RHS Malvern Spring Festival
Having had a fantastic time at the Malvern Autumn Show at the end of last year, we jumped at the chance to attend the RHS Malvern Spring Festival. The show is held at The Three Counties Showground, with the spectacular backdrop of the Malvern Hills. The “Celebration of Gardening” was based around the theme of Malvern’s Victorian heritage as a health resort. As a result, the Show Gardens featured Spa Gardens. There was also the “Live Well Zone” with the “Health and Wellbeing Garden” at its heart.
One of the highlights of the show is the spectacular displays of flowers. The Floral Marquee was a riot of colour and scent. It showcased the best of the best plants from a huge variety of nurseries. The displays were stunning. However, we didn’t spend much time in here because it was very busy and because of this it wasn’t particularly suitable for the girls. However, if you are an avid gardener, it provides the perfect place to pick up some new specimens.
The best blooms weren’t just in the Floral Marquee. They were spread far and wide across the showground; from the halls displaying floral art to on the stalls of traders. These are some of my favourites including bright gerbera, white tulips with feathery petals and gorgeous “ladybird” poppies.
Now, the thing about the Autumn Show was how family-friendly it was. There was loads to keep the girls amused and entertained. The Malvern Spring Festival had a bit of a different feel to it. It was much more about enjoying gardens and gardening. That said, there was plenty to capture the attention of the girls. The School Gardens were particularly impressive. These were designed and built by pupils from local schools. This year’s theme was space travel. We were all amazed by the thought, time and effort that had put into these gardens. What was more impressive than this were some of the pupils who were present to show us around their gardens. They were such a wonderful group of young people with such confidence and pride in their work. A real credit to their schools. I felt really inspired talking to them. Their enthusiasm had produced some imaginative gardens, which we loved.
There were lots of other events on for children in the Exploration Zone throughout the day. I took Freyja to see “The Greedy Goat” where Czech author and illustrator Petr Horácek read some of his books, whilst drawing some of his characters and explaining how he developed them. We had arrived, expecting it to be story telling, but it was so much more. Petr was fascinating to listen to. He showed us how he drew his characters and used colour to bring them to life. It was so much more than it promised to be. Freyja loves making little books with stories and pictures, and she felt inspired by this session.
Another inspiration was Blue Peter gardener Chris Collins. I had a lovely chat with him about how to inspired kids to get interested in growing plants. His five top tips are another post in themselves!
The Show Gardens were pretty impressive. It was interesting how these differed from the spectacle in the Floral Marquee. I sort of assumed that prize-winning gardens would be full of colour. They were, but it was generally lush greens. They seemed much more about long-lasting, perennial greenery, and less about short-lived flashes of bright colours.
As beautiful as the show gardens were, what really captured our imaginations were the floral art displays. There were some really creative exhibits. It was a bit like visiting an art gallery. There were various themes for the displays, and it was particularly interesting to read the judges comments.
I liked the displays that combined flowers with fruit and vegetables. I have never seen aubergines featured in a flower arrangement before. I felt both inspired and inadequate in my lack of creative ability.
The displays weren’t confined just to these show halls. There were some great talking points all around the showground, including around the trade stands.
There was lots to see and do at this years Malvern Spring Festival, and we really didn’t get round all of the show. I do love plants and flowers but I just don’t have the time and energy to do much in the garden. I did really like the idea of this ceramic flower meadow – bright and colourful but with very little maintenance.
This year’s Malvern Spring Festival was well worth the visit. I don’t think it quite topped the Autumn Show in terms of family fun, but there were so many beautiful plants and flowers, it was just a different experience. Although this was our first Spring Festival visit to the showground, I am sure it won’t be our last.
Disclaimer: We were provided with family tickets to the show, but all thoughts and opinions are our own.