, seed balls and ready-sown seed carpets, so all you need do is water, wait and enjoy.
The same company will offer a great space-saving idea: the Colapz watering can and bucket in one, made from recyclable plastic, that literally twists down flat when not in use. And because Londoners need every inch of outdoor space, The Posh Shed Company will be bringing its new compact Southwold huts to the show, as well as its stylish solutions for concealing recycling boxes and bins.
If you’re looking for new tools, you could splash out on a last-a-lifetime titanium weeding fork from Sneeboer, the Dutch company that supplies Great Dixter, or, more modestly, snap up flower snippers from Niwaki, first port of call for professional gardeners in Japan.
Plantaholics need look no further for fresh fixes, notably from Hortus Loci, the wholesale nursery that supplies many of the Chelsea Flower Show gardens; Wildegoose Nursery, renowned for its delectable violas, and Hardy’s Cottage Garden Plants, winners of 21 Chelsea Gold medals.
If it’s instant impact you are after, Sussex-based nursery Architectural Plants will bring bamboos, banana plants and hardy palms aplenty, as well as showcase specimens of cloud topiary.
Need an expert to design your borders? Join the Bloombox Club at the show and relax with seasonal deliveries of plants and accompanying care cards. You can even find new ways to display plants indoors, from Blueleaf’s framed succulents that hang on the wall like patterned mosaics, to Stolen Form’s industrial-style ceramic brick vases and Geo Fleur’s shiny copper plant holders for suspending from the ceiling. The more adventurous can discover the messy delights of transforming humdrum houseplants into moss-bound artworks in a kokedama workshop, or even learn how to build their own terrarium from a glass demijohn.
Further afield, just beyond the GROW site, you can join a herb walk with Handmade Apothecary’s Kim Walker and Victoria Chown, who will be scouting for the Heath’s wild weeds and highlighting their medicinal and edible uses, thereby presenting an admirable case for sitting back and encouraging the weeds in your own garden.
The show runs from Friday June 24 to Sunday June 26, 11am-6pm, at Lower Fairground Site, East Heath Road, Hampstead NW3 1TH.
Tickets are £16 on the door, children under 16 go free. For half-price tickets and to see a timetable of talks and workshops, and for free shuttle bus information, visit GROW London and enter code HP16.