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FLOWER AND GARDEN SHOWS IN ENGLAND AND WALES

Spring events in English and Welsh gardens vary from open-air sculpture shows to the anniversary of the 1987 Great Storm.

The Royal Horticultural Society's flower shows are held all over England and in the Welsh capital until November. The Chelsea Flower Show is May 22 to 26, the BBC Gardeners' World, at Birmingham's National Exhibition Centre, is June 13 to 17. www.rhs.org.uk/flowershows

One of Southeast England's best gardens for spring colour is Hole Park Gardens in Rolvenden, Kent. Flower shows include a Bluebell Weekend on May 6 to 7 and Rhododendron Sunday on May 20, when azaleas are in bloom. Hole Park Gardens' afternoon teas with homemade cakes are very popular. www.holepark.com

Exbury, a woodland garden in the New Forest and home to the Rothschild collection of rhododendrons, is celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Great Storm of 1987. Although the storm wreaked havoc on Exbury, the garden has recovered enough to hold special events, including late-evening openings on May 14 to 18. Exbury also has its own steam railway, which will receive a new locomotive this year. www.exbury.co.uk

The Surrey Sculpture Society is promoting sculptures in several garden settings, this year, within an hour's drive of London. Sculpture garden shows will take place in Borde Hill, Haywards Heath on May 1 to 31 and in Savill Garden, Windsor Great Park, on June 16 to July 22. www.surreysculpture.org.uk

The Yellow Book Gardens Directory features more than 3,500 private gardens, of all shapes and sizes open to the public for charity. The National Gardens Scheme publication includes 450 new gardens, clear maps and diary pages. www.ngs.org.uk

Located in Llanarthne, Carmarthenshire, 62 miles west of the Welsh capital Cardiff, the National Botanic Garden of Wales opened seven years ago. Now the most visited garden in Wales, it conserves some of the world's rarest plants.

In early June, The National Botanic Garden of Wales opens a new tropical hothouse, designed by New York architect, John Belle. Located near the Walled Garden, it will display plants that need warmer climates than temperate Wales.

Future plans for The National Botanic Garden of Wales include the return of the Forgotten Falls of Pont Felin Gat, an enchanting woodland with cascades, stone bridges and other relics from William Paxton's original Georgian water park. The National Botanic Garden of Wales is open daily. www.gardenofwales.org.uk