Fabulous Showgardens at Malvern

I think I can safely say that the standard of showgardens at Malvern Spring Garden show is getting better and better.  There were two gold medals awarded which is wonderful and to be honest I think a couple of the gardens are very close, if not already at Chelsea standard – but I’m n RHS judge so I could be talking rubbish.

The two gardens that really stood out to me where the Graduate Gardeners Ltd’s A Garden for Life, which  won best in show and Hannah Genders ‘My Very Local Veg Garden. Taking Hannah’s garden first (above and below) I was initially attracted to the colour palette of the flowers, particularly the blues of the Anchusa ‘Loddon Royalist’, Iris pallida ‘Argente Variegata’ against the mauve of Cirsium rivulare ‘Atropurpureum’.  I will definitely be using this colour combination in my garden in the future.  But what was really interesting about Hannah’s garden is the concept behind it.  Everything is sourced within a bike

ride of her home in Worcester.  This includes all the hard landscaping: the paving is from a reclamation yard, the wood from a local woodland – everything is labelled so you can see where Hannah got it from and the distance from her home.  Another great thing about this garden is that is won’t just be taken to pieces come Sunday but it will be  rebuilt at Hillers Farm Shop in Alchester where it will be able to mature which to my mind makes it a very sustainable showgarden.

The second garden I really admired was Graduate Gardeners A Garden for Life.  I suspect my liking is partly due to my eldest son and his passion for wood.  As some of you may know he is a trainee cabinet maker,  he has a love of good design and particularly interesting architecture.  We had seen some similar garden rooms/office last year at the Grand Designs Show and the garden room in this garden reminded me of one he really liked.  I think it is a clever design

particularly the way the A frame of the house is carried forward into a pergola.  Another aspect of this garden that I found interesting was the wildlife/meadow planting in the photo above.  It made me really think about this sort of planting: it was full of clover, ragged robin and other wildlife plants.  I can’t decide if I really like it or not.  The area was certainly full of wildlife which is more and more important to me but I have to get over the last linger neat and controlled inclinations I have.

Again as is often the case at Malvern the planting was very cottagey with lots of early flowering perennials, very frothy and pastel.  It was lovely to look at and interesting to see how the foliage was combined and then lifted with flowers. This was a well deserved winner of Best in Show in my mind.

There were more show gardens as well as smaller gardens which were entered in the Chris Beardshaw scholarship competition but I will post on those later.

If you can get to Malvern this weekend I would really recommend it as it is, in my opinion, the friendliest garden show.

Author: Helen Johnstone

I live in Malvern, Worcestershire and am a very keen gardener. I started the Patient Gardener Blog in January 2008 as a way of recording what was happening in my garden and connecting with other like-minded people. I started a second blog PatientGardener 365 January 2013 in order to try and post a photo a day to capture what is growing in my garden or places I have visited

13 thoughts on “Fabulous Showgardens at Malvern”

  1. Thank you Helen – so disappointed I couldn’t get to Malvern this year and was hoping you would be quick off the mark with posting details of the first day. I eagerly await further posts. I will earmark 2012 for a definate visit.

  2. Hi Helen, thanks for sharing your visit with us; garden shows here are a very sorry sight. I love the garden building you described and photgraphed and the way the pergola was part of the house design, and so it should be. My local town had its flower weekend for the May Day weekend and I can’t tell you how depressing it was. Malvern sounds such fun. I do hope you met with all your blogging friends. I’m looking forward the the second installment. Christina

  3. Oh, Is that blue sky I see! It looks like the weather is wonderful this year. I like these two gardens designs you’ve shown~It does take a bit of adjusting to a wildlife/natural garden; our eyes want to see more blooms. Sometimes I look at mine and wonder where the color is hiding. ~Maybe next year, I will be able to join you all. gail

  4. I prefer these show gardens to Chelsea. They are less pretentious and more accessible. Your average gardener can look at them and say “I could do that” rather than Chelsea’s “I could NEVER do that.”

  5. Hi Helen, Thank you so much for an early peek into the Malvern Show. We used to live on the other side of the hills and loved the Spring & Autumn Shows there. I love the Garden Room and would really like to have that in my garden!
    Gardeners World is from Malvern tomorrow. As l live in France it will be as close as l get!

  6. I fell in love with “A Garden for Life” too, hard not to really. I really liked the idea behind “My Very Local Veg Garden” but was strangely unmoved by the reality. I haven’t worked out why yet, particularly given how addicted to veg growing I have become.

  7. I appreciate these designs, and that there is lots of purple – painted and grown. I think it is possibly my favourite colour. I found it interesting what Susan said, that these are preferable to Chelsea because you can imagine emulating these gardens whereas Chelsea is just so professional designer. Still, visiting the Chelsea flower show is on my bucket list.

  8. Gorgeous photos! I love the very local veg garden, the concept is brilliant and I’m a sucker for any combination of blues. Malvern sounds wonderful, and your comment about wanting to ‘tidy’ everything rang true. It’s so difficult letting everything lose control. Great posts x

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