RHS Malvern Spring Festival 2016 has been a groundbreaking year for the landmark gardening and food event that took place this weekend. A record breaking number of over 100,000 people flocked to the event on the hottest weekend of the year so far, smashing the previous figures of over 90,000.
Ken Nottage, CEO of Three Counties, said: “What a phenomenal year for RHS Malvern Spring Festival! It’s been sensational – the sun has shone throughout the weekend as visitors have got stuck into the array of glorious gardening and fine food that we had on offer. We’re thrilled to have welcomed a record-breaking number of visitors to the show. It’s been a pleasure to see so many people of all ages enjoying a great day out. I’d like to thank everyone for joining us and bringing another fantastic show to the Three Counties Showground. We are now full steam ahead with plans for the Royal Three Counties Show in June.”
Kicking off the Royal Horticultural Society’s summer season, RHS Malvern Spring Festival welcomed Alan Titchmarsh and Mary Berry to headline, along with a bevy of top names and industry experts from the gardening and food world. Visitors immersed themselves in stunning show gardens, a floral marquee in full bloom and a vibrant food and drink pavilion overflowing with the finest produce the British Isles has to offer. CBeebies favourite Ben Faulks as Mr Bloom together with BBC Blue Peter Gardener Chris Collins welcomed budding gardeners to a dedicated family day on the Sunday of the festival.
Each year RHS Malvern Spring Festival raises the bar for design and horticultural talent and 2016 was no exception. More RHS Gold Medals were awarded in the Show Gardens category in the history of RHS Malvern Spring Festival with 5 designers taking the top honours.
The winner’s of the RHS Malvern Medal Categories were:
- Best Show Garden – Macmillan Legacy Garden by Mark Eveleigh in support of Macmillan Cancer Support, GOLD
- Best Festival Garden – The Water Spout by Christian Dowle of Garden Inspiration, Silver-Gilt
RHS Gold Medals have been awarded to:
- The Sunken Retreat by Graduate Gardeners
- Reflections of Japan by Peter Dowle & Richard Jasper of Howle Hill Nursery
- Macmillan Legacy Garden by Mark Eveleigh in support of Macmillan Cancer Support
- The Garden of Romance by Villaggio Verde
- Wyevale Garden Centres in partnership with Historic Royal Palaces, Garden amidst ruins, a homage to Capability Brown by Todd Longstaffe-Gowan Landscape Design
RHS Silver-Gilt Medals have been awarded to:
- The UCARE Garden by Emily Sharpe of Garden Stories
- Festival Garden - The Water Spout by Christian Dowle of Garden Inspiration
RHS Silver Medals have been awarded to:
- Milleflori ‘A Garden of One Thousand Flowers’ by RHS Students of CW Horticultural Training
- The Woodcutters Garden by Mark Walker Landscapes
- Festival Garden – Hidden Gems of Worcestershire by Styling Homes and Gardens
- Festival Garden – The Low Line by Pro-Gardens Ltd
RHS Bronze Medals have been awarded to:
- ‘Time is a Healer’ in support of The Primrose Hospice by Martyn Wilson
Voted for by visitors of the show, the People’s Choice Award went to:
- Best Show Garden – ‘Time is a Healer’ in support of The Primrose Hospice by Martyn Wilson
- Best Festival Garden – Hidden Gems of Worcestershire by Styling Homes and Gardens
A new category for 2016, the Best Construction category was awarded to:
- Todd Longstaffe-Gowan and David Mitchell from Wyevale Garden Centres for their garden ‘Gardening Amidst Ruins: a homage to Capability Brown’ in partnership with Historic Royal Palaces. This garden also introduced a carefully selected range of roses, exclusive to Wyevale Garden Centres was announced at RHS Malvern Spring Festival. The range includes a new rose named after Great Britain as a celebration of the country and its people, along with Rosa ‘Blue For You’, Rosa ‘Isle of White’, Rosa ‘Queen of Sweden’, Rosa ‘Gertrude Jekyll’ and Rosa ‘Munstead Wood’.
RHS Malvern Spring Festival’s iconic Floral Marquee plays host to a wealth of horticultural talent with over 70 exhibitors.
Well over 50 varieties were introduced to the Floral Marquee including the unveiling of:
- Lillium ‘Beatrix’s Joy’ from H.W. Hyde & Son (Stand MFM 709), an homage to mark the 250th anniversary of the life and works of Beatrix Potter. Richard Hyde, grower of the new Asiatic variety said that he chose ‘Beatrix’s Joy’ to name the plant as the children’s classics were a memorable part of his childhood and this particular flower reminded him of Mrs Tiggywinkle’s face peeking out from beneath her bonnet.
