Wednesday, 31 March 2010
So with all that to deal with, why do designers subject themselves to the ordeal?
Sometimes it is because you have a spectacular idea you cannot allow to sit and fester on the desk any longer. Sometimes you have a bee in your bonnet about a subject and want to educate through design.
Sometimes you have such a wonderful team to work with that you cannot pass up the opportunity. And so it is with us and the collective brought together for the Malvern Spring Gardening Show 2010.
The Three Counties Agricultural Society are wonderful people to work with – highly passionate about what they and others do – the ideal clients. They understand what it takes to put on the show, the importance of excellent horticulture and they are open to new ideas. Very rarely do you have such an open client team who really want to challenge both your own design skills and the boundaries that have been seen in past years.
And the rest of the design team, well, we sort of know each other from past shows, and being such diverse designers and characters, we were confident that each of us could bring a different viewpoint to the table.
And so the scene was set. Alex Bell Garden Design, James Steed of Outdoor Living Space and myself from Claire Potter Design as the central design team, supported other Malvern devotees such as Martin Clark Trees and Chris Greenwood from Poultry Park.
But would so many heads be better than one, or would too many designers spoil the broth?
To be continued... [Well, it is according to Claire's email when she sent this: it's entitled Guest Post 1 - Ed :)]
Tuesday, 30 March 2010
I thought it might be nice for those planning to come to the Malvern Spring Show to show you something of Great Malvern. I moved here in 2000 with my two boys, following my parents who had retired to the area about 8 years previously. I have grown to love the area and feel that Malvern is more my home now than Berkshire where I grew up. Malvern is actually broken into 3 areas: Great Malvern, Malvern Link and Barnards Green. Great Malvern was very popular with the Victorians who came to take the spa waters driving from one of the many natural springs across the hills.
Above is the well in the middle of Great Malvern. To be honest I hadn't really noticed the design of the well until I saw the photos my eldest took for me. There is a tradition around the Malvern Hills of well dressing. I seem to remember it happening around May time last year but I'm not sure it will coincide with your visit but if you are interested you can find out more via this site .
For those of you wanting to know more about Malvern you can visit the Malvern Museum which is pictured above. On looking at their website I was interested to note that they are running a series of events this year to mark the 100th death of Florence Nightingale who frequently visited the spa for her health.
Just by the museum is Great Malvern Priory. Originally started around 1085 - yes thats 1085! It was extended in the late 15th century. During the reign of Henry VIII the priory was saved from being destroyed by the villagers who petitioned the king to let them buy the building for £20. Further work was done in the 19th century including the building of the north porch. If you wander around the graveyard and look very carefully you will find the grave of Charles Darwin's daughter, Anne, who he had bought to the town to take the waters.
So that's a brief tour of the highlights of Great Malvern. The other thing you need to know if that it is on a hill so you need to be prepared for the slopes. I tend to plan a route for my shopping that only involves me going up hill once on the route!!
I should say that as well as some lovely old buildings, Great Malvern has a range of small eateries and cafes, numerous shops from large supermarkets to small boutiques, an excellent theatre which often has pre-West End shows and a very friendly feeling about it. I do hope that you will get a chance to visit the town as part of your visit.
Monday, 29 March 2010
The RHS ignores it's friendly neighbour N.Ireland I am sad to say when it comes to it's fabulous events. We like to grow stuff too!! Darn it.
So I have never been to a celebrated flower show, though Garden Ireland hosts the lovely Hillsborough flower show which I also haven't attended *shame*. But that isn't the point, never in my thirty years have I even considered being seen at one of these wonderful garden shows in Britain, notice it isn't Great without N Ireland. Then I happened to mention a desire to go to one, any one sometime in the future and lo and behold a friend offers me free tickets. My world just exploded into a happy fluffy place full of marshmallows and chocolate and skipping joy-filled people. Not only am I waiting for my new house to be built and therefore thinking of the 2 tiny gardens we'll have to create and make fantastic, but there's the lotties, which I shall be only a few minutes walk from. Gardening has invaded my existence like a pernicious weed, if you will, one with a pretty flower that I welcome into my life.
So I sat on this joyous news for a while, thinking, 'hummmm, shall I?'. I mentioned it to the hubby and there was no hesitation. We were going!! Yippeee and such.
Thank goodness for the Meet @ Malvern site and the most awesome VP who helped me get somewhere to stay, somewhere very lovely indeed, a room she had just cancelled on, so it was highly tasteful, naturally. Now I can't stop looking at the RHS site and the Meet @ Malvern site and getting ever so more excited with each update. We're going to be VIP's for goodness sake, it's the 25th Anniversary bash this year and there are craft stalls as well as all things gardening. Plus the ever lovely James A-S lecturing, lots of blogging friends and inspiration too!
So the flights are booked, we have a hire car booked and Maggie is going to be looked after and spoilt rotten by her Granny, though I haven't told Maggie yet, she'd only be jealous of Malvern.
