Royal Horticultural Society announces April indoor show designed for plant lovers living in cities

The Royal Horticultural Society has announced a new indoor ‘Urban Show’ will take place in April at Mayfield Depot. 

From 18-21 April the RHS will transform the industrial interiors of the former train station with installations, features and workshops designed to inspire a love of gardening in city-dwellers.

We want to get even more people living in the UK’s second largest city inspired to grow plants and connect to the natural world

Tickets, starting from £16, will be on sale for RHS members from 21 September, with general tickets on sale from the 28th.

Alongside the focus on urban growing the show will also explore the influence horticulture has had on art, interior design and the contemporary trends towards wellness and sustainability.

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Some of what will be on display in April Image: RHS

With the pandemic-inspired rise in houseplants, balcony gardens and urban farming showing no signs of slowing down, this is a further opportunity to learn more about connecting to the natural world in a city environment, according to Director of Gardens and Shows, Helena Pettit.

“In recent years there’s been a real gardening boom,” she said, “and we believe more young people living in cities are now growing plants.

“So we are so excited to be bringing a new RHS Show dedicated to urban gardening to the centre of Manchester next year.  The RHS Urban Show aims to bring gardening to a new audience and demonstrate that if you have plants you are a gardener.”

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Flora for city dwellers at Mayfield Depot Image: RHS

Helena continued: “There is so much great work already happening across the city to make it greener and we are excited to help support this growing movement. We want to get even more people living in the UK’s second largest city inspired to grow plants and connect to the natural world.

“With over 80% of the UK population living in towns and cities, the new show will enable more urban dwellers to garden, especially where access to green spaces can be limited.”

For more information, and to book tickets from 21 or 28 September, visit the RHS website.

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Mayfield Depot before its recent use as an entertainment centre Image: Confidentials

Mayfield back story

Mayfield Station was opened in August 1910 by London and North Western railway company to provide extra rail capacity and relieve the pressure on neighbouring London Road Station (now Piccadilly).

Even before it was operational was disliked intensely as it added another fourteen minutes to the commute for people travelling in from the south east of Greater Manchester. Fourteen minutes was the time it took to walk there and back from its neighbour, a long time when people often went home for lunch. A bridge was built to connect the two stations but Mayfield was never very popular.

It had moments of significance though.

In WW1 more than a quarter of a million casualties came through the station to hospitals in the region. Football specials for United and City frequently ran from Mayfield as did trains departing for Lourdes packed with people from the Roman Catholic diocese of Salford for miracle cures. During WW2 the station was bombed.

Despite being mooted for conversion to a specialist station for the airport the station closed in 1960. The airport line didn't arrive for another 33 years. In 1970 Mayfield reopened as a parcels depot and closed again in 1986 when British Rail opted to use road haulage instead.

Since it's first re-use in 2013 with Manchester International Festival's video gig featuring Massive Attack and Adam Curtis Mayfield depot has blossomed. It has finally become popular as an entertainment centre with Freight Island and much more, more than 100 years after its controversial creation.

Indeed, people often scratch their heads over why Mayfield Depot didn't become the host for what has become the costly and much debated Aviva Studios. (Jonathan Schofield).

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