Following on from my previous report here are some of the other showgardens at this year’s Malvern Spring Show. As you can see the standard is excellent this year. Above is the Inside-Out garden by Jody Lidgard and sponsored by Bradstone. Being sponsored by Bradstone there is quite a bit of hard landscaping but it didn’t seem to overwhelm the garden as I have felt was the case in previous Bradstone sponsored gardens. I liked the sunken seating area which doesn’t show up very well in the photo but it looked as though it could be very secluded and intimate. Again as with many of the other showgardens a cottagey planting scheme was chosen. This is obviously due to what plants are available at the moment but I do think they work well in the overall rural landscape of the showground with the Malvern Hills in the background.
The photo above is of Lady Alice’s Garden by Patricia Atkins Garden Design. Like the garden above this garden was awarded a Silver Flora award. Whilst I don’t like box hedging and parterres I kind of like this type of parterre garden. A lot of thought has gone into the planting of this garden which contains plants that were common in the 16th and 17th century such as sweet rocket, sweet cicely and woad. The one criticism I had of the garden was the amount of gravel – I didn’t feel it was necessary for the gravel path across the front of the garden and felt the parterres could be bigger.
This is the Westhaven School by the Seaside garden by Mark Walker. To be honest as Malvern is in the middle of the UK and not exactly by the sea I always find it a little incongruous to see a seaside garden at the show but in this case the seaside theme is intended to reflect the location of the School. It was interesting to read that the School is a special needs school which specialises in horticulture especially as I think many people under-estimate the healing power of gardening – it has certainly helped me through some difficult times.
At Malvern Spring Show you also have the entries in the Chris Beardshaw Mentoring Scheme. The winner gets a years mentoring from Chris and various opportunities to create gardens. It is a wonderful vehicle for new designers to be seen. I particularly liked the Breathe garden by Paul Cantello. I liked the wall they had used bamboo to create screens – I bet the wildlife would have a field day with all those habitat opportunities. I like the different height stepping-stones although on a practical level I doubt this would be a very comfortable garden to walk through on a day-to-day basis but then I don’t think showgardens are meant to be real gardens!.
What I like more and more about the showgardens at Malvern Spring Show is that they are more approachable for the average gardener. Unlike the all singing all dancing gardens at Chelsea it is easy to see how you could incorporate some of the ideas into your own garden. They are more on the scale and nearer to the budget of your average garden. I hope that Malvern never loses its freshness and continues to be a showcase for new and upcoming designers.