Reviewed: Forget Chelsea, GROW London fair is for the modern, urban gardener

If you follow me on Instagram (@yanarbeauty) you’ll see I’m partial to the odd floral bloom or pretty plant so I couldn’t resist the new GROW London fair when I read about it in the paper. Described as the garden fair for contemporary gardens, GROW London seemed perfectly pitched for modern, urban living.

So I quickly organised a ticket (with the help of the lovely crew at Camron PR) and grabbed my green fingered editor friend Pat McNulty (who knows how to make a small city garden look like a country cottage oasis) and went off to get green-eyed on a lovely (and thankfully, hangover-free) Sunday morning.

GROW London Fair reviewed
GROW London is showcased on the same site and organised by the same founder of the Affordable Art Fair in London’s Hampstead Heath, which cleverly makes double use of the structure. It’s also conveniently close in the calendar to Chelsea Flower Show.

I’ve never been to Chelsea but Pat says it’s big and can be difficult to navigate. In comparison, GROW is compact in size, but still spacious, with around 60 stands ranging from florals to swoon over, to outdoor furniture and accessories for the wish list and everything in between to create your own dream garden. It’s just the right size to hop between stands, remember favourite flowers, take second looks and contemplate which foxglove was the one (we did a lot of foxglove-comparisons).

The succulents definitely stole the show though – The Urban Botanist was perfectly situated at the front of the fair to catch everyone’s eye as they entered.

The herbs at John Cullen Gardens (not forgetting the guy who was so passionate about their plants I think he definitely should be on TV) captured our hearts and I’ve now got my sights set on growing African Blue Basil so I can shred it into salads and admire its good looks while I sit under a Sunbeam Jackie parasol.

These Sunbeam Jackie garden parasols were right up my street, made from vintage and reclaimed fabrics, I spotted and bookmarked them in my mind in a flash. Just look at how beautiful they are! (below).

GROW London Fair The Urban Botanist

Succulents and inspiration at GROW London
Succulents and inspiration at GROW London


Succulents at GROW London Fair
You can’t go wrong with succulent displays – GROW London, Hampstead Heath
Sunbeam-Jackie-Hand-Crafted-Parasols-Grow London-BrighterShadeofGreen
Sunbeam Jackie Sun Parasols at Grow London Fair – on my wishlist!


John Cullen Gardens at GROW London Fair
The John Cullen Gardens herbs stole our heart at GROW London Fair
John Cullen Gardens at GROW London Fair
Blooming herbs at John Cullen Gardens, GROW London Fair

Pat fell for nearly all the foxgloves but finally chose a favourite one and I gravitated towards Riverford Organic Farm veg delivery boxes and signed up to receive one. I’m an avid fan of Abel & Cole organic delivery boxes so I’m definitely up for trying another.

Riverford is a family run business (which is what appealed to me the most) and the fruit, veg, meat and dairy comes from their own farms as well as regional UK farms to support the local and farming community. I picked the medium veg box, which comes with free delivery and there’s no commitment to order every week, just as and when you need, which is perfect for me. Looking forward to it!

Sensational foxgloves at GROW London Fair on BrighterShadeofGreen
Sensational foxgloves at GROW London

In between all nurseries, plant companies and garden designers vying for our attention, the show also had its own amazingly dressed displays. If that wasn’t enough, there were also expert talks, workshops, children’s areas, a cake-filled cafeteria and a wine-stop. Plus being situated in Hampstead Health, it’s easy to make a gorgeous day of it.

Displays at GROW London
Stunning displays at GROW London
Fantastic floral displays at GROW London
Attention to detail – fantastic floral displays at GROW London

As well as lots of cool-looking older people (it’s north London after all), it was also refreshing to see lots of younger people and young couples. Gardens and gardening used to be an interest people grew into in their late 30s and 40s, but in a similar way that younger people are part of a revived trend for home crafts and cooking, there definitely seems to be fresh interest in plants and gardening – particularly in an urban setting – from people much younger.

So it’s great that GROW London can be part of making gardening cool again and appeal to people who want to be inspired wherever they live, or whatever their age. Coupled with the fact that more and more people live in flats with limited outdoor and indoor space that they’re desperate to transform.

Wow-plants at GROW London
Wow-plants at GROW London
Spotty Dotty plant at GROW London
Spotty Dotty plant at GROW London
Pat Mcnulty and the winning foxgloves. GROW London.
A great day out. Thanks GROW London!

After lots of brilliant chats with cool garden geeks, endless inspiration and hours of eye candy, we left feeling totally inspired, refreshed and eager to get planting. All I need now is a garden!

Failing that, I’ll just keep adding to my ever-expanding indoor garden collection. Either way, see you at next year’s GROW London. x

Tickets cost £10

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