Biggest spring gardening show in Britain, May 9-12, 9am-6pm
Famous faces will be descending on the RHS Malvern Spring Festival, with a star-studded line-up of celebrity guests.
Gardeners’ World favourites Monty Don, Joe Swift and Carol Klein will be offering expert advice while top chefs Raymond Blanc and John Torode will be delivering foodie talks.
DJ Jo Whiley, chair of the Women in Wellbeing forum and featuring gardeners such as Alys Fowler and Barbara Wilkinson, will talk about how vital it is to spend time in the garden.
Jo will be riding in on a Harley Davidson in a dress made entirely of fresh flowers on Thursday, May 9 at 9am.
Other horticultural stars, including designer Chris Beardshaw, florist Jonathan Moseley, plantswoman Sarah Raven and TV gardener Frances Tophill will complete the line-up.
RHS Malvern is paying homage to the silver-halide process used to capture photographic images, which celebrates its 180th anniversary. There will be a series of photographic exhibits that explores gardening through time.
There will be a giant teletroscope (a conceptual model of a television or videophone system) offering views across the showground.
One of the sculptures on the biggest show garden is being craned in the day after it’s been central to a wedding – and the couple who got married are coming to the show to recreate their big day.
Six of the eight garden designers are first-timers and include a former costume designer from Foyle’s War, a nuclear physicist who worked at the Hadron Collider and a make-up artist from Lichfield.
Mimosa Design – Grace & Dignity Garden: designed by Lucie Giselle Ponsford, sponsored by Mimosa Garden Design
This garden represents the life’s work and passion of an elderly woman called Mrs Grace. Each circle has a different tone and purpose but together represent the lenses of the colour spectrum. A decorative rill waters the bright herbaceous blooms in the circle at the front. To the side is a glade of birch trees underplanted with native and cultivated plants. A carved oak seat provides a place to rest, while a cobbled and turf path joins the spaces together.
The Habit of Living – a garden in support of Diabetes UK: designed by Karen Tatlow and Katherine Hathaway, built by MJL Garden Design, sponsored by Tippers Ltd, Urban Street Designs and Ethan Mason Paving
Designed for use by patients, visitors and staff at a diabetes centre. The design echoes the journey made by a newly diagnosed patient. A dark and difficult-to-navigate path is surrounded by plants in tones of plum and purple. A seating area clad with light and dark porcelain representing the highs and lows of managing the condition. The path becomes easier to follow and the planting becomes softer with lighter hues.
The Redshift Garden: designed by Julie Bellingham, built by J. Drewe Landscaping & Maintenance Ltd, sponsored by Institute of Physics
Redshift is the term used when a celestial object moves away from us and the wavelength of the light is stretched, making it appear red. The design features a space to sit, representing Earth, with sculptures depicting telescopes. The planting moves from yellows through orange towards reds. Interspersed are swathes of dark plants representing dark matter.
The Mindset: designed by Anna Galagan
This conceptual garden presents visitors with a challenge to experience life in two parts – the first a grey, lifeless, concrete-filled world, the other a flourishing and joyful space filled with colourful meadow planting. It asks us to rethink our throw-away culture and re-evaluate the world we’d like to pass on to our children.
The MacMillan Legacy Garden: designed by Gary Bristow, built by Bigfish Landscapes. sponsored by Macmillan Cancer Support
The design is inspired by a fictional couple, one a painter, the other a photographer and is a celebration of their life. The planting features perennials, bulbs and self-seeding plants, creating their own legacy. White flowers demonstrate the challenges of a cancer diagnosis, developing into more colourful and tactile planting, expressing the warmth and energy of Macmillan’s support.
The Leaf Creative Garden – A Garden of Quiet Contemplation: designed by Peter Dowle, built by Leaf Creative, sponsored by Simon Gudgeon, Mandarin Stone and ReadyHedge
The garden is a calm, contemplative space with a series of viewing points. From a glass-fronted building, the view looks out onto a reflective long pool, which features a dancing ballerina sculpture on a circular infinity pool. The planting features calm whites with other soft colours contrasted with darker greens.
The Orange Express: designed and sponsored by Villaggio Verde
This woodland garden takes the visitor to a remote area of fruit production in Spain, with a small railway station to transport their produce to market. Planted containers and orange, olive, lemon, pistachio and pomegranate trees flourish.
What If? Designed by Sebastian Conrad in collaboration with Kate Rees, built by Ballingers of Malvern
Large pines sit alongside reclaimed stone, salvia and rosemary with the garden’s vibrant, warm colours inspiring positivity and a peaceful state of mind. The light falls on to a warm-toned pine-needle mulch beneath and grasses add movement through their loose appearance.
Green Living Spaces Gardens
Defiance: designed by Sara Edwards, built by Design It Landscapes, sponsored by The Pot Company and Palms-Exotics Ltd
This London balcony garden belongs to a plant-obsessed traveler returning from Brazil, who craves the lush green of the tropics, and not the harsh realities of inner-city life. The feature block wall, which allows some light to pass through, brings a retro feel and a striking architectural backdrop.
An Artist’s Studio at Home: designed by Jessica Makins, built by Jeffrey Hart
Inspired by the home, studio and paintings of Georgia O’Keefe, the design focuses on creating views to paint and draw. A soft palette of natural materials provides a backdrop for textural, grey-green planting with contrasting monochrome blooms. Natural materials are used inside and out.
Ikhaya – Home: designed by Stacey Bright, built by Keyscape, sponsored by Rosara, Harrod Horticultural and Willow & Stone
Designed to evoke a feeling of farm living within the city using clean lines and minimalism with indigenous South African flora. Predominantly planted with edibles, this outdoor space functions as an open-air pantry.
Mediterranean Terrace: designed by Gabriella Pill, sponsored by London Stone and Hortus Loci
This garden is designed for a young, professional couple. To create fluidity, the garden features the same potted plants, cushions and rugs as the indoor space. Three statement plants, Arbutus unedo (strawberry tree), Chamaerops humilis (Mediterranean fan palm) and Trachycarpus fortunei (chusan palm) create a holiday vibe.
ZETA – Memories of Home: designed by Anastasia Yakovleva, sponsored by ZETA
Designed for a professional Russian couple, the garden blends their Loft, Scandinavian and Rustic design aspirations. Traditional Russian elements have been incorporated, which features edible produce for the chef of the house to cook with.
Mandy Watson is a freelance journalist and plantaholic with roots firmly planted in working-class NE England. MandyCanUDigIt grew from the tiny seed of a Twitter account into this rainforest of information. JPIMedia gardening columnist and Teesdale Mercury Magazine editor. Garden Media Guild and NUJ member. Mission statement: to make gardening more accessible to the often excluded - the less able, the hard-up or beginners. Advocate of gardening for better mental health.