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Candide's Festival of Flowers: What's On?

Published on April 30th 2021
A close up of a flower

Looking to visit Rob & Rosy Hardy's Festival Show Garden? Buy tickets now.

Find the full planting list below!
A vase of flowers sitting on a bench in a garden

Adam Frost opens Hardy's Cottage Garden Plants' final RHS Chelsea display: Opening day highlights and full planting list revealed


What is Candide's Festival of Flowers?

This May, we’re celebrating the UK’s most magnificent blooms, from confetti-like blossom to voluptuous peonies. We’re devoting the month to the plants, pollinators and people that make our gardens glow. We’ll be updating this page regularly with fresh content, events and activities – so keep checking to see what’s happening.

Get involved: #ShowUsYourBlooms

Join the celebration by sharing your bright and beautiful pictures using the hashtag #ShowUsYourBlooms! We're giving away prizes of gardening goodies throughout May, so make sure you're following us on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, or, you can stay up to date by signing up to our newsletter.

Plant lovers unite!

We’ve curated a month of colourful events. Expect flower-filled guides, garden secrets uncovered and live-streamed yoga in the garden. Plus, we’ll share flower arranging tips and tricks, floral recipes, as well as the inside story from plant nurseries and the opportunity to buy award-winning blooms.

Dates for your diary

During the celebrations, we’ll be focusing on a few very special days, including:
  • Garden Day UK - 9th May
  • Mental Health Awareness Week - 10-16th May
  • Biodiversity Day - 22nd May
  • World Bee Day - 20th May

Highlights of the month

  • Learn from gardeners such as Alice Whitehead, Brigitte Girling, Kim Stoddart and Tony Le-Britton to fill your home and garden with flowers.
  • Discover flower-based recipes to rustle up at home.
  • Find out surprising flower facts and get planting inspiration.
  • Get involved in our free flower-arranging masterclass.
  • Prepare for the fantastic floral celebration of Garden Day on Sunday 9th May. Get prepped and give your outdoor space a revamp with our Garden Day Essentials collection.
A vase of flowers on a table

Garden Day Essentials

A stream of gardening inspiration

  • Find out about the sacrificial plants that can help your garden bloom.
  • Investigate the 'Bee-Town' and how it created such a buzz.
  • Get to know some of the best floral personalities in the country!
  • Learn to design your garden with pollinators and the environment in mind.
  • Explore the best gardens to visit for their breathtaking borders.
  • Learn about the rare and beautifully elusive native UK orchids:
  • Join in the fun with flower-filled guides and how-tos.
  • Bring colour, scent and new life to your garden – inside or out. Shop our plant showcase collections, and you’re also supporting UK independent businesses.
  • Follow our Festival Garden as it takes shape from the award-winning nursery, Hardy's Cottage Garden Plants, in what would have been their final farewell to RHS Chelsea. Find out more.
A hand-drawn illustration of the Hardy's Cottage Plants Display

Flower-filled articles and guides at your fingertips:

Create a show garden at home with Rosy Hardy's Top Ten Pollinator-Friendly Flowers:
We'll be spotlighting 10 plants throughout May. Learn more about the plants, including planting combinations and fun plant facts, here:
Buy the plants featured and support independent UK growers:
A close up of a flower

Festival Garden Plants

Adventure awaits...

Visit sensational gardens
May marks the reopening of gardens, and they need our support after months of closure. The good news is, they look more sensational than ever and are keen to show you their dazzling displays.
Plan in advance and buy your tickets, with ease, for safe, contactless entry through Candide.
Gardens we're highlighting as your gateway to inspiration
Sculpture by the Lakes

Sculpture by the Lakes

A place to reflect. Hidden away in countryside close to Dorchester lies the peace and serenity of Sculpture by the Lakes, 26 acres of botanical gardens dotted with inspiring contemporary sculptures. Wander the grounds and discover more than 30 permanent pieces by acclaimed sculptor Simon Gudgeon, designed to be viewed outside in the changing light. Follow trails that lead through woodland and among formal borders, then visit Gallery by the Lakes to view ever-changing displays by international and local artists. Created to instil a sense of wellbeing, these are gardens designed to be savoured. Bring a picnic and find your favourite spot by the water, or enjoy the ‘field to plate’ ethos of the Café by the Lakes, where the seasonal menu is created from produce grown just a few feet away in the kitchen garden. There is also the Artisan’s Bazaar, an Aladdin’s cave of unique art, crafts and handmade products, and the Artisan’s Pantry, where you can discover a wealth of artisan and small batch food and drink created by passionate producers from across the county and beyond. Events Look out for workshops and events throughout the year including the FORM sculpture exhibition in April and May, which brings together more than 200 sculptures from leading contemporary artists, the Dorset Arts Festival in July, celebrating artists and crafters of the area, a series of Live music events during the summer, and September’s Wellbeing by the Lakes Festival, where you can immerse yourself in wellness practices and hear from expert speakers about the art and science of living well. U14s and Babies Policy Unfortunately, Sculpture by the Lakes is *not* permitted to allow access for children under 14, including babies. There is a lot of deep water and a fast flowing river, so the danger of accidents is too great a risk. We regret the inconvenience and hope that parents will understand that this mandatory restriction is in place to protect their children. Seasonal Opening Hours: 1st Apr - 30th Sept Wed - Sun 10:00 am - 5:00 pm 1st Oct - 31st Mar Tue - Sat 10:00 am - 5:00 pm

