Apart from a beautiful setting in the Malvern Hills, I always look forward to visiting the Spring Show at The Three Counties Showground in Malvern (hosted in association with the RHS). This year the show has been retitled the 'Spring Festival', with a new look to the layout. Not only is it the first big gardening show of the year, it is the only show that both features and nurtures young talent – with 20 school gardens entered this year. Why other RHS shows don’t do the same always baffles me as the children I meet every year are so full of enthusiasm. They've always usually grown the plants themselves and helped to plant and construct their very creative displays.
Here are some of the innovative gardens from various schools with this year's theme: ‘Great Moments in History’.
Above: 'Double Helix Garden' by the Farmor’s School, Fairford which explores the story of DNA
The other wonderful thing about Malvern, apart from the weather (it was bucketing down when I went!) are the fantastic craftsmen/women and over 80 local and international nurseries who put on magnificent displays in both the marquee and the surrounding areas outside.
Above: Local craftsman at Malvern
This year there were talks from famous garden celebrities including Carol Klein, Chris Beardshaw, James Alexander-Sinclair and Blue Peter gardener Chris Collins.
There were demonstrations too by some top chefs, Rachel Allen and James Martin in the Village Green area which celebrated the Edwardian era where vintage cars were on display and vintage games could be played after sipping a very English cuppa in the vintage tearooms.
Above: James Martin cooking up some delights
Above: There were also a few 'Buskers' tents positioned around the showground where various artists played and sang which all added to the Festival scene and atmosphere.
There are, of course, a range of resplendent show gardens to visit too. From well-known and up-and-coming designers, as well as lushious displays from plant societies, florists and local food producers.
Above: The 'At Home on the Beach' show garden by Villagio Verde, a little windswept and some distance from the sea!
Above: The 'Bring Nature Home' show garden by Graduate Gardeners Ltd
Several new varieties of plants were launched at Malvern this year including a new Mint plant called Mentha piperita ’Strawberry’ from Stonecrop Herbs of Doncaster; a new Fuschia from Roualeyn Nursery; and a new Digitalis called ‘Sugar Plum’ from Bowtanic Nursery – to name but a few.
Above: The most popular plants this year though seemed to be the humble Geum – this very bright and cheerful 'tangerine' geum was on the Hardy Plant’s stand.
Over four days more than 90,000 people descend on the showground, consuming in excess of 18,000 cups of tea, 6,000 pieces of cake and 3,000 sandwiches. And despite the howling winds and sheeting rain the first day was as packed as ever, despite the sign below!