Preparations have begun for the UKs first major horticultural event of the year. This week the turf was broken for the first time on the Three Counties Showground at Malvern in preparation for the build for RHS Malvern Spring Festival 2017 Show Gardens.
Jane Furze, Head of RHS Malvern Spring Festival said: “Breaking Ground for RHS Malvern Spring Festival is something we look forward to all year. It’s the day on which our designer’s gardens begin to come to life and go from paper and planning to reality. We never cease to be amazed by the creativity of our designers and this year’s gardens promise to be some of our most exciting to date. The Show and Spa Gardens are one of the most breath-taking features of the Festival and we’re looking forward to seeing the final results in just over four weeks time.”
Set against the backdrop of the picturesque Malvern Hills, the event’s signature Show and Spa Gardens are always a number one destination for visitors. The four day event, which runs from May 11-14, has a long standing reputation as a platform for up and coming design talent. Chris Beardshaw, Diarmuid Gavin and Paul Hervey-Brookes have spring boarded their careers from early steps made at RHS Malvern Spring Festival and this year sees the return of 2016 Best In Show winner, Mark Eveleigh and show favourites and multiple gold medal winners Peter Dowle and Villaggio Verde. Previous RHS Gold Medal and Best In Show winner, Sue Jollans returns after a 10-year break alongside six other Festival virgins.
The RHS Malvern great Show Garden build coincides with National Gardening Week, an RHS initiative launched in 2011. National Gardening Week has since grown into the nation’s biggest celebration of gardening. Thousands of people, gardens, charities, culture and heritage organisations support the annual event.
This year’s spectacular Show Gardens include:
A GARDEN FRAMED BY TIM LAWRENCE
Using a series of four ‘pictures’ framed in oak; each picture contains an arrangement of plants, rock, and natural wood to convey the idea that a garden is a form of art. Tim Lawrence combines his love of plants and trees, his training in fine art and his love of nature, minimalism and Japanese design. A garden framed seeks to allow visitors to see the garden in a different way whilst appreciating a sense of beauty and peace.
BUCKFAST ABBEY MILLENNIUM GARDEN BY MAIA HALL
Sponsoring their first ever show garden and using first time show garden designer Maia Hall, Buckfast Abbey commemorates their millennium through their garden design. The garden acts as a window to a tranquil scene and looking through the middle oak window, visitors will see a stag sculpture that recreates the Buckfast Abbey logo. The garden will be scaled up and installed into the Abbey’s grounds in time for the millennium celebrations in 2018.
AT ONE WITH… A MEDITATION GARDEN BY PETER DOWLE
Peter incorporates a quiet retreat within a larger garden designed for meditation, yoga or simply a place to relax. The meditation area is a sunken circular area surrounded by planting and water by the side of a large pool, which features three spring outlets to represent the iconic Malvern Spring Water.
THE REFUGE BY SUE JOLLANS
Motivated and inspired by a response to today’s refugee crisis, Sue’s garden reflects the story of ordinary families in war-torn countries and their journey in search of a refuge. This symbolic garden is accessible via a boardwalk that signifies the journey over water, raised above a carpet of wildflowers, a communal space can be found complete with bread oven and room for children to play. The space aims to convey the feeling of community and safety.
TREE HOUSE GARDEN BY MARK EVELEIGH
Inspired by the Malvern Hill’s own St. Ann’s Well which was built in the Victorian period, Mark’s garden incorporates the overarching theme of this year’s show but with a contemporary twist. Featuring an octagonal shaped tree house and a wood fired hot tub, Mark’s playful signature style includes a subtle nod to Lord Tennyson, Charles Darwin and Florence Nightingale – all famous visitors to St Ann’s Well.
THE RETREAT BY VILLAGGIO VERDE
The Retreat is an imagined garden situated in the South of France. It’s an inviting, relaxing private ‘Spa-like’ space designed to promote health and wellbeing and includes a central wood-fired salt water hydrotherapy pool and a lounge area cooled by mist. The area is highly scented using aromatic planting commonly used in aromatherapy.
Spa Gardens include:
OCEAN GARDEN BY MICHEL DAMIEN
This garden is inspired by art deco architecture in Miami. The garden is composed using curvilinear paths and shapes alluding to the iconic design of this area. Visitors will see an original design with using a combination of various plant colour schemes and key features on the grounds and walls.
SPA GARDEN BY KEITH BROWNING
The theme of the garden is to reinforce the essence of water, essential for all life and plant growth. The garden is inspired by the strength of natural Jurassic rock form and the collaboration of everlasting floral colours. The structure promotes how the sponsor’s expertise is specific in adapting engineering materials, to mimic the natural world.
I FOLLOW THE WATERS AND THE WIND BY ANNETTE BAINES-STILLER
The garden has been inspired by the works of Ted Hughes and aims to convey the poetry of nature. The creative design will emulate a floating garden and its undulating layers of the garden are evocative of Malvern Hill’s Spa waters. The garden is key in demonstrating how nature changes through sound and the sense of movement. It will stimulate your senses, feeling the wind as you walk through the paths and hear the trickle of the water.
THE MOLECULAR GARDEN BY DENIS KALASHNIKOV AND EKATERINA BOLOTOVA
Leading UK garden designer, Jo Thompson will mentor the very first International Spa Garden designers to showcase at RHS Malvern Spring Festival 2017. Jo will support winning design duo Denis Kalashnikov and Ekaterina Bolotova with the build of their Molecular Garden. The Molecular Garden draws inspiration from individual components drawing together to create a unified entity. Each element can be appreciated on its own, but when viewed in conjunction with others, a different impression is achieved. The garden is imagined as a secluded peaceful area for guests relaxing after Spa treatments in a Russian resort.
RHS Malvern Spring Festival is from Thursday 11 to Sunday 14 May 2017 at Three Counties Showground in Malvern. The four-day festival celebrates the latest trends in garden design, plants and innovation with a big helping of food and entertainment too. National treasure, Alan Titchmarsh, returns to the Festival along with fellow gardening experts Carol Klein, Monty Don, Joe Swift and Adam Frost. 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