Manchester’s Depot Mayfield hosts new RHS Urban Show to inspire city gardening

A garden charity has taken over a former train depot in an attempt to inspire more city-dwellers to grow plants at home.

The RHS, which is better known for holding flower shows at stately homes and parks, has opened its first large-scale indoor show in central Manchester to explore the expanding urban gardening movement.

Visitors will find the industrial atmosphere of Depot Mayfield near Piccadilly railway station has been softened by an assortment of floral displays.

Lex Falleyn, show manager for the RHS Urban Show, said: "RHS Urban Show is a chance for a new audience to gain new roots, or grow their existing knowledge on ways to enjoy horticulture in the city."

Jason Williams presents RHS City Spaces: Cloudscape to visitors.

From indoor plants and balconies on a budget to botanical art to inspirational talks, organisers hope the show will encourage visitors to grow in their own way.

Manchester 'Cloud Gardener' Jason Williams has designed seven small gardens providing a vision for a greener city.

He said they address different residents’ needs, microclimates and pay brackets.

Jason added: "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.”

Derbyshire-based Amanda Grimes has created a two-part installation influenced by Manchester's New Wave music scene to create a design that is easy to replicate at home.

Meanwhile, Liverpool's Conal McGuire, who won the People’s Choice Award at RHS Flower Show Tatton Park in 2023, presents Urban Shade featuring modular grow frames that help turn small, often shady, outdoor urban spaces into biodiverse and wildlife friendly gardens.

Nathan Webster from Warrington, 2023 RHS Young Designer of the Year, brings a natural woodland to the heart of the city with an atmospheric urban forest to highlight the importance of including green spaces in urban areas.

Tree branches reach for the arched roof of Depot Mayfield in one of the UK’s largest indoor forests.

With more than 80% of the UK population living in towns and cities, the show aims to inspire urban-dwellers of all ages with a host of ideas to take home with them.

A programme of talks will touch upon subjects from cut flowers to juggling plant life with work and family life.

The charity hopes it can strengthen the connection between horticulture, wellbeing and sustainable living to growing happy houseplants.