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A Cotswolds garden designer has taken inspiration from time spent by the river with her children at her local nature reserve to create a shipping container garden at this year’s RHS Malvern Spring Festival.

Emily Crowley-Wroe, owner of April House Garden Design, is to stage a show garden at this year’s RHS Malvern Spring Festival based on Greystones Nature Reserve.

She was inspired to create the garden whilst sat watching her two daughters – Eve, age 11, and Eleanor, age 7 – playing in the river.

Celebrating its 35th anniversary, RHS Malvern Spring Festival is seen by many as the official start of spring and attracts more than 100,000 people annually. Visitors flock to see its inspirational show gardens and beautiful Floral Marquee, get top tips from the experts and enjoy the best food and drink that Gloucestershire, Worcestershire and Herefordshire has to offer.

Part of the Malvern Shipping Container Garden category, Emily’s garden measures 6 x 6 metres and comes with a shipping container included in the design brief.

‘The Hide Garden’ aims to transport onlookers away from the stresses and strains of a busy world into their own private piece of nature. The garden features a shallow pebble pond – conjuring the shallows of the river Eye – and planting that recalls the native flora and fauna of Greystones Nature Reserve.

An angled wooden deck with bespoke log benches overlooks the pond, which is traversable via circular decked stepping stones, and a screen with cut-out willow panels play on the idea of hiding. Tree sculptures offer habitats for busy wildlife.

“We are so lucky to be surrounded by such natural beauty here in the Cotswolds, and I thought what better inspiration than one of the places I love being in,” she said.

“For me, the hidden gems of the area are a great source of inspiration. In this design I wanted to show that even in the smallest of outside spaces we can create gardens capable of transporting us to places we feel happy in. I also wanted to create a naturalistic garden that encourages wildlife as it’s this connection with the natural world that makes gardens so enjoyable and important for biodiversity.”

The garden will be built and designed using local products, suppliers and craftspeople and it is hoped that materials from the garden will be used in the design and build of a memory garden for Bourton-on-the-Water Primary School. More information about the sponsors and garden can be found at

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