Well …where to start .. ? It was wet, I had laryngitis so no voice and ‘the baby’ was ill BUT …we still managed to have a lovely day out at RHS Malvern Spring Festival this year.
As always the show gardens were delightful. At RHS Malvern there seem fewer show gardens to see as this is a slightly smaller show than others like RHS Chelsea or RHS Hampton Court but …there’s so much more to do at Malvern especially with a family in tow AND it comes with the added bonus of wide open spaces and the amazing backdrop of the Malvern’s. It is so close to us in the Cotswolds that it has become my favourite of the four RHS shows (and I have yet to get to Tatton Park)
Jane Furze, Head of RHS Malvern Spring Festival, said:
“Whether you’re a newcomer to gardening, a veteran horticulturist or simply looking for a family day out, RHS Malvern Spring Festival has it all.”
Here’s my favourite of the Show Gardens from Michel Damien who was exhibiting at Malvern for the 1st time. His garden, Ocean Garden was inspired by Miami’s bold Art Deco architecture with its definite lines and generous curves, a spa garden for today inspired by the past. The Grey skies of the day matched it very well!
The chic garden contained dominant landscaping, tram lines of water and two pools of water. To counteract the landscaping was a robust planting scheme, containing blocks of colour as well as plants selected for their architectural and feathery foliage as well as upright flowering habits!
I also enjoyed the Millenium show garden from Buckfast Abbey, Devon named as such because this year they are celebrating a 1000 years of having an Abbey on the site. The stunning, tranquil garden was designed to represent the view looking out of a Monastery window, catching sight of the magnificent Stag through the silver birches.
Head gardener Aaron Southgate was on hand to answer questions from an eager crowd enjoying the exhibit which attracted much attention. That Stag was so elegant and majestic supping water from the pool.
Health & Wellbeing Garden
Jekka McVicar designed and built a specially commissioned permanent garden, bringing to life the role gardens continue to play in our health and wellbeing. Jekka’s feel-good garden was a living working space for mind, body and senses.
Here are some other show gardens we saw at Malvern this year but which we didn’t manage to find out all about ….forgive me – rain, baby, laryngitis…challenge 🙂
Whichever show I make it to, its the Floral Marquee that really gets me smiling and which I often enjoy the most. It’s the place which is so nostalgic for me reminding me of my Father and its a place in which I can feel close to him for a few fleeting moments.
With that in mind I always gravitate towards the Sweet Peas first, and this year’s did not disappoint. I look at them and smell the ones I can reach with such affection, and so many many joyful memories, they are a special flower and the ones closest to my heart.
At the entrance to this years Floral Marquee was this year’s stunning display of Tulips from the celebrated Nursery Bloms Bulbs winners of 65 medals at RHS Chelsea between 1948 and 2016, they certainly know how to grow bulbs! My favourite of all time is their dark purple Queen of the Night …
The Peonies never fail to amaze. This year the display from Primrose Hall Nursery was just so delightful. The soft intertwining of pink upon pink with their cloud like petals, blousy and so so satisfying …
And then there’s the Lupins, I adore them. My husband’s favourites and ones which we usually manage to grow successfully… for about 5 minutes.
This towering Bluebell sculpture was magnificent – not the kind of thing that you’d fit in every garden of course but so beautifully and intricately pieced together and quite staggering to see how the blue glass has been blown to resemble the Bluebell so closely.
The Rustic Shed Company had a fine example of one of their beautifully crafted bespoke garden buildings on show at this year’s festival. In Association with Cameron Leigh Designs of Malvern they had created a perfect little Hobbit like house!
Succulents – not my thing but I appreciated the display and the grey with white modern styling.
AND NOT FORGETTING…There’s always SO much shopping to be done at Malvern. I particularly LOVED finding – East London Parasol Company and met Founder Lucy who told me all about how she started the company and her journey so far of bringing together gorgeous fabrics and hand crafts from across India and Indonesia to create decadent, sumptuous garden parasols. Here’s some examples from Lucy’s collection which also includes cushions, tablecloths & napkins.
Award winning florist and BBC Two’s Big Allotment Challenge host – Jonathan Moseley was commissioned to create a spectacular floral fountain for the shopping arcade evoking the Victorian era in support of this year’s theme – celebrating Malvern’s fashionable spa heritage.
Jonathan worked with local growers from 3 counties Gloucestershire, Worcestershire and Herefordshire to create his masterpiece using an estimated 25,000 stems! The Floral fountain was almost 7.5 metres tall and 7 metres wide, the equivalent of a semi detached house and it was a fantastic sight to see!
We all had a lovely day come rain or shine or terrible twos, Rudy’s 2nd visit got a thumbs up from him although he’s going to enjoy it much more next year when he can walk. ..Mummy would like that too and if the Sun could come back for next year that would be an added bonus!
Talking of Family Fun…For future gardeners, there was a host of family related activities at this year’s festival, including:
The Exploration Zone – Here were the ever-popular School Gardens, which this year were all themed around Space. You could be transported to space as you stepped into the Planetarium with daily talks including Great Plant Adventures, Back to Moon and We Are Aliens. BBC Blue Peter Gardener, Chris Collins was on hand to guide young gardeners through planting workshops.
Family Weekend, Saturday 13 and Sunday 14 May – This was the ideal opportunity to engage children in the fun of gardening and the great outdoors. They loved the Exploration Zone’s Planetarium, plus there was plenty more to keep them entertained with the marvellous Mr Alexanders vintage variety show and workshops from Chris Collins.