Highlights from RHS Malvern Spring Festival 2016

National Trust Scotney greenhouse at Malvern

Last weekend was our first time back at RHS Malvern Spring Festival after a few years. We travelled up with our mobile Scotney greenhouse, ready for the long and sunshine promised weekend. The weather did not disappoint, it was by far the hottest of the year so far, with highs of 28°C, the ice cream, from Salcombe Dairy at the Country Living stand, was a welcomed treat to keep us cool. By the sounds of it, our fellow exhibitors and organisers agreed, this was the best weekend Malvern Spring Festival had seen in a long time, with the exception of 5pm on Saturday when rain, thunder and lightning flooded the showground making us wade ankle deep along Members Avenue.

Silver Gilt Medal
We won a Silver Gilt Medal for our stand! The Scotney greenhouse impressed the judges with its aesthetic qualities and features, inspired by the National Trust heritage site, Scotney Castle Garden & Estate in Kent.
There was a lot on offer and Malvern exceeded our expectations with its expert garden talks and famous faces. Our particular favourites included Alan Titchmarsh and Carol Klein.

Alan Titchmarsh at RHS Malvern Spring Festival
For the first talk of the weekend the crowds gathered within the Festival Theatre and waited in anticipation as James Alexander-Sinclair introduced Alan and spoke of the exciting weekend ahead. Alan began his talk with previous experiences at the show and his recent projects leading up to spring time. He talked of filming series 6 of "Love Your Garden" and his latest project for 90-year-old Iris with her garden designed to make tending and planting easier. Alan also told some delightful stories of the Queen appreciating gardens and his favourite Royal Gardens with their delicate features. He followed the talk with a Q & A, answering question about how to make your garden suitable for disabled and elderly, with wide paths and raised planters. He gave pointers about hosing down patios, making sure you put covers over the nearby beds so the grime from the paving will not run to your beautiful borders. The talk ended with a lady, visiting the show, stepping forward to provide Alan with gratitude for doing her garden several years ago, it was a lovely exchange as Alan and the lady chatted, as if old friends, and she thanked him for providing a garden that has continued to change her family's life as it continues to blossom year on year.

Carol Klein at RHS Malvern Spring Festival
In the Floral Marquee Carol Klein greeted the crowd with a warm welcome and a boxful of stunning flora she had plucked from various exhibitors around the marquee. She showed us her favourite spring flower, the Narcissus poeticus recurvus, with narrow channelled leaves and a small, red rimmed yellow cup, this detailed flower opens during later spring. It has a subtle fragrance that is commonly used for production of essential oil within the perfume industry. She explained that this particular Narcissus in named after a myth; "a beautiful youth walks to a pond, as he sees his reflection he falls in love and continues to stay there". This also relates to the myth of the Greek Hero Narcissus, punished by the Goddess of vengeance, who turned him into a Narcissus flower. The myth lasted into modern times, where people would decorate graves with these flowers. As Carol ran out of time she reminded us about the latest episode of BBC Gardeners' World, airing that Friday, 6th May, which featured her explaining why plants have scents and when those scents are at their strongest. If you missed it you can catch up here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p03t9qxj

We rounded off the weekend with a talk from Ian at High Park Nursery, exhibiting a wonderful display raising awareness on dementia. He handed us this useful tip about laying down slug pellets; rather than scattering them around the plants, save an old spice jar and put several pellets in there. This will attract the slugs to go into the jar, whilst protecting hedgehogs, birds and other wildlife you don't want to endanger.

With Malvern finished the next show on our radar is RHS Chelsea Flower Show, we've got lots of exciting features in store, so keep checking The Green Room over the next week as we reveal the latest details.


Tags: alitex greenhouse, RHS Malvern, Carol Klein, Alan Titchmarsh