Malvern Spring Gardening Show

PUBLISHED: 12:14 03 April 2013 | UPDATED: 21:23 05 April 2013

Malvern Spring Gardening Show

Malvern Spring Gardening Show

From bicycles to Doctor Who, the Malvern Spring Gardening Show will take you on a magical journey, says Mandy Bradshaw

Malvern Spring Gardening Show

From bicycles to Doctor Who, the Malvern Spring Gardening Show will take you on a magical journey, says Mandy Bradshaw

Theres more than a whiff of the Gallic about this years Malvern Spring Gardening Show which kicks off the horticultural season with stylish show gardens, award-winning nurseries and celebrity talks.

Six of the 15 show gardens have taken the Tour de France as their theme in celebration of the world famous cycle races centenary. The Tour de France is known to everyone, and we thought it would be good to tie in with the centenary celebrations for added interest, explains Sharon Gilbert, show spokeswoman.

Among those exhibiting at The Three Counties Showground in May is Cheltenham designer Jeremy Price who will portray the diverse landscape of the race in The Grand Tour, his first show garden.

A smart avenue lined with London plane trees recedes on one side into a rugged landscape suggesting a mountainous region, while on the other side, spring flowers lead to a more formal area with a mural of a caf from where you can watch the race go by. Yellow-hued planting, enclosed by box borders, conjures up images of the race leaders yellow jersey and at the heart is the target symbol worn last year by Bradley Wiggins.

Pershore-based designer Ruth Gwynn has chosen to depict the final chaotic sprint finish of the race along the Champs Elysees. Massed planting will represent riders at the back of the field and perennial planting will be in the colours of the Tricolore, while metal hoops suggest bicycle wheels.

In contrast, Olive tree specialists Villaggio Verde, from Martley, will recreate a caf long used as a refuelling point by the cyclists. For the rest of the year, the cafs garden is a relaxing spot to sit in the shade of olives, Holm oaks, cork oaks and Mediterranean cypress.

Meanwhile, Chelsea gold medallist Peter Dowle will be hoping to impress the judges with a woodland idyll garden designed around two of the existing trees on the showground site. Newent-based Peter, who was awarded gold at Chelsea last year for his LOccitane Garden, has a design that mixes naturalistic planting with his trademark water feature.

In the foreground will be long grass and wild flowers followed by a large pool and stepping-stones leading to a secluded seating area. The steps will have natural stream dropping into the pool and the planting will include ferns, poolside marginals, trees and shrubs.It is essentially a take-me-there woodland idyll with the roll of the Malverns as the background, explains Peter.

Andrew Jordan and Kelly-Rose Walker, from The Garden Design House, near Fairford, will be hoping to take visitors to the Mediterranean with their travelinspired garden. A colour palette of yellow, pink, blue and lilac showcases plants suitable for the balmy climate, while an artisan pebbled path, rendered walls and a water rill and spout hint at the landscape.

Elsewhere, the use of traditional crafts and materials will be celebrated in a woodland kitchen garden, the Cornish landscape will be recreated and the staff and inmates of HMP Hewell will celebrate 50 years of the BBCs Doctor Who with a garden of wonders.

Malvern has long been used as a launching pad for young designers and the possible stars of the future will show off their imagination and skill in the school and college section. Students from across the three counties and beyond will be creating gardens with a literary theme.

Year nine pupils at Tewkesbury School have designed an octagonal garden inspired by Wheres Wally. At its centre will be a statue of Wally, while four sections, divided by hazel hurdles, will represent the book with castle, fantasy land, jungle and desert island areas.

Elsewhere, visitors will be transported to Narnia, and Alices Wonderland, while other designs choose Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Winnie the Pooh and Romeo and Juliet as their starting point.

As a charity, dedicated to promoting horticulture, we have a part to play in enthusing a younger generation of gardeners. The School Gardens Challenge is an excellent way to learn all about design, planning, budgeting and marketing, says Sharon.

Aside from design inspiration, one of the main attractions at the spring show is the RHS floral marquee where top nurseries from all over the country will exhibit everything from ferns and lilies to roses and clematis.

Top tips will be available from celebrity gardeners Carol Klein, Chris Beardshaw and Mark Diacono, who will give a series of talks during the four-day show, and there is more advice available from the many plant society stands, while the Allotment Theatre is the place to go for everything to do with grow your own.

The show was recently placed fourth in a Which? survey of top British gardening events, an accolade that Sharon welcomes: We are delighted to have done so well. We are blessed with a beautiful location here at Malvern, and have a reputation for being one of the friendliest RHS Shows.

The Malvern Spring Gardening Show runs from May 9-12

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