More Showgardens at Malvern

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.

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

9 thoughts on “More Showgardens at Malvern”

  1. Special needs – healing power of a garden.

    A recent blog post talked about working with, brain damaged adults (not sure what the PC term is). The blogger had some donated, slightly tired, flowers from a florist. And she wrote about how much joy a man took in helping her put a bouquet together – and I want that yellow flower there!

    There is a Camphill village near us – organic veg, a nursery with indigenous plants, cows and a dairy, bread, lotions and potions for the skin using wild plants.

  2. Hi Zoe,
    Watched Gardeners World last night and loved it. The coastal garden looked great as did Hannah Genders Local Veg garden. I love the sustainability aspect of that. Might make it next year, who knows?

  3. Nice to see your thoughts on the gardens. I liked Paul Cantello’s garden too. I wasn’t so sure about Lady Alice’s garden. I realise a lot of work must have gone into making it historically accurate, but it didn’t move or interest me. Nice photo of the inside-out garden – I didn’t get one that didn’t seem to have huge expanses of hard landscaping.

  4. Hi Helen, we decided to take a day off work and head to the show on Friday after all (as a friend’s wedding kept us away this weekend) and we certainly weren’t disappointed. There were some amazing show gardens (the all red/black planting of one of the Chris Beardshaw scholarship gardens hurt my eyes!) and plant stands, and we certainly filled up the car as best we could with purchases 🙂 I really liked all the cottage-garden planting schemes that were sprinkled throughout the gardens.

  5. Helen, thanks for an informative tour of the show; maybe I’ll come next year, although its hard to drag myself away from my own garden at this time of year.
    I liked the knot garden but from your image I agree, I couldn’t quite see the need for all the gravel, maybe it had been designed for a different sized plot origionally. i think all shows can give you ideas even if it only helps you understand what you don’t like. Christina

  6. Fab post, you have definitely sold the show to me, I will be there next year.
    I agree that a lot of people don’t understand or underestimate the healing powers of gardening, it has certainly helped me through some hard times last year, I can’t recommend it to people enough. Glad the Westhaven school was highlighted for it’s work.
    The photos of the gardens are lovely, saw it all on GW too, the Malvern hills looked lovely behind the show.

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