Have to ask though, is anyone else a bit nervous about the face to face interaction of it all?? Is it just me or do others worry that in person and with my accent I won't be as likable in reality? Oh, it's like a huge blind date. Should I wear a certain coloured rose in my lapel, do I have to wear something that has a lapel, crap, what am I going to wear?? Hadn't thought of that, eek!
Friday, 26 March 2010
SomeBeans has banned me from buying any more seeds this year. He didn't, however, mention anything about not buying plants. So, it was with itchy fingers that I entered the floral marquee on Saturday.
I'm not a huge fan of bonsai, but this hawthorn was eye-catching.
I'm also not a fan of auriculas, but another great display. I can see why people get obsessed with the different flower colours, the doubles, the farina, even if I can't understand it myself.
This peony, on the other hand, is so delicious I could have eaten it.
From peonies to pleiones - I wish I was brave enough to try and grow them.
This angelica looked stunning against the canvas of the marquee.
I didn't actually buy any of the plants above, though. I bought...
Thursday, 25 March 2010
Wednesday, 24 March 2010
If you would like to do a guest post here, then email me at the address on the sidebar with your content and any photo(s) you'd like to use. We are more than happy for you to do simultaneous postings with it appearing on your own blog and here at the same time.
If you're coming to Malvern for more than one day, then the lovely people at the showground are also offering any extra days at the slightly cheaper group rate.
If you've already booked your tickets, or are one of the people who can attend as a member of the press, I still need to know which day(s) you are coming so your names can be added to the admission list for our dedicated VIP area.
If you're coming with a partner or friend(s), their tickets should be booked separately via the Malvern Spring Show booking system, or purchased on the gate. I will also need to know their name(s) and day(s) for the VIP admission list.
Any questions about your post or the tickets offer? Just leave a comment below or drop me a line via email.
Tuesday, 23 March 2010
Friday, 19 March 2010
Joe Swift (whom many of you know already as one of the Three Men Went to Mow) is NGS President and has kindly sent us this message explaining what it's all about:
The National Garden scheme is simply the most wonderful charity for garden lovers. It's so simple - The NGS annual publication 'The Yellow book' contains around 3,600 gardens up and down the country which open when they are at their peak. The average price is £3 for a garden visit, which I think is extremely good value and most of them also put on fabulous teas with home made cake, adding possibly the most important element to the days experience! The NGS is the biggest single fundraiser for MacMillan and Marie Curie [2 of our major cancer support charities - Ed] and it just goes to shows what can be achieved when garden lovers pulls together.
As you all know blogging is an immediate and extensive form of communication so I want all you garden bloggers out there to do your bit and spread the word of the NGS. Try and get all your readers to visit at least one yellow book this year and hopefully we can raise more than the staggering £2.5 million which was raised last year.
Thanks so much
Joe Swift (NGS President)
NB Anne and Victoria who will be joining us at Meet @ Malvern are opening their gardens under the Scheme in July and August respectively. Two perfect excuses for us to take Joe up on his challenge of visiting at least one NGS garden this year. I'll put up details of those near Malvern open around the Spring Show weekend in a later post.
Joe has also kindly donated a couple of Yellow Books (as shown above) - I'll enter all of you making a donation into a prize draw to win a copy. Gardenersclick have also given us some T-shirts, which you could opt to have instead: an excellent alternative for those of you unable to make use of the book.
So don't delay - click on the button in the sidebar and make your donation!
[Seriously cropped - Ed] photo of Joe Swift courtesy of James Alexander Sinclair.
Wednesday, 17 March 2010
I have always known and loved the Malvern hills, as a small child I spent many an hour running around British Camp, usually in a force 8 gale. My first sight of the hills as I turn off towards Upton on Severn always makes me feel as though I am coming home.
I came late to garden designing, a career change I have never regretted. From the beginning my aim was to enter a show garden at the Malvern Show. In 2006 I finally achieved my ambition and built 'Incy Wincy Spider' sponsored by a school in Redditch. I won a bronze medal and felt very proud of myself.
However I had caught the bug, one garden wasn't enough, I had to make another, so 'All the World's a Stage' followed in 2007. Another bronze medal, although I listened to the judges feedback, tweaked the garden and entered it at Gardener's World Live the same year and won a silver. So it is worth getting that feedback.
Gardener's World Live
This year the bug has bitten again and 'The Owl and The Pussycat is in production. I am working with a friend, we decided to grow all the plants ourselves, foolishly choosing the coldest winter for 30 years.
Thanks Pat, for such a fascinating insight. I look forward to reading your blog updates (NB there's a link in the sidebar under Show People, Diary of a showgarden as well as the one above) and meeting you in May :)
Tuesday, 16 March 2010
Such frantic preparations are of minor concern to us here at Meet @ Malvern HQ. The even juicier news is we have even more blogging chums joining us from over the water. I'm delighted Carrie and Andy will be joining us from Northern Ireland (so we only have Scotland to go in order to complete our set of pals from all GB countries) and Ewa will flying in from Poland and taking in the show during her well deserved break here in the UK. I'm sure they'll have the warmest of welcomes from everyone and do please visit their blogs and say hello if you need to get to know them a little beforehand.
