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.

Friday, 14 May 2010

Dull Garden Bloggers Unite

Back row (left to right) Lia - Midnight Brambling, Zoe - formerly Garden Hopping, Karen - Artists Garden, Gail - Clay & Limestone, Elizabeth - Welsh Hills Again, Easygardener - Greenforks, Michelle - Veg Plotting

Middle row (left to right) Claire - Plantpassion, YolandaElizabet - Bliss, Helen - The Patient Gardener, Ewa - Ewa in the Garden, Michelle - A Disorganised RHS Student

Front row (left to right) Frances - Faire Garden, Sally - The Constant Gardener, Victoria - Victoria's Backyard

For some bizarre reason people looked at me strangely when I said I was hosting a party for 20ish garden bloggers during the Malvern Spring Show. I never really understood why since to me having a group of friends around for the evening was never an issue. My complete faith in my garden blogging buddies was not misplaced - we had a fab evening, full of laughter, hugs, food and drink. For some reason there is a rumour out there in the blogasphere that garden bloggers are dull (as well as illiterate) - far from it and I think you can see that from the smiley faces above.

I am looking forward to the next time my garden bloggy friends decide to descend on me.

Exhibitors' Essentials #5

Innovation and new twists to traditional ideas. Auriculas are always popular at the shows and an Auricula Theatre is the oft used way of displaying them. Here, Pop's Plants of Wiltshire has taken this display form and given it a fresh twist by marrying it with the show's Silver Anniversary celebrations.

As a result, the display was chosen most days (if not all) as the winner for the People's Choice awards in the Floral Marquee category.

Exhibitors with all of my 5 essentials stand a very good chance of achieving #6: a gold medal. Here is Meet @ Malvern's as awarded by the multiple gold medal winning designer, Cleve West on our last day at the show :)

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Exhibitors' Essentials #4

A great sense of humour. The label next to this rather striking dark-leaved dandelion read:

Taraxacum faeroense
Great for a lawn display

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Exhibitors' Essentials #3

A good name - click on the image to see what caught my eye ;)

I mean 'good name' in both senses of the word: not only an appropriate business one like the one shown above, but also a good reputation. The many nurseries who exhibit at Malvern have oodles of both as evidenced by these healthy plants in tip top condition ready to be snaffled up by visitors.

As well as the 100 or so nurseries exhibiting in the Floral Marquee, there were dozens more in the shopping areas. If you enter the show via the South Car Park you are greeted by a long row of specialist nurseries such as those pictured. Absolute heaven!

Like their marquee counterparts, these nurseries have exquisite displays to show off their wares in addition to the many rows of plants for sale. Jekka's Herb Farm was exhibiting here for the first time in 5 years and was awarded an unexpected gold medal. I hope to be catching up with Jekka soon, as she's kindly agreed to be a VP VIP :)

The second of the pictured nurseries is Heucheraholics (formerly the Solva 'Sweetie Shop'), who changed their name after Arabella Sock coined the term. It was great to see Sean again, who promptly shouted over to Jooles: Hey, it's VP, much to the consternation of their customers. I was duly presented with this year's pen and a Heuchera themed mousemat. Sean and Jooles will also be at Chelsea later this month, so do pop over and say hello to them if you're going there.

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Exhibitors' Essentials #2

Attention to detail, dedication and infinite patience: here's just three of the hundreds of daisies Alex (one of the team of three designers) added to the Anniversary show garden's pristine turf by hand last week. Apparently one of the RHS judges tried his hardest to tug some of them out of the turf, failed and so declared they must be natural.

On Thursday the garden was open for vistors to stroll around and Alex had to cheerfully stand by as his two young children merrily ran and crawled all over the turf, picking many of the lovingly applied daisies as they went.

Update: Claire has written a piece on her blog about putting the show garden together with lots of great photos of the finished result :)

Monday, 10 May 2010

Exhibitors' Essentials #1

Trolley loads of quality plants to top up your stand's sales area, plus somewhere to make a decent cup of tea. Ahhhhhh, that's better.

