I can’t remember the last time I went to RHS Malvern Spring Festival and it wasn’t freezing cold and/or raining. This year we were treated with a beautiful sunny day which really bought the plants to life especially in the show gardens. I took my mother this year as she is really getting into gardening and wanted to look at greenhouses. She isn’t that keen on the showgardens so we didn’t spend much time looking at them but I did spot a few that I really liked. Of the ones I saw The UCARE Garden was my favourite. I really liked the planting with the orange of the Dryopteris erythrosora picking up on the orange flowers of the euphorbia and the rust of the water feature. Blue, being a complimentary colour, works very well with the orange and whole is contained by the box edging with its frothy fresh spring leaves. The garden won a silver-gilt and I believe lost points over some of the planting but given that the season has been so cold until now its a wonder that the designers had the material they did to work with.
I was also attracted to The Sunken Retreat again because of the oranges but I also liked the clean lines of the hard landscaping and the sunken seating area (sorry no photo) which means the plants are at eye line. My mother really didn’t like this garden instead she preferred this one
Her reason was that she could see herself in this garden, there would be things to do and lots of different plants to look at. She felt the others were very set pieces with plants that were all flowering now but what would they be like in a months time and they were too precise and designed for her. I have to admit that I probably would be bored with the two gardens I liked but as I said to Mum they show you have to combine plants to get good effects – she still wasn’t convinced!
Before the showgardens our first stop was the floral marquee which is always my favourite part of the show. I think there might have been less nurseries this year as it felt very spacious even when we returned later in the day and the showground was full. Next year I think I will go to the show on my own as in recent years I have always been with someone and I never look properly as I am too busy talking or pointing things out. Anyway, I did see some of my favourite nurseries. I always love Fernatix’s stand but then I would be quite happy with a garden that was all ferns; they are just so elegant and create a wonderful atmosphere.
Hardys Plants stand looked wonderful as ever but a particular achievement this year as Rosie Hardy is in the middle of creating her very first RHS Chelsea Show Garden which I am really looking forward to seeing.
I was also taken with this eye-catching display; it was nice to see a display which made you look up. But then again I always love bulbs and I was particularly taken with Tulipa Rosy Bouquet which I can see bringing together the white lunaria and cerise rhododendron in my garden.
So those are my highlights from RHS Malvern Spring Festival 2016. I think the show continues to improve year on year and having visited a number of similar events around the UK I still think it is the best. Its hard to explain why, but trying to put aside it closeness to home, there is just such a nice atmosphere and it always seems friendly with nurserymen happy to are information and advice.