2018 has been hailed as the best ever RHS Malvern Spring Festival. The landmark gardening and food event took place from Thursday 10th to Sunday 13th May and welcomed more than 100,000 people onto the Three Counties Showground to explore the vibrant four-day festival packed full of new features.
Head of Show, Diana Walton, said: “This year has been a tremendous success, we couldn’t be happier with how it’s gone. We had some fantastic new features, alongside our usual lively lineup, which meant there was plenty for everyone to enjoy.
“We loved how our celebration of innovation came together so beautifully – where else could you see flying Morgan cars, a knitted garden, Pygmy goats roaming a show garden and a hidden paradise inside a gigantic Faberge egg?
“Our gardening and food experts shared their bountiful knowledge with endless enthusiasm and hopefully festival goers left brimming with inspiration and ideas. We’ve had huge interest in our new Green Living Spaces concept, particularly from Alan Titchmarsh who liked how accessible and realistic the design ideas were. It’s been wonderful to hear so much excitement from our visitors at the show.”
Kicking off the summer season of shows, RHS Malvern Spring Festival is the largest RHS Show outside of London. This year welcomed the top names of the gardening and food world to share their knowledge, including Alan Titchmarsh, John Torode, Valentine Warner, Raymond Blanc and BBC Gardeners’ World presenters, Carol Klein, Joe Swift and Alys Fowler.
Visitors immersed themselves in 10 stunning show gardens, five of these won gold, including one flown in from Moscow Flower Show, hidden inside a Faberge-inspired three metre high metallic egg that opened its metallic ‘flower petals’ to music, light and mist. A new Green Living Spaces feature, built around a ‘home’ generated huge interest with its patio and balcony designs.
Gardening enthusiasts were spoilt for choice with more than 100 award-winning specialist nurseries on site, while foodie fans indulged in the food and drink hall and were entertained by sizzling workshops and demonstrations held by industry experts in the Grow & Cook Theatre.
A new Great Pavilion of Art and Flowers entranced visitors with beautiful floral displays cascading from three baby Morgan cars suspended from the roof, above a floral theatre and the beautiful Cottage in the Wood lounge.
Top children’s authors in the new Book Hub and former BBC Blue Peter Gardener Chris Collins welcomed budding gardeners to a dedicated family weekend, whilst 12 schools, took part in the much-loved School Garden Challenge, alongside a specially designed Celebrating Blue Peter Garden to mark 60 years of the much-loved TV show.
A heartfelt knitted garden, in support of Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice, by widow Clare Young drew huge crowds. The Work of Heart Garden, featured a hospice bedroom overgrown with knitted plants including lavender and rosemary as well as bright sunflowers. Raising funds for the hospice that helped to care for her late husband Ken, she’s still counting up the donations, which have so far topped £15,000.
SHOW GARDENS AND GREEN LIVING SPACES
Each year RHS Malvern Spring Festival raises the bar for design and horticultural talent and 2018 was no exception. The winner’s of the RHS Malvern Medal Categories were:
- Best Show Garden – ‘The Perfumer’s Garden’ by Ruth Gwynn and Alan Williams - GOLD
- Best Construction Award - ‘The Spirit of the Woods’ by Howle Hill Nursery – GOLD
- Best Green Living Spaces Garden – ‘Outside Number 39’ by Elaine Portch – GOLD
RHS Gold Medals have also been awarded to:
- Greenhance: The Garden in the Egg by Jonas Egger
- Memories of Service supporting the RAF100 Appeal by Wilson Associates Garden Design
- Billy’s Cave by Villaggio Verde
RHS Silver-Gilt Medals have been awarded to:
- Bovis Homes Family Garden by Dan Ryan
- Urban Oasis by Mark Draper
- Royal Porcelain Works Ltd: The Collector’s Garden by Olivia Kirk
- The Salad Deck by Andy Bending
An RHS Silver Medal has been awarded to:
- Garden Inspiration: The Dew Pond by Christian Dowle
RHS Bronze Medals have been awarded to:
- From Over the Fence by Jonathan Bishop
- At Home – Grow, Dine and Relax by Anne Keenan
- The Urban Escape by Sebastian Conrad
The People’s Choice Award:
Show Garden: Urban Oasis by Mark Draper from Graduate Gardeners
Green Living Spaces: The Salad Deck by Andy Bending
The 2018 Floral Marquee at Malvern sold out in November with a waiting list of more than 30 nurseries. It played host to 70 specialist nurseries, welcomed nine new nurseries, two anniversaries and a host of new plant varieties including Auricula ‘Louis’ to welcome the newest addition to the Royal family, which has been bred by Sarah Millington from Hillview Hardy Plants.
Taking home the top title in the Floral Marquee was:
- The Lyn Downes Award for the Best Floral Marquee Exhibit and GOLD Medal Winner, Andy’s Airplants (Stand MFM703), boasting a striking showcase of airplants and bromeliads displayed naturally on branches and beautifully framed.
- Best Exhibit in the National Plant Societies and GOLD Medal Winner, West & Midlands Iris Group (PS7) which showed off the way the flower has inspired the arts.
An impressive 34 gold medals have been awarded in the Floral Marquee this year, including:
- Fibrex Nurseries (Stand MFM700) Launched a new Angel Pelargonium ‘Gerogina Forever’ in memory of a young woman who died aged just 21. After a 34-year history of breeding they released a category of new zonartic Pelargoniums – Rushmore Pelargonium ‘Mississipi’, ‘Mekong’ and ‘Nile’.
- Hoyland Plant Centre (Stand MFM711) Introduced a new scented Tulbaghia ‘Scented Beauty’. The first scented Tulbaghia that releases scent both day and night. Growing to about 30cm, its flowers, which come out in April/May, are creamy white with a lavender blush with lime green corollas that mature to butter yellow.
Aspiring young gardeners from across the country brought to life their show garden designs, which explored the theme of Great Britain. Twelve schools took part in this unique area of the show, which this year sat alongside a specially designed Celebrating Blue Peter feature garden to mark 60 years of the popular TV programme.
Best School Garden was awarded to Three Counties Home Educators for their ‘Beatrix Potter Garden’.
RHS Malvern Spring Festival played host to three Botanical Artists who each created spectacular works with one achieving Gold and two awarded Silver Gilt medals.
Best Botanical Art Exhibit was awarded to Caroline Jackson-Houlston: Passionflowers.
Wonderful works of art were created from flowers and foliage in the Floral Art Exhibition.
Best In Show – Mrs Sandra Snell
Reserve Best in Show – Mrs Pam Fleming-Williams
Best Use of Fresh Foliage – Mrs Rosemary Wood
Best Use of Colour – Ms Zara Boots
Best Junior – Miss Poppy Cottrell
Best Young Arranger – Miss Bridget Morris
For more information and full winners details from 2018, please visit www.rhsmalvern.co.uk