Meet @ Malvern is also making the headlines in the gardening world. Yesterday, gardenersclick (an online 'gardening club' with around 10,000 members) sent out their monthly newsletter which includes a short piece about our get together. They've taken a stand at the show and will also be providing a gardeners' forum, where members will be on hand to answer questions. So do pop over and say hello, ask a question and even sign up if you're not a member already! They've also kindly agreed to donate enough bags for all Meet @ Malvern participants to kick-start your shopping activities. I found mine most useful last year and I'm hoping they'll also pop in an eco-friendly notebook and pen for everyone.
You may have spotted that we've been pretty excited here over Three Men Went to Mow (TMWTM) making an appearance at Malvern on the Friday and Saturday. They now have a sparkly new website which has all their TMWTM videos squeezed onto one comfy page plus news about their other scheduled appearances and any other mischief and mayhem they might be up to. Rumour has it they'll be trying out podcasting next :0
Finally the power of Twitter has alerted our activities to another participant for us all to go and say hello to. Pat Atkins is a local garden designer who's had show gardens at Malvern in previous years. This year she's set herself the challenge of not only limiting her budget to £1,000, but to also growing the plants needed. I'm hoping she'll write a special guest post for us here, but in the meantime you can catch up with how she's getting on in her show garden diary.
Picture courtesy and copyright of James Alexander-Sinclair.
Monday, 15 March 2010
Ceci n'est pas un billet*
Well, it is actually, but also so much more than that. It's an opportunity to gaze, to shop, to gain inspiration, to look at perfect flowers in awe, to covet plants, to wish I had a bigger garden, to learn, to make notes, to take photos and to enjoy a day out amongst thousands of other plant lovers.
It's the Malvern spring gardening show. And I have my tickets! Now I just have to wait six weeks [or so, check the countdown clock - Ed]...
(*'This is not a ticket', with apologies to René Magritte)
Which also gives me the ideal opportunity to remind you about our fantastic half price ticket deal:
- We have a limited number of half-price tickets (for Friday or Saturday) if you write a full blog post on your blog (i.e. not just a mention in passing or a paragraph in a post) about the Spring Show or if you already have a blog but choose to write a guest post for us here
- The deadline for posting is the 31st March 2010
- Need inspiration? Then have a look at what Frances, Happy Mouffetard, Edith, Victoria and Karen have written thus far
- If you would like to do a guest post here, then email me at the address on the sidebar with your content and any photo(s) you'd like to use.
- We are more than happy for you to do simultaneous postings with it appearing on your own blog and here at the same time
- If you are coming to Malvern for more than one day, then the lovely people at the showground are also offering any extra days at the slightly cheaper group rate
- If you've already booked your tickets, or are one of the people who can attend as a member of the press, I still need to know which day(s) you are coming so your names can be added to the admission list for our dedicated VIP area
- If you're coming with a partner or friend(s), their tickets should be booked separately via the Malvern Spring Show booking system, or purchased on the gate. I will also need to know their name(s) and day(s) for the VIP admission list
Don't forget the deadline - 31st March- and don't forget to send us the link to your post. I'll contact you to request the information needed for the Three Counties Showground and payment so they can issue your tickets.
Any questions about your post or the tickets offer? Just leave a comment below or drop me a line via email.
Friday, 12 March 2010
Wednesday, 10 March 2010
Monday, 8 March 2010
First up at Meet @ Malvern is the house that Himself built...
Anna wrote this in October 2009, so it looks like her worms have thrived since last year's Spring Show. And only last week she wrote about how delighted she still is with her greenhouse.
Friday, 5 March 2010
So without further ado, here's Sarah to tell you a little more about life as an exhibitor...
Sarah designs and makes contemporary lampshades and writes a blog about her design ideas which are often inspired by her garden on the Eastern slopes of the Malvern Hills. [She also visited Painswick Rococo Gardens a few days after I did and it's interesting to see how her visit and The Exedra in particular, inspired her - Ed]
She is a member of the Worcestershire Guild of Designer Craftsmen, which exhibits in the Wye Hall at the Malvern Spring Gardening Show and the Malvern Autumn Show.
Tuesday, 2 March 2010
Don't forget the deadline - 31st March- and don't forget to send us the link to your post. When we receive your link VP will contact you to request the information we need for the Three Counties Showground so they can issue your half price tickets.
Monday, 1 March 2010
We've still to clarify a couple of details with the ticket deal, so until Helen is able to announce everything ASAP, I thought you'd like a sneak preview of the Anniversary show garden which Claire has been collaborating on with 2 other designers. The turf was broken a couple of days before our visit last Thursday and the first foundations laid. Claire will be guest posting later to tell us more about the garden and how a collaborative project works, but in the meantime you might like to have a look at this design drawing from the Malvern Show website.