RHS Malvern Spring Festival 2015

On Thursday, I headed up to Worcestershire for the RHS Malvern Spring Festival - or, as everyone usually calls it, "Malvern", or "the Malvern spring show".
It's only about an hour by car from where I live, but I was a bit pushed for time, so I didn't look at the show gardens. I spent most of my visit in the marquee, or looking at the plant stands, but Patient Gardener has posted about them, so have a look at her pictures.
I've always liked the Malvern spring show, but I agree with Patient Gardener that it gets better every year. The standard of displays in the floral marquee was very high, with mouthwatering selections of plants on sale. Because it's held in early May, it's a fantastic place to buy woodland plants or plants for shade, such as hostas, or tiarellas, or epimediums.
You are guaranteed to see varieties that you won't see in the garden centres, such as Roger Proud's gems, from East of Eden nursery in Carlisle, or The Plant Lovers nursery's huge selection of succulents. There's still another day of the show to run, so if you live locally, get along there and have a look.

One of the great things about shows like Malvern and Chelsea is that you can see tulips in flower. The catalogues are great, but the photographs tend to vary, as do the descriptions. Pink, for example, covers a multitude of shades. This is the Avon bulbs stand.

 It's not all just plants at Malvern - there are lots of stands selling garden equipment, or furniture, or ornaments of one kind or another. You can buy clothes, or jewellery, and there is a whole section devoted to food. I spotted this blacksmith at work as I headed to the stand selling Gloucestershire Old Spot pork sausages.

I love the view of Malvern itself from the show ground - rows of houses perched along the hillsides that mark the end of the Vale of Evesham and point the way to the Welsh mountains further west.

The weather at Malvern is often variable - Thursday was a mixture of sudden, heavy downpours and spells of bright sunshine. Another reason to stick to the marquee - I felt I could almost warm my hands at this fiery display of bougainvillea.

 Mickfield hostas have a habit of giving their hosts rather naughty names. Last year, Patient Gardener talked me into buying one called 'Climax': this year, I bought two 'Seducers'.

One of the nicest things about visiting shows is saying hello to Sean and Jooles of Heucheraholics. Here's Sean in his special Malvern hat (I did say it rained a lot, didn't I?) I bought some of their Tiarella 'Appalachian Trails' to go around my pond.
I'd seen Sean at the Powderham Castle garden festival the previous weekend, where the weather was even wetter and colder. Sean's smile was just the same, though.
Talking of smiles, if I had one tiny niggling complaint to make, it would be that some nursery stands seem to regard the plant-buying public as a bit of a nuisance.
I know shows are hard work, but surely the whole point of running a nursery is to sell your plants? It would be nice to get a smile, if you show an interest in buying.
It would be even nicer to be able to pay by card or cheque. So many stands are "cash only", which makes life easier for them, but a bit of a pain for those of us who don't like to carry around large amounts of cash. Not only that, but the ATMs at Malvern charge you £2.50 to get cash out.
When I look at what I bought at Malvern (two hostas, a Canna musifolia, some - well, quite a lot of -  echeverias, some geums and my tiarellas, they all came from stands where I had a friendly chat, and was offered the services of a card machine. Funny, that.
Am I being unfair? What do you think?


  1. I agree. Your own garden, while not at all like your London garden, is showing some similarity of spirit. I wonder what the future holds?

    1. I wonder, too, James. You can take the girl out of the exotic garden... We'll see what people think when I open it to the public inn 24 May.

  2. We missed malvern this year, but we did see the Heucheraholics stall at TobyFest, where he was sporting a much warmer hat with ear flaps to keep out the cold. Did you go on the Friday or Saturday?


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

John Massey's garden

Wildflowers in Texas (believe it or not)

Trees at Colesbourne Park