The best flower shows around the world

With the Chelsea Flower Show just around the corner, we look at similar events blossoming around the globe

The Melbourne Flower Show

The southern hemisphere's largest flower show, the Melbourne offering has been an annual fixture on Australia's horticultural calendar for 22 years. Taking place in the city's Royal Exhibition Building, a beautiful world heritage site built in 1880, this year's show filled the hall with the scent of thousands of flowers.

One highlight was Gardens by Twilight, which saw visitors enjoy the exhibits after hours under twinkling festoon lighting. Another top attraction was the City of Melbourne's Urban Forest – two mature tree woodland installations, to promote the area's shift towards a greener environment. The show's Boutique Garden Competition attracted much attention, with five finalists creating beautiful plots just 5mx5m in size. Emmaline Bowman's 'Wild at Heart' garden took first prize for its use of native Australian flora into an intimate, urban backyard setting.

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The Melbourne Flower Show, 21-25 March, 2018;

The Portland Rose Festival

The annual rose festival of the Oregon city is celebrating its centenary this year, having been established in 1907 to promote Portland as the 'summer capital of the world'. The festival is a broad summer event with concerts, auctions and races – highlights include the Grand Floral Parade and the 129-year-old rose show. The floral parade is a much-anticipated event, with floats bedecked in all things plant related in a colourful display over a four-mile route. The rose show, however, focuses solely on the plant of its name and this year is expected to host some 4,000 specimens in the US's largest and longest running event of its kind. Visitors to the event are greeted by the beautiful aromas and by banks of brightly coloured displays. There is a vast array of entries each year from across the Pacific Northwest, including old roses, miniature roses, climbing roses and highly fragrant selections.

Portland Rose Show 8-9 June, as part of the Portland Rose Festival, 29 April-11 June;

The Singapore Garden Festival

Highly international in approach to the flowers and designs on display, the 2016 Singapore Garden Festival featured over 400,000 plants. At last year's show, a highlight was winner of the People's Choice Award, Best in Show and the Horticultural Excellence – the Treasure Box garden by Malaysian designer, Inch Lim. The 80sqm garden was a cocooned oasis of rice plants, surrounded by a wall covered in greenery. According to the festival, Lim chose the rice plant to represent treasure because of the number of people who rely on it for life and sustenance. Another highlight was the Orchid Extravaganza, which featured over 10,000 orchids in elaborate bedding displays and colourful canopies. The festival held in this island city responded to the surrounding habitat of skyscrapers and apartment blocks with an exhibit of balcony gardens. From outdoor television rooms, to spaces for serene contemplation, there were ideas to transform the most drab of high rise homes.

Held every two years, the next Singapore Garden Festival will take place in 2018;

(Image credit: © RHS)

Chelsea Flower Show

Perhaps the most well known of the Royal Horticultural Society's flower shows, the Chelsea Flower Show is just one of 11 such events held annually across the UK. This year it's taking place from 23-27 May and is due to attract more than 150,000 visitors. Look out for the Broadland Boatbuilder's Garden, which incorporates a replica of a 900-year-old boat found in the Norfolk Broads. Another garden of note is the Morgan Stanley Garden, designed by Chris Beardshaw with the challenges of the British climate in mind. It features varying styles of planting, including shady woodland and a bright terrace. Beardshaw worked with the National Youth Orchestra for the design and the young musicians have composed a piece of music that encapsulates their emotional response to it.

San Francisco Flower & Garden Show

Started in 1985 with the intention of being a one-off fundraiser for the city's parks and recreation departments, the San Francisco Flower & Garden Show is now an annual fixture on the Californian calendar in March or April. This year's event focused on sustainability and habitat restoration and, after one of California's wettest years on record, exhibiters also displayed their abilities to bring gardens through a tough winter. Each year there are workshops and seminars, ranging from growing edible plants and gardening for children to fermentation and flower arranging. Experts on permaculture, orchard growing and plants from around the world were on hand to instruct and inform attendees.


(Image credit: Rob Cardillo)

Philadelphia Flower Show

As the world's largest and longest-running indoor flower show, the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society's event attracts 250,000 visitors annually. Founded in 1827, the PHS has grown from 80 members to more than 27,000 today. Named the best flower show in the world in 2015, the attraction has also been awarded a further 15 accolades by the International Festivals and Events Association. Visitors to this year's show – which had a Dutch theme – were greeted by the Central Feature – a display of over 30,000 flowering bulbs. Among the exhibits were some demonstrations of how to incorporate vegetables into gardens with perennials and annuals. There were also workshops and seminars on scented plants, and what to plant if you want to attract birds and bees.

Hong Kong Flower Show

The theme for this year's show was 'Blossoms of Love', with the theme flower being the rose. In celebration of the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong’s handover to China, the number 20 and heart icons featured in many displays. One display had a bridal carriage as its centerpiece, while another exhibitor incorporated floral-decked ferris wheels. The event also continued the city's Green Hong Kong Campaign, which aims to bring greenery to communities through workshops and educational events. Other activities included flower drawing and photography competitions as well as demonstrations of floral art.

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