I had a fantastic time at Malvern and from the posts and the buzz on Twitter I've seen so far it looks like everyone else did too. My mind's in a bit of a whirl at the moment, so I only feel capable of pulling out the odd image and a quick summary to tell you about what happened at the weekend.

Everyone else is being much better about telling you about their experiences and the show, so I'm going to hoover them up into a Mr Linky below so you can trawl through them all at your leisure. My dear fellow Malvern Meeters: do feel free add any posts of yours I've missed...

Friday, 7 May 2010

To Absent Friends...

I had a rather nice surprise on Wednesday morning when the above card arrived from the Garden Fairie. She wishes us well for Malvern (shame you can't be here) and says hello to everyone, especially Gail and Frances who are flying the flag for Team USA.

Her kind thought is an ideal opportunity to send greetings to all the garden bloggers out there who can't join us at Malvern and to hope there's another time when we can meet for real rather than virtually :)

Shirls has also been in touch and wishes us well over at her blog. She also has a special request for all Malvern Meeters: she has a tulip festival on at the moment until 14th May and would love to see any photos of the tulips we encounter at the show. Last year the tulip displays were spectacular, so let's go and find them!

The picture is not of a tulip, but of an Erythronium americanum aka yellow dog-tooth violet aka toad lily.

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Dear God...

... please don't let it be like this :(

It's the first day of the show and of our first meet :)

Blog posts may appear here over the next few days or on participants blogs (see list in the right hand sidebar) if we get the time. Tweets will most probably happen - look out for the hashtag #malvernmeet on Twitter. When I get back home I'll do a round up post with a Mr Linky to link to posts about Malvern which appear on participants blogs.

Now let's all go and have a great time whatever the weather!

Picture courtesy and copyright of James Alexander-Sinclair.

Our meeting place

Had a quiet waunder around the Malvern showground Wednesday evening and took some photos so you can see what delights are awaiting you. Above is the area that has been designated the Bloggers Meet up area. It is just by the Living Theatre area where the Three Men will be performing. Michelle and/or I will be there on Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 10, 12.30 and 3pm if you want to come and say hello and get your goodie bag.

I won't bore you with more words but instead leave you with a photo of one of the showgardens. I would show you more but blogger isnt letting me load photos and time is against me

For pictures from the show visit my blog The Patient Gardener

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

More Goodies!

I spent a fantastic afternoon at the offices of Gardens Illustrated last Friday where not only was I given a little something for you all to go in your goody bags (pens and bags courtesy of Gardenersclick), I was given all kinds of treasure plundered from the subscription offer archives. I couldn't carry away 50 books or garden tool maintenance outfits, so I'm adding this little lot to the Yellow Books I have already as giveaways for anyone who donates to our NGS fundraiser.

At the moment Frances, James, Frankie and Anna have first pick, in that order. If there aren't enough donations to cover the giveaways at the end of Malvern Spring Show, then I shall put the rest up on eBay and add the proceeds to our Just Giving button on the righthand sidebar.

So we have:
  • A Sneeboer garden tool maintenance kit
  • 2 copies of the Yellow Book (donated by Joe Swift)
  • The Garden Visitor's Companion
  • The Shade Garden by Beth Chatto
  • How Does Your Garden Grow? by Chris Beardshaw
  • 2 copies of The Kitchen Gardener by Alan Titchmarsh

Let's see if we can make our target!

I've not actively sought contents for the goody bags, but by the wonders of Twitter, the lovely Heather from Wiggly Wigglers got in touch and donated a 10% off voucher, plus a free book for you when you visit the Wiggly Wigglers stand in the Eco Home and Garden Area. The rest is courtesy of your fellow Malvern Meeters :)

News hot off the press! Encounters with Remarkable Biscuits are our official biscuit sponsor (yay!) , so expect a little something to nibble with their love at the show.

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Especially for You...

...courtesy of Dave at Green Seeds aka Grow Your Own. Dave was coming to Malvern but has broken his thumb. His wife came round this evening to deliver these for our goody bags and to wish us well for the weekend.