Plant Shopping

Design Competition, Exhibitions, Final Major Project, Sketchbook, Visits, Visual Research

Visiting the RHS Urban Garden Show

Feeling like I needed a break from my current Author Reporter studio project, I made a spontaneous visit to the RHS Urban Garden Show. It was amazing how many different people were there representing their botanical businesses as well as the speakers who were there giving lectures on nature in the city. My reasons for attending were mostly because of the opportunity it presented for me to draw plants but also because I thought it would be a great place to get further direction to resources about nature in the city which is what I plan to write my dissertation on and will be the focus of my FMP.


Nature cut out installation


Event Highlights

This event was the first like it in London, hosted by The Royal Horticultural Society and it was a pretty busy atmosphere with lots of nature enthusiasts, budding gardeners and businesses. I really enjoyed seeing all the carefully composed displays of cacti and air plants, and plant pots and seed packing. There was so much there. I loved that the botanic theme wasn’t just relevant to the actual plants themselves but there were business there selling items such as vegan botanical cakes which looked amazingly decorated with edible flowers.

My favourite thing about the event was seeing the ways in which products can be made to link to the theme, in particular, the items being sold by This Way To The Circus. I loved how cohesive the items of the brand were, mostly white or black with simple colour and pattern. Because of this strong brand identity, things seem aesthetically intriguing and makes the brand more memorable.

As far as my own illustrations go, I do think this example made me think about how I should begin considering and defining my illustrative individuality and what makes me unique and begin to pull these out and push them into my own brand identity.


Pins and notebooks by This Way To The Circus


Simple patterned and coloured plant pots on display by This Way To The Circus


Drawing and Networking

I saw the Urban Garden Show as an opportunity to fill up my sketchbook and I visited all the different stalls and met some amazing people who were happily asking me about my work, meanwhile taking photos of me drawing their amazing displays to post on social media.


Illustrating Vegan Sweet Tooth‘s botanical sweet treats


Drawing a selection of air plants on sale by Ro Co

After hearing about the London based cacti and succulent boutique PRICK, I was really excited about meeting creator Gynelle Leon who really showed an interest in my illustrations and even suggested they would look great on some greetings cards for the shop.


PRICK’s cityscape cacti display


Drawing the unusual cacti and succulent forms displayed by PRICK

I also had the chance to speak to creators of self published magazine rakesprogress which made me think about the ways in which I love to create my own publications based on nature and how I don’t have to limit myself to just using my illustrations but can include a mix of mediums and include photography which in turn adds a differently level of information and depth.


Issues of rakesprogress magazine were presented on large print outs of spreads from the magazine.


I loved that the creators displayed various print outs and images from the magazine which in part felt like you were seeing the many elements that make up the publication.

If there’s anything I will take away from this visit, it’s just to go to more events like this – to draw more publicly and meet people because you create opportunities for yourself by doing so. But I also realised how important it is for me to develop my creative identity in order to produce self promotional material and have a way of giving my contact details to the people I meet which is definitely something I need to work on.


NOTE: all images in this post were taken by author.


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