Jekka’s permanent garden and pupils’ designs make a refreshing change
The RHS Malvern Spring Festival (May 11-14, 9am-6pm) celebrates both gardening and food, with show gardens, nursery displays, food producers, shopping, horticultural experts and celebrity chefs.
The Floral Marquee is packed with 69 of the finest nurseries and the is UK’s longest at more than 195 metres – the equivalent length of four Olympic swimming pools.
The Festival Food and Drink Pavilion offers artisan produce, with the Kitchen Theatre at its heart and expert demonstrations.
Headline guest will be Alan Titchmarsh, along with fellow gardening experts Carol Klein, Monty Don, Joe Swift and Adam Frost.
Other favourites include the School Gardens, Get Going Get Growing Pavilion and Family Day (Sunday), plus the new Live Well Zone.
Malvern Spring Festival is a joint partnership with the RHS and Three Counties Agricultural Society, held at the Three Counties Showground, Malvern WR13 6NW. For ticket details, visit www.rhs.org.uk/shows-events/malvern-spring-festival.
Jekka McVicar’s permanent garden
Herb expert Jekka McVicar will unveil the first commissioned permanent garden at Malvern, a centrepiece of the new Live Well Zone. The Health & Wellbeing Garden will be launched on Thursday, May 11.
Jekka, an RHS Ambassador for Health through Horticulture, said: “I am delighted to have been asked to create a lasting garden for RHS Malvern Spring Festival. I want the Health & Wellbeing Garden to be a usable and beautiful space that is embraced by people of all ages – a space for growth, education, and reflection.
“With the Malvern Hills as a dramatic backdrop, RHS Malvern Spring Festival is such a beautiful place and because it’s at the start of the summer, it’s always a time of such optimism. It is a real privilege to bring this garden to life as part of such a dynamic and exciting show.”
Jekka’s garden is inspired by the increasing need for reflection and escape from the stresses of modern life. It seeks to preserve and share the knowledge of how horticulture can help the mind, body, and soul.
The garden will be a living, working space with a tranquil seating area, with aromatic herb beds, and also educate themselves on the place that herbs and horticulture play in today’s society.
Throughout the festival, Jekka will host daily ‘herb conversations’ in the garden and share insights into herbs as the foundation of modern medicine.
The garden is in support of Pathways, a work-focused day service for adults with learning disabilities and difficulties. Pathways use gardening and the environment as an educational tool to introduce young adults to the working world.
During the show, Pathways will sell plants and refreshments, with funds raised going towards residential trips. After the show, Pathways and local schools will host sessions in the garden.
Jekka’s design will incorporate the WoodBlocX system, made in the Highlands of Scotland, to create permanent raised beds.
BBC Blue Peter Gardener Chris Collins has been working with budding gardeners of the three counties for the School Gardens Challenge.
RHS Malvern Spring Festival is one of the only RHS shows to have show gardens designed and built entirely by young people, with the theme of ‘Space’, celebrating the 350th anniversary of Isaac Newton’s groundbreaking discovery of gravity, alongside the 60th anniversary of the launch of the world’s first satellite, Sputnik.
Chris said: “RHS Malvern Spring Festival is really paving the way for introducing gardening into the curriculum and the School Gardens Challenge is a fantastic way to take education outside of the classroom.”
Ken Nottage, CEO of Three Counties, said: “We are deeply passionate about engaging the next generation of gardeners in the amazing world of horticulture.
“We never cease to be amazed by the creativity and imagination school children bring to the School Gardens Challenge. Their designs are a real highlight of the show and always receive rave reviews from our visitors.”
Schools taking part include Regency High School, Bromsgrove School, Cradley School, Stanley Road Primary School, Franche Community Primary School, Royal Grammar School Worcester, Beoley First School, Malvern Wells Primary School, St Joseph’s Primary School, The Ridge Academy, and Bredon School.
RHS experts will judge the gardens on Wednesday, May 10, ahead of the show opening to the public the following day.