- Dahlia ‘Regal Lizzy’ from celebrated nurseryman and multiple RHS gold medal winner Jon Wheatley, just one of five new plants launched by Jon at RHS Malvern Spring Festival this year. Dahlia ‘Regal Lizzy’ commemorates the 90th Birthday of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth. Bred from the popular Dahlia ‘Magenta Star’, ‘Regal Lizzy’ benefits from an incredibly long and productive flowering period, is a good pollinator and will flower consistently from June to November.
Crowned in the Floral Marquee was:
- Best Floral Marquee Exhibit and GOLD Medal Winners, Southfield Nurseries (Stand MFM 769), boasting a fantastic range of very well-flowered, home-grown cacti, many over 30 years old. Numerous numbers of the cultivars on display have been raised by Southfield Nurseries and was described by the RHS as “a faultless exhibit”. Southfield Nurseries are celebrating their 200th cultivar at this year’s show, Chamaelobivia ‘Lincoln Legend’. They are also well on course to reach 180 RHS Gold Medals this year.
An impressive 36 Gold Medals were awarded in the Floral Marquee, including:
- Pheasant Acre Plants (Stand MFM 715) celebrate the addition of another GOLD Medal to their overflowing collection. This year sees the introduction of a new Tulipa ‘Verde Pink’, a striking tulip with pink and green striations.
- Dibleys Nurseries (Stand MFM 726/727) Husband and wife team Angelika and Gareth Dibley were awarded a GOLD medal for their stunning display including the newly launched Streptocarpus ‘Freya’ along with 25 new varies of Petrocosmea, an unusual plan derived from the Streptocarpus family.
- Brookfield Plants (Stand MFM 708) bring to RHS Malvern six new varieties of Hostas, along with an unusual yellow flowered variety called Hosta ‘Miracle Lemony’.
FOOD & DRINK PAVILION
The Food & Drink Pavilion welcomed back a foodie feast with over 55 delicious exhibitors on offer. Unique flavours sampled in the pavilion included a Stilton Ice Cream from Churchfields Farmhouse, Chocolate Wine from Hay Wines in Ledbury and Hot Pork Scratchings from the Hot Pork Scratching Company. At the heart of the bustling Food & Drink Pavilion, Mark Diacono and Valentine Warner hosted a vibrant Kitchen Garden Theatre throughout the weekend.
Aspiring young gardeners from across the country brought to life their show garden designs at the event with 11 schools taking party in this unique area of the show. This year’s School Garden theme commemorated the 400th anniversary of the passing of William Shakespeare.
Best School Garden was awarded to Castlemorton Primary School for their garden entitled “From Pen To Plot”. Others awarded were:
Highly Commended –
- Abberley Parochial VC Primary in Worcestershire
- Castlemorton C of E Primary School in Malvern
- Cradley C of E Primary School in Herefordshire
- Bredon School in Bushley
- Eardisley C of E Primary in Hereford
- Pitmaston Primary School in Worcester
- Tudor Grange Academy in Worcester
- Beoley First School in Redditch
- Interhigh, Crickhowell in Wales
- Malvern Wells Primary School in Worcestershire
- Sidemoor First School in Worcestershire
Each year RHS Malvern Spring Festival plays host to some of the best Botanical Artists from around the world. Seven artists have created spectacular works with 3 achieving Silver Gilt medals and 4 awarded with Silver.
Jacqui Gilleland (Silver Gilt) travelled across the world from Australia to present her work. A collection two years in the making, Jacqui’s works of art feature her native Western Australian Flowering Eucalyptus.
Wonderful works of art were created from flowers and foliage in the Floral Art Exhibition. This year’s theme was Home and Away.
Best In Show – Mrs Margaret Thomas
Best Use of Fresh Foliage – Mrs Ann Horsley
Best Use of Colour – Mrs Angela Edmonds
Best Novice – Mrs Angela Edmonds
A new category is introduced this year, Cotswolds Shady Corner. Mrs Ann Horsley was crowned winner in this area of the show.
RHS Malvern 2015 also saw a record number of entrants for the two Under 16 categories with the theme, In the Depths of the Sea. Winners were:
(8-11 years) 1st Place - Miss Poppy Cottrell
(12-16 years) 1st Place – Miss Abigail Tresidder
RHS Malvern Spring Festival 2017 will take place from Thursday 11th May until Sunday 14th May. For more information and full winners details from 2016, please call 01684 584900 or visit www.rhsmalvern.co.uk