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