Greencombe Gardens View of the sea

Greencombe Gardens

Nestled on a sheltered hillside overlooking rolling fields and the sparkling waters of Porlock Bay, Greencombe is a little known Somerset gem, close to the quaint harbour village of Porlock Weir. Don’t be fooled by its size, this pioneering organic garden packs in four national plant collections; (Erythroniums, Polystichum ferns, Vaccinium and Gaultheria) and one magnificent champion tree (the English Holly). With such gorgeous vistas and equally esteemed planting, Greencombe gardens is one of the loveliest things to do in Porlock. Expect mossy pathways snaking past overflowing borders which wind their way through a canopy of Oak, Conifer and Sweet Chestnuts. The late owner Joan Loraine really did break new ground when she took on this plot in 1966. Not only eschewing weed killers and chemical fertilisers but overseeing the production of 25 to 30 tonnes of home produced compost and leaf-mould each year! While we don’t envy that job, we do envy this delightful garden, which has become a haven for people and wildlife alike.

Pathway down from the house

Attadale Gardens

Fans of ferns are in for a treat at Attadale Gardens, which is home to one of the largest fern collections in Scotland. The fern-filled geodesic dome and atmospheric sunken garden are a joy to discover. But these unfurling fronds aren’t the only thing exciting green-fingered visitors. On arrival, visitors can marvel at the lily pad-covered water gardens before taking a stroll along the old rhododendron walk. Those with kids in tow will have a blast seeking out the animal sculptures hidden among the foliage while those looking to slow the pace can unwind in the Japanese-inspired raked gravel gardens. But what really makes Attadale Gardens special is its location in Wester Ross, Scotland. Head up to the viewpoint where you can see this mosaic of gardens set against the beautiful backdrop of neighbouring Skye. As well as the charming gardens, there’s an onsite tearoom providing homemade snacks, sweet treats and hot drinks in exchange for a donation, which you can leave in the honesty box.

Blenheim Palace formal gardens

Blenheim Palace

Upon entering the grounds of Blenheim Palace, it’s easy to see why the likes of Harry Potter, Spectre 007 and many other blockbusters have been filmed here. The lavish UNESCO world heritage site is home to award-winning formal gardens, swoon-worthy vistas and one of Britain’s grandest houses. Dubbed 'the finest view in England' by Winston Churchill's father, the showstopper is the vast lake and beautiful Vanburgh Bridge set in 2100 acres of naturalistic parkland designed by ‘Capability’ Brown. With its links to Churchill, history buffs will find plenty here to intrigue. But it’s not just the colourful history that draws people to this idyllic corner of Oxfordshire. A delight in all seasons, the grounds play host to open-air cinema during the summer months, while the Christmas period sees the palace and gardens lit up for the annual illuminated light trail. Whether you’ve come to marvel at the opulent Baroque architecture, seek out the serenity of the secret garden, bury your nose in the rose garden or enjoy the views from the water terraces, Blenheim Palace is sure to be an unforgettable day out.

Herbaceous borders in summer

Bluebell Cottage Gardens

Tucked away down a quiet country lane, Bluebell Cottage Gardens and Nursery is one of Cheshire's best kept secrets. Owned and managed by former BBC Gardener of the Year, Sue Beesley, Bluebell Cottage Gardens, nursery, wildflower meadows and bluebell woods make a perfect half day out for keen gardeners, wildlife enthusiasts, or anyone in need of a break from the whirlwind of modern life.

Sculpture by the cottage

The Hannah Peschar Sculpture Garden

Heralded as the first of it's kind in the UK, The Hannah Peschar Sculpture Garden has been proudly exhibiting contemporary sculpture in a unique and magical environment for over 30 years.

Why celebrate flowers?

We're not just celebrating because plants are bloomin' gorgeous. Flowers not only make our gardens glow but feed pollinators and aid well-being. When we see a flower, a part of our brain releases the love hormone, oxytocin, making us feel warm and fuzzy inside! It's thought this behaviour is innate, being a key survival mechanism when we were hunter-gatherers years ago. When foraging, bright, colourful flowers would indicate good quality food with nutritional value and were also symbolic that spring was near and better times lied ahead.
Come back soon for more inspiration!
A close up of a flower

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