In 2010 over 30 garden bloggers from all over the world met for the first ever UK get together at RHS Malvern Spring Show. This blog documents the lead up to that event plus the subsequent informal get togethers we've had in Malvern. There are also insights into the events of 2009, insider views from various exhibitors and personal views of Malvern and surrounding places of interest.

Thus this blog also forms a valuable resource for anyone wanting to visit either the spring or autumn versions of the show, or contemplating a visit to the area.

Saturday, 6 October 2018

A return to the autumn show

The Malvern hills from the Three Counties showground

It's a while since I attended the Autumn show and it was well worth the wait until last Saturday as I thoroughly enjoyed my day there. A gin-clear sky and warm sunshine meant the hills made a glorious backdrop to the day's events.

The horticultural content may be lower than the spring show, but there was still more than enough to see. Floral excellence was to the fore in its new dedicated marquee and there were plenty of informative talks in the adjacent tent. I particularly enjoyed the garden version of 'Just a Minute' with subjects supplied by the audience. Much laughter flowed from the ensuing discussion and banter by James Alexander Sinclair, Alys Fowler, Joe Swift and Gyles Brandreth.

The amusing pumpkin display outside the Giant Vegetable tent

Malvern celebrates the harvest, with its own dedicated tent and the world of giant vegetables in particular. Half a dozen world records were broken this year, one twice in the space of 5 minutes. Another was broken by one grower who used the seed given to him by the previous record holder. He looked a little bemused on Sunday's Breakfast News, but that may have been due to the vagaries of live outside broadcasting.

Apples galore from the show's main sponsor make an enticing display

There aren't any show gardens in autumn, though there are permanent gardens at the showground if you need that particular fix. Instead an opportunity is taken to display the fruits of the season, especially as Malvern is at the heart of England's top fruit activities. This was of particular interest as I have a few projects lined up for the coming years and I wanted to talk to the experts about them.

RV Roger's prize winning display

RV Roger deservedly won Best in Show with their exhibit of top fruit. They were also extremely helpful with all my questions about how to grow stepover apples. They highly recommend Lord Lambourne for this technique and so I duly added it to my list of potential varieties to grow.

A selection from the 90 perry pear varieties bought to the show from the national collection

I also took the opportunity to learn more about perry pears by going on a walk around the wider Three Counties showground. The national collection used to be held there, but has since moved to the aptly named Hartpury (reportedly meaning hard pear). Jim Chapman displayed 90 varieties from the new national collection and I giggled when I saw one is called 'Gin'.

There are still some perry trees to be seen in the grounds and I found I'd actually parked my car under one of them. We also tried one of the pears picked from a tree on our walk... rather hard and bitter tasting at first, with the familiar pear taste to finish. Back in the Orchard tent, the local perries tasted much finer!

I also took the opportunity to conquer a long held fear, but that story deserves a post of its own...

A beautiful wrought iron gate leads to one of the showground's permanent gardens


Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Help create a show garden


Usually the only chance we get to interact with show gardens and their makers is by admiring them at the shows. This year is different as we are all invited to make a knitted contribution to one of the most intriguing and heart warming displays set fair for this year's RHS Malvern Spring Festival.

There's going to be a knitted garden, created to raise awareness of and funds for the Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice in Gloucestershire. Clare Young - the garden's creator - took up knitting to manage her own grief after losing her husband Ken, who was cared for at the hospice. The items she created raised funds, and then after she and a group of friends yarnbombed a thank you to the hospice, she was invited to create a garden for Malvern.

Clare aims to raise £50,000 from her garden and to help her do so, she is asking for contributions of knitted and crocheted hearts. Take the link to find out more about her Work of Heart Garden, plus further links to the pattern.

I'll be making a heart or two and I look forward to seeing the completed piece at the show!

Saturday, 7 May 2016

Spring 2016

Part of the Auricula theatre presented by Auricula Nurseries
I loved the presentation of these contrasting auriculas, courtesy of Drointon Nurseries 
Once again the RHS Malvern Spring Festival has excelled itself this year, topped by the best weather in my 10+ years of visiting the show.

There are plenty of delights - too many for one blog post - so Meet at Malvern presents... a round up of all the ones I've found so far. Let me know if you find any others.


See you in the autumn? Show dates are 24th and 25th September.

Sunday, 10 May 2015

Spring 2015

Constraining Nature by Kate Durr - Best in Show in the Festival Gardens category

Malvern gets better each year and this weekend's spring show was no exception. There were more gold medals than ever, including this amazing garden by show garden first-timer and trainee garden designer Kate Durr.

The pink tulips are 'Caresse' which has been adopted by the charity Ucare. Kate chose to support this Oxfordshire based cancer charity which raises funds to support urology research and raise awareness of urological cancers.

As usual I'm using this post to gather those blog posts I find about this year's show:

The Autumn show is on September 26 and 27th - see you there?

Friday, 9 May 2014

THE Plant of This Year's Show?


At every garden show there's always one plant which flies off the stands to feature prominently in lots of bags and trolleys. Yesterday at Malvern was no exception.

This is Fatsia japonica 'Spider's Web', which displayed itself to perfection in the Floral Marquee on a dull and rainy day. Even I succumbed as I have just the spot in the garden which needs a lift via some lighter foliage. The person in the queue behind me was also buying this plant and the person behind her said:
'Gosh it's real, I thought it was plastic!'

It wasn't to everyone's taste* - I could tell by the look on Victoria's face she didn't like it. However, I was called over excitedly by the volunteers on the RHS stand who all demanded to know the identity of the plant in my bag. Also Claudia de Yong's designer's eye could see the possibilities for a shady spot.

Variegated plants have a reputation for reverting back to green when placed in the shade. I've been assured that this shouldn't happen - I'll be reporting back to Claudia on how this plant fares in my garden.

* = see this article by Geoff Stebbings - I can see his point re the foliage resembling red spider mite damage. I usually don't go for variegated foliage myself, but I can see how my purchase can work in the spot I have in mind for it.

Other blog posts:

  • Veg Plotting has a show overview
  • Helen has a thorough look at the nurseries, plus her personal experiences of AGS showing and helping on the Avon Bulbs stand
  • Ann has put together a two page journal with plenty of snippets about the show
  • Sign of the Times has a poignant message from one of the schools gardens
  • The Cynical Gardener shows off her haul from the Floral Marquee
  • Naturally, the other blog dedicated to Malvern has a few things to say on the subject (work back from this link to find plenty of other posts about this year's show)
  • I'll add further links from other attendees as and when I find them. Let me know about yours in the comments below