Thousands flock to RHS Malvern Spring Festival 2014

Thousands flock to RHS Malvern Spring Festival 2014
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Thousands of people flocked to the RHS Malvern Spring Festival last weekend. Across the four-day event, nearly 90,000 visitors flooded through the gates at the Three Counties Showground in Worcestershire.

THE 2014 RHS Malvern Spring Festival was a roaring success, organisers have said. Across the four-day event, nearly 90,000 visitors flooded through the gates at the Three Counties Showground in Worcestershire. 

A stunning selection of medal-winning Show Gardens, spectacular floral displays, celebrity talks from the likes of Carol Klein, James Alexander-Sinclair, Chris Beardshaw and Blue Peter Gardener Chris Collins plus a brand new mouth-watering food festival headlined by TV chefs James Martin and Rachel Allen all formed part of RHS Malvern 2014.

Ken Nottage, CEO of Three Counties Agricultural Society, said: “We are really pleased with how the show has gone this year, in spite of some rather pessimistic weather predictions the visitors turned out in force and we are up on numbers for 2013.

"The changes we’ve made to show layout and content have been extremely well received and we’re delighted that the first re-vamp of the event has been so successful. We are very much looking forward to building on that success next year.” 

2014 was the first year the show featured a greatly enhanced festival of food. Popular returning highlights including the Floral Marquee and Show Gardens were also relocated to give the entire event a fresh, new feel. Located at the heart of the event was the Village Green, celebrating the spirit of theEdwardian era and featuring classic cars, an Edwardian music wagon, Vintage Tea Room, Arts Market and of course fluttering bunting. 

The celebrity chefs took to the stage in the Spring Festival Theatre. The setting of which was designed and built by multi-award winning garden designer Peter Dowle. Working with The Fresh Herb Company and Cobrey Farm to create a kitchen garden surrounding the stage, from which celebrity chefs could forage ingredients for their recipes. Peter also dressed Severn Hall using up to 3,000 trees and shrubs to create his Jazz Jungle and provide ambience for the oriental tearoom. 

RHS MEDAL WINNERS

The RHS Malvern Medal winners were: 

  • Best In Show - The Graduate Gardeners’ design entitled ‘Bringing Nature Home’, a hat-trick for Mark Draper and the Graduate Gardeners team, being awarded Gold Medal and Best In Show for the third year running. 
  • Best Festival Garden - Lorenzo Soprani Volpini for his design ‘A Game of Contrast’. 
  • Gold Medal – Villaggio Verde’s ‘En su Casa en la Playa (At Home on the Beach)’, which was also possibly the largest RHS show garden ever built. 
  • People’s Choice Award - The Quiet Garden Trust 
  • Best Exhibit in the Floral Marquee – Drointon Nurseries
  • Most Creative Exhibit in the Malvern Floral Marquee – Crescent Plants
  • Best Botanical Art Exhibit – Gael Sellwood

The RHS judging panel included James Alexander-Sinclair, Mark Gregory, Martin Slocock, Robert Hillier, Mike Calnan and Dougal Philip.

The judging of the Professional Show Gardens was based on the RHS criteria of delivery, design, atmosphere, planting, construction and endeavour.  The RHS Floral Judging was based on overall impression, plants and endeavour.

SCHOOL GARDENS CHALLENGE

A record number of 20 school gardens entered this year’s challenge. They included entries from Worcestershire, Gloucestershire and Herefordshire, ranging from playgroups to further education colleges. 

Chris Collins, BBC Blue Peter Gardener, said: “Being the School Gardens Champion for RHS Malvern has been an incredibly rewarding experience and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed myself. I am passionate about inspiring young people to have a go at gardening and the School Gardens Challenge is a fantastic way of demonstrating all the different avenues that horticulture has to offer.

The children have to come up with a design, grow their plants and construct their gardens from scratch and this year the standard has been incredibly high with 9 gardens being awarded Highly Commended. It was great to see how interested Princess Anne was in the gardens and the children were all thrilled to meet her. I can’t wait to see what they come up with next year.”

GET GOING, GET GROWING 

Get Going, Get Growing was an all-new feature for 2014, designed to introduce novice gardeners to the basics of gardening in a hands-on, friendly and approachable way. Experts including Blue Peter Gardener Chris Collins, The One Show’s resident gardener Christine Walkden and BBC 2’s Terry Walton held workshops and Q&A sessions for amateur gardeners. 

SHOW STATISTICS

  • Approximately 90,000 show visitors
  • 80 Floral Exhibitors in the Floral Marquee
  • 9 Professional Show Gardens
  • 4 Amateur Festival Gardens 
  • 20 School Gardens
  • 18,000 cups of tea 
  • 6,000 pieces of cake 
  • 3,000 sandwiches
  • 3,000 trees and shrubs in Severn Hall
  • 2,500 herbs dressing the SpringFestival Theatre

For more information on RHS Malvern Spring Festival and the Three Counties Showground, visit www.threecounties.co.uk/rhsmalvern