Gardening trends, plants and getting children involved, May 10-13
Malvern Spring Festival’s the RHS’s fastest-growing show and is
a gardening Mecca for the latest in garden design, plants and innovation.
This year’s theme is The Great Exhibition of 1851 – expect ground-breaking show gardens, award-winning specialist
nurseries and great food.
Ten top designers are creating show gardens as one of the highlights of the festival.
Here are the gardens:
Urban Oasis by Mark Draper: A contemporary garden for a young professional. There is a space to sit and relax beneath a pergola, boardwalks and reflective dark pools. Planting is a modern meadow, with yellow design details and plants, such as Euphorbia epithymoides and Geum Lady Stratheden.
The Perfumer’s Garden by Ruth Gwynn and Alan Williams: Inspired by The Great Exhibition and the way exhibitors showed off their products. In a ‘shop’, you can imagine the process where the perfumer collects his scents from plants and turns them into fragrances. Flowers and herbs will include lilies, jasmine, geranium, citron, lavender, sage, rosemary, eucalyptus and mint.
The Dew Pond by Christian Dowle: Based on the lore and romanticism around dew ponds. A timber clad garden room with a green solar panel roof encourages wildlife and offers a space for quiet activity. Fruit trees reflect the importance of gardens as a productive space.
Billy’s Cave by Villaggio Verde: Envisaged as part of a small-holding in rural Portugal, the garden features a cave, complete with natural spring, goat paddock and is lined with old olive trees. The herder’s wife’s garden is full of shrubs, herbs, aromatics and fruit trees.
Royal Porcelain Works Ltd: The Collectors’ Garden by Olivia Kirk: Designed to celebrate the 1851 opening of the Royal Porcelain Works in Worcester and its future as a performing arts space. Plinths are used showing examples of Royal Worcester under glass bell jars and modern planting styles are displayed in bespoke terrariums inspired by The Wardian Case.
The Spirit Of The Woods by Peter Dowle: Three Simon Gudgeon sculptures explore our spiritual connection with nature – a serene face in a stone grotto, a ballerina made from more than 1,000 copper leaves and The Whispering Spirit invites visitors to listen to her lips and hear an echo of water.
Memories of Service by Martyn Wilson: Marking the centenary of the RAF, four elliptical pathways represent the blades of Spitfires and Hurricanes. Topiary balls evoke RAF Fylingdales and the former RAF Defford at Pershore. A sculpture made from turbine blades will form the centrepiece. Perennial plants will reflect the colours of RAF dress and tie.
From Over The Fence by Jonathan Bishop: Wooden sculptures of a stag and two deer by James Doran-Webb take centre stage, part of a scene that shows wildlife wandering into a garden via a broken fence. Flowers have been chosen to attract bees and there is a beehive within the garden.
The Garden In The Egg by Jonas Egger: A symbol of life, this garden inside a 3.5m metal egg is inspired by Faberge and opens to music, light, fog and water effects. The closed rustic egg contrasts with colourful planting.
Bovis Homes Family Garden by Dan Ryan: This modern garden is based around a new home in a Cotswolds housing development. It has sandstone paving, Cotswold stone walling, built-in seating and is surrounded by pleached hornbeams. A kinetic Corten steel magnolia leaf sculpture will add movement along with specially chosen grasses.
Fabulous Flowers and Perfect Plants
A record-breaking 70 specialist nurseries will take centre stage in Malvern’s huge Floral Marquee – four times as long as an Olympic swimming pool!
At the centre will sit the RHS Master Grower exhibit, featuring the multi-gold medal-winning Avon Bulbs, selected by the RHS for their ethical and sustainable practices and top-quality plants. They’ll be bringing an amazing diversity of colour, shape and textures.
Owner Chris Ireland-Jones said: “RHS Malvern Spring Festival has always been our favourite event of the Spring. The location is great, it is a peak time of year for bulbs, so we have plenty of excellent material to show and sell. On top of all that, the gardening hormones are coursing through our customers’ veins, so it is usually a terrifically successful show.”
Alongside veteran exhibitors, there are eight newcomers: Thorncroft Clematis, Millwood Plants (herbaceous perennials, epimedium and primulas), The Tiny Plant Company (alpine and rock plants, ferns), New Forest Hostas, Battlesbridge Mills (herbs), Surreal Succulents, Andy’s Air Plants and Scamp’s Quality Daffodils.
Green Living Spaces and Floral Marquee
Houseplants are THE plants to have right now and Malvern is embracing the trend with the Green Living Spaces category.
Head of RHS Malvern Spring Festival, Diana Walton, said: “Our new Green Living Spaces category includes an interior space which aims to inspire visitors to fill their homes with gorgeous greenery and there will also be talks on the art of Japanese kokedama and plants that purify their surroundings.”
Taking the terrarium trend to new heights, Paul Hervey-Brookes is bringing three seven-metre structures to the show, featuring a palm tree, pomegranate and olive.
Visit the National Plant Societies Marquee and seek inspiration from their terrarium display.
In the Pavilion of Art & Flowers, planting designer Carolyn Dunster will demonstrate the Japanese art of kokedama, which transforms houseplants into dangling sculptural objects.
For the children
Under 16s get free entry and there are lots of things to occupy them, especially during the Family Weekend on Saturday and Sunday. Here are some of the highlights:
- New Book Hub: More than just a bookshop, families can meet authors as they share tales from their latest books.
- School Garden Challenge: The design theme is Great Britain. Chat with pupils from 14 schools to uncover the inspiration for their gardens.
- Blue Peter Garden: This feature garden is a homage to the children’s TV show, with special guest, ex-presenter Val Singleton.
- Worcestershire Wildlife Trust: Experts will show how easy it is to attract wildlife, even in a window box. You can brighten up a roadside verge by promising to Pledge a Patch.
- The Worcestershire Beekeepers: Showing the inner workings of a hive, with live bees to see.
- Cultivating Learning and Nature Community Interest Group: Try spinning, weaving and hands-on wool activities.
- Eco, Green and Growing Area: Have a go at willow weaving.
- Where: Three Counties Showground, Malvern, Worcester WR13 6NW.
- When: May 10-13, 9am-6pm.
- Tickets: Call 0844 811 0050 (calls cost 7p per minute plus network extras) or visit www.rhsmalvern.co.uk.