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Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Showtime in the Malvern Hills

What more could one ask for? Plants galore, in such a beautiful setting
In this, the first of many posts previewing forthcoming activities and events, I introduce you to the 2012 'Malvern Spring Gardening Show' which takes place from Thursday 10th-Sunday 13th May. If you have never been before, you are in for a real treat. Visitors travel  to the beautiful show ground in the lee of the spectacular Malvern Hills from far afield, year after year. This is what the organisers (The Three Counties Agricultural Society) tell us you can expect this year:

Press & PR Officer, Sharon Gilbert says “There’s no better place to gain inspiration for your garden with fantastic features, sights, smells and colours greeting you on every corner.”

Highlights include:
Show garden from last year

Glorious Show Gardens: Always inspirational, show gardens this year include an interactive water garden, a peaceful public space and a wildlife haven. Graduate Gardeners, winners of the Best in Show in 2011 will also be returning with their garden, ‘A Place to Reflect’. There’s an Eco Art & Garden area which will feature its own garden, ‘The Creative Hand’, inspired by sculpture in the landscape; plus plenty of demonstrations with numerous experts offering advice on all aspects of eco-friendly gardening.

A new feature at the Show is the ‘Painting with Plants Gallery’ encouraging amateur gardeners to try their hand at putting on a decorative display. Groups taking part will produce a plant display based on their favourite piece of art. The top three gallery pieces, as voted by show visitors, will win £1,000 towards a good cause of their choice.

a happy and attentive audience at the 2011 Malvern Spring Gardening Show
Also new for 2012 is the ‘Plants & People Theatre’ – a highly visual take on the Show’s traditional theatre with spectacular artwork themed around the Living Landscape and designed by the innovative Paul Hervey-Brookes. 

Joe Swift (left) and James Alexander-Sinclair 
participating at  one of the 2011 Q&A sessions
Hosting activities in The Theatre will be writer, broadcaster and compere, Katie Johnson who is particularly skilled at drawing together the various 'on-stage' activities. It is just the place to pick up hot tips and new ideas, with Q&A sessions and talks from some of the UK’s leading nurserymen and gardening experts including Carol Klein (11th-12th), Jekka McVicar, Chris Beardshaw (10th-11th), Terry Walton and Joe Swift (12th). There’s also an Allotment Theatre featuring allotmenteer Terry Walton and Reg Moule,  both well-respected radio presenters. With a ‘Grow Your Own’ theme, this will be an alternative venue to head for talks and Q+A sessions on allotments, keeping chickens, compost, planting and much more.

There are shopping opportunities galore all around the Showground, with hundreds of quality gardening and lifestyle stands, including the Country Living Pavilion. Not to be missed are the Art and Food Markets with delicious home produce from local small producers, and quality ceramics, pictures and accessories from skilled artisans. Additionally, the ‘Best of the Best Gardening Gadgets’ takes place in the Gardeners’ Shopping Pavilion - a competition featuring some of the best products from our wide array of tradestands at the Show. 

Landscaping Live will inform and entertain. It comprises two identical gardens, one completed and one under construction. Professional experts and presenters will introduce a range of landscaping projects throughout the Show transforming the plot into an attractive and practical garden space.  This year’s garden is designed by Paul Cantello, runner up in the Chris Beardshaw Scholarship in 2011.

Richard Fishbourne with a young
wildlife enthusiast
Children from toddlers to teenagers are a vital link in the future of gardening; and much in evidence. Fourteen delightful school gardens based on the theme ‘ Sustainability for All’ are a key educational feature of the Show. Designs include a Tudor-inspired knot garden, one with a working water wheel, and others inspired by children’s school books. There is plenty else to keep youngsters happy – Richard Fishbourne of Bugs and Beasties will have the little ones making all manner of eco-friendly artefacts from simple-to-collect garden debris which children can easily emulate at home.

Last in this preview, but definitely not least, is the 1.7 acre RHS Malvern Floral Marquee. More than 100 Nurseries from around the country and abroad, will be showcasing and selling the finest plants and flowers; you’ll need a collapsible trolley to wheel home all your purchases, and maybe a tame porter or two!

Plantaholics are never happier than when purchasing 'must-have' plants
And the weather? Rain or shine, you’ll go away from Malvern feeling refreshed and inspired. If you haven’t been before, wear sensible shoes and take a lightweight plastic mac, just in case. But as Sharon Gilbert concluded, “The good thing about the Spring Gardening Show is that so much of it is under cover, and the Showground has plenty of hard-standing, with good solid roadways, walkways and car parks. Visitors can be assured of a great day out, whatever the weather.”


Three Counties Showground, Welland, Malvern, Worcs, WR13 6SP
Find out more here and book tickets here, or phone the ticket hotline on 01684 584924.

All images in this post copyright Three Counties Agricultural Society


  1. Laurie and Sally - I am so delighted to have you with me on my journey and hope you will enjoy reading about the places and events I discover.

  2. Sounds like it's going to be a great day out Ann! The Painting with Plants sounds like something not to be missed! We're really excited about exhibiting again this year. Would be great if you'd like to pop along and say hi!

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    1. I am so glad you like this, Yarrow. I hope you will find it useful. A.

    2. Good to see you with me on this new journey Yarrow. Thanks again.