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.
At every garden show there's always one plant which flies off the stands to feature prominently in lots of bags and trolleys. Yesterday at Malvern was no exception.
This is Fatsia japonica 'Spider's Web', which displayed itself to perfection in the Floral Marquee on a dull and rainy day. Even I succumbed as I have just the spot in the garden which needs a lift via some lighter foliage. The person in the queue behind me was also buying this plant and the person behind her said: 'Gosh it's real, I thought it was plastic!'
It wasn't to everyone's taste* - I could tell by the look on Victoria's face she didn't like it. However, I was called over excitedly by the volunteers on the RHS stand who all demanded to know the identity of the plant in my bag. Also Claudia de Yong's designer's eye could see the possibilities for a shady spot.
Variegated plants have a reputation for reverting back to green when placed in the shade. I've been assured that this shouldn't happen - I'll be reporting back to Claudia on how this plant fares in my garden.
* = see this article by Geoff Stebbings - I can see his point re the foliage resembling red spider mite damage. I usually don't go for variegated foliage myself, but I can see how my purchase can work in the spot I have in mind for it.
The Malvern Spring Show is set for a bumper edition this year, with Carol Klein set to join James in the Plants and People Arena on Friday and Saturday. Joe Swift will be also there on Saturday as usual, despite the show garden build at Chelsea kicking off a few days before Malvern commences.
Allotments get a feature to themselves - hosted by Terry Walton and Reg Moules and there's over 100 exhibitors in the Floral Marquee with many more set to join them in the outdoor sales area.
On the show gardens side of things Chris Beardshaw has designed a feature to celebrate 30 years of Groundwork and is supporting the new Painting with Plants initiative. Another Chelsea show garden designer taking some time out for Malvern!
I'm hoping to be there on Thursday and possibly Friday or Saturday. It all depends on how family matters pan out over the next few weeks...
Bryan's Ground - during 2011's Malvern Spring Show
This year saw the end of the Chris Beardshaw Mentorship. However, that doesn't mean his involvement with the Malvern Spring Show will be ending. Yesterday a new show feature Painting With Plants was announced with Chris very much to the fore. As he's also returning to Chelsea with a show garden next year, for him May will certainly be busy!
10 borders will be displayed, each inspired by a painting, photograph or a landscape. I was certainly inspired by Bryan's Ground earlier this year, which very much has an artistic feel to it, so who knows perhaps it might also feature at the show next year? The border will be purely plants - no hardscaping -so it'll be interesting to see what each entrant comes up with.
This new initiative is designed to put the focus on community groups, schools and charities and the top three designs will each receive a prize of £1,000 for their nominated good cause. Have a look at the explanatory letter and entry form if you think this is for you.