With one week to go until one of the UKs most-anticipated flower shows, gardening fans are in a state of “budding” excitement.
Over 100,000 people are expected to descend on the Three Counties Showground across the four-day event. Making a welcome return to RHS Malvern Spring Festival is the godfather of gardening, Alan Titchmarsh, with other leading horticultural experts alongside Britain’s favourite Frenchman Raymond Blanc and other top chefs.
Jane Furze, Head of RHS Malvern Spring Festival, said: “We are counting down the days to welcome visitors both old and new to RHS Malvern Spring Festival. With lots of exciting new features alongside our usual vibrant line up, this year promises to be one of our best yet. It’s going to be sensational with something for everyone to enjoy, from amateur to professional gardeners, foodies and families.”
Visitors can expect to see a host of magnificent displays from a Floral Fountain the equivalent size of a semi-detached house, commissioned by BBC’s The Big Allotment Challenge Jonathan Moseley, to Malvern’s longest ever Floral Marquee at over 190m. Guests will be spoilt for choice with over 100 specialist nurseries on site, offering old favourites and brand new varieties launched at the Festival.
Visitors can look out for two specially commissioned permanent feature gardens, the first of their kind at RHS Malvern Spring Festival. British Queen of Herbs, Jekka McVicar, has designed the centrepiece in the new Live Well Zone, which brings to life the role gardens continue to play in our health and sense of wellbeing, whilst 2016 Best in Show winner, Mark Eveleigh, has created an amazing permanent Tree House Garden.
This year sees one of RHS Malvern Spring Festival’s most exciting line-ups to date. Renowned food writer, Mark Diacono, plays host to a bustling programme of demonstrations and Q&A sessions from culinary and gardening experts alike in the Kitchen Garden Theatre. Learn top tips from author of River Cottage Gluten Free, Naomi Devlin and The Raymond Blanc Cookery School or join Raymond Blanc himself in the Festival Theatre.
BBC Gardeners’ World presenters Carol Klein, Adam Frost, Monty Don and Joe Swift will also be sharing their expertise, whilst visitors can check out Joe’s Plant Finder Parlour in the Floral Marquee. This new centrepiece created by Joe Swift is an immersive experience like no other, featuring daily talks from award winning nurseries and gardening experts, including an original one-man show by celebrated author, journalist and broadcaster, Matthew Biggs.
Always a number one destination is the Show Gardens, which this year sees multi-award-winning designers and Best in Show winners Jason Hales from Villaggio Verde and Peter Dowle from Howle Hill Nursery amongst others create some breath-taking designs. Marvel at Villaggio Verde’s, The Retreat, which includes an imagined garden situated in the South of France, featuring a salt-water spa pool and aromatherapy mist. Be at peace in Peter Dowle’s, At One With…A Meditation Garden, Peter’s biggest ever Show Garden, which comes complete with a 20m x 9m pool. Not to be missed are the new Spa Gardens, which will see one final designer also be given the once in a lifetime opportunity to showcase at Moscow Flower Show as part of a newly introduced exchange programme.
The new Grow Zone promises an exciting horticultural experience by Jon Wheatley, RHS Gold Medal winning gardener and Chairman of RHS South West in Bloom. Grow takes inspiration from interactive Country gardens and wildflower borders, showcasing a variety of edible beds curated by RHS medal winner Hannah Genders. The much-loved Grow to Show competition is back and along-side it, Paul Hervey-Brookes, an award-winning designer, welcomes new comers and enthusiasts to showcase homegrown specimens in the Paul Hervey-Brookes Growing Challenge.
Over the course of the action-packed Family Weekend, budding horticulturists can get hands on in the Exploration Zone learning about the wonderful world of plants and gardens whilst former BBC Blue Peter gardener Chris Collins returns to nurture the next generation of gardening talent for his fourth year as champion of the award-winning School Gardens Challenge. Fourteen school gardens are set to explore the theme of space, including a design from two pupils from Russia, as part of the international exchange programme.
RHS Malvern Spring Festival 2017 will take place from Thursday 11 May until Sunday 14 May. Adult tickets start from £18 in advance while children (under 16) are free of charge. For more information and to book tickets, please call 01684 584924 or visit www.rhsmalvern.co.uk