RHS Malvern Spring Festival 2017: Blooming marvellous!
PUBLISHED: 11:35 02 May 2017
There’s a feast of florals and firsts for RHS Malvern Spring Festival 2017 taking place Thursday, May 11 - Sunday, May 14
Flowers naturally take centre stage at an RHS Show, and as RHS Malvern Spring Festival takes place at the start of the season it inevitably offers a veritable feast for its visitors. This year there are over 100 specialist nurseries in attendance as well as spectacular feature gardens, stunning show gardens and superb spa gardens, all brimming with blooms.
This year sees the longest ever Malvern Floral Marquee play host to 69 specialist nurseries, housing close to a million blooms. Visitors to the show will get the very first chance to buy both newly introduced varieties as well as old favourites, and welcome five new nurseries for their inaugural show.
Plant Seeker Parlour
For the first time ever RHS Malvern has commissioned a specialist feature within the Floral Marquee. Top garden designer and BBC Gardeners’ World presenter Joe Swift will create the Plant Seeker Parlour, a central exhibit that pays homage to the intrepid explorers of the Victorian age. Joe’s authentic parlour houses the forebears of the plants that surround it, plants that were discovered by the likes of local man, Gloucestershire born Ernest Wilson and fearless Scot, George Forrest.
Author, plantsman and long-standing contributor to Gardeners’ Question Time, Matthew Biggs is creating a unique one-man show for the parlour. He will adopt the personas of both Ernest Wilson and George Forrest and bring their adventures to life on Thursday, May 11 and Friday, May 12, the first two days of the show.
Venture outside to the newly-named Plant Arcades, and over 30 nurseries will be flaunting their flowers and parading their perennials ready for visitors to purchase. As the first major RHS show of the year, RHS Malvern Spring Festival offers plant lovers the earliest opportunity to stock up for the new growing season. From pansies to pelargoniums or from hostas to heleniums, there is something for everyone.
There is also plenty of advice available on how to remain blooming marvellous, whether it’s top tips from the RHS plant clinic to specialist guidance from horticultural experts, no problem will remain unsolved.
The floral fantasy doesn’t stop delivering on leaving the Plant Village; BBC Great Allotment Challenge judge and celebrity florist, Jonathan Moseley has been appointed to create a spectacular Floral Fountain as the centrepiece for the new Shopping Arcades that are launching at this year’s Festival. Inspired by the spa theme and the ancient tradition of well dressing, Jonathan will create a beautiful cascade of flowers combined with glass and crystal droplets that emulate the effect of a fountain. The desired look will be created by using an atmospheric selection of flowers, with many specially sourced from local British flower growers – this is of course dependent on the kindness of the British spring weather! Jonathan will imitate the lightness of water by using waxy tulips, ranunculus, frothy gyphsophila, cascading stems of amaranthus and the shiny silver foliage of cineraria and artemesia. These will all intermingle with the sparkling and zingy colours of nostalgic favourites like campanulas, muscari and anemones that all allude to the promise and freshness of spring. As the fountain descends, Jonathan hopes to create the illusion of a sparkling pool of water with lilies, eryngium and iris. The display culminates with a wonderful Romanesque-inspired garland, rich with fragrant herbs, delicate rose buds and hyacinths entwining at the base of the fountain. It promises to be truly spectacular.
Jonathan will work with local British flower growers from the three counties of Gloucestershire, Worcestershire and Herefordshire to create this masterpiece. He’s estimating that it will take 16 people three days using approximately 25,000 stems and around 500 glass droplets. Nothing like this has ever been attempted before at RHS Malvern; it will stand at approximately 7.5m tall and 7m wide – equivalent in width and height as an average three-bedroom house.
Launching in 2017 is the brand new Live Well zone. The centrepiece of which will be a garden designed by RHS ambassador and recent beneficiary of the RHS Victoria Medal of Honour, Jekka McVicar. She has been specially commissioned to design a permanent garden for RHS Malvern that investigates the importance of horticulture for our health and sense of wellbeing. The garden will be a living working space for mind, body and senses that will be used by Pathways, a charity for adults with learning disabilities as well as school children. Bursting with blooms that are transportational and transformational in their uses, Jekka will host daily herbal conversations demonstrating the properties of some of the gardens inhabitants. Lavender for relaxation, appetite-stimulating parsley, memory restoring rosemary, and even herbs reputed to mend a broken heart, all included are both beautiful as well as beneficial.
Alongside the fantastic florals, visitors can expect a feast of a culinary nature too. The Food & Drink Pavilion will play host to a number of locally and internationally renowned chefs hosted by festival favourite, Mark Diacono. The Grow Zone looks at how important horticulture is to future-proofing our sustainability as a planet and features a series of edible beds curated by RHS gold medal-winning designer, Hannah Genders. RHS judge and seasoned grower Jon Wheatley will create a stunning Wildlife Feature Garden that visitors will walk through and relax in.
RHS Malvern Spring Festival 2017 will take place from Thursday, May 11 until Sunday, May 14. Tickets are now on sale – call 01684 584900 or visit the website.