For many the RHS Malvern Spring Festival, which runs from May 5-8, is the true start of the gardening season. There’s the chance to see displays from top nurseries – and most importantly buy the plants – pick up tips and advice from experts, stock up on everything from plant labels to greenhouses and get ideas from the show gardens.
Over the past few years, food has become an important element of the show and Mary Berry will be among the celebrity guests while Alan Titchmarsh heads a group of gardening experts and CBeebies’ Ben Faulks as Mr Bloom will be at Sunday’s ‘family day’.
This year, the British flower industry will be celebrated with ‘Grow Your Own Wedding’ led by top florist Jonathan Moseley (more details here ) there’s a look at Royal weddings and fierce competition in the show gardens with three former Best in Show winners competing (more details here ).
Here are just some of the other highlights.
Get expert help
Writer and broadcaster Christine Walkden is just one of the experts giving advice in Get Going, Get Growing. She will be taking the mystery out of sowing seeds and explaining how to get plants for free using cuttings and division.
“I am so looking forward to being at Malvern at this important time of the year when everything is starting to grow,” she says. “Growing your own is so important as it connects you to nature, is easy, rewarding and great fun.”
Other speakers include Gardeners’ World presenters Carol Klein and Joe Swift, and RHS judge Jon Wheatley.
The Potting Bench in the Floral Marquee offers practical horticultural advice from nursery owners and celebrity guests on a stage designed by Howle Hill Nursery on the theme of Gardens Around the World.
Floral Fashion Show
Royal wedding bouquets including the Queen’s, Queen Victoria’s and Kate Middleton’s, will be part of a special display by the British Academy of Floral Art.
The leading professional floristry school has put together wedding flowers through the ages in honour of the Queen’s 90th birthday.
It will feature modern designs as well as the Royal bouquets and will use British grown flowers. The catwalk show will take place on The Garden of Romance show garden on Thursday and is an exclusive preview before the school takes the display to America this summer.
Top Nurseries on show
Some of the country’s leading nurseries will be at the RHS Malvern Spring Festival offering unusual plants and advice on how to grow them.
The huge floral marquee and outdoor stands will have around 70 stands offering the chance to stock up on everything from bulbs, ferns, perennials, climbers and shrubs.
All the stands will be judged by the RHS and many of the exhibitors, including Avon Bulbs, Dibleys Nurseries and Fibrex Nurseries, will be showing at Chelsea later in the month.
Schools Celebrate Shakespeare
This year’s schools contest, headed by BBC Blue Peter gardener Chris Collins sees schools from across the Three Counties marking the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death.
Eleven schools have created gardens inspired by the Bard including a storm scene from The Tempest, the witches from Macbeth, the Globe Theatre and a portrait of Shakespeare’s face.
From Plot to Plate
TV chef Valentine Warner and Otter Farm’s Mark Diacono will host The Kitchen Garden Theatre at the RHS Malvern Spring Festival where local chefs will demonstrate how to use your produce.
Bake Off queen Mary Berry will talk about health, happiness and horticulture, Pennard Plants will run a Grow It, Cook It, Eat It masterclass, and there will be talks on local and seasonal.
There will be street food and stands from local producers with everything from sausages to gin.
“We are truly spoilt in this part of the country with each of the three counties famous for its food and drink produce,” says Ken Nottage, CEO of Three Counties.
• For details of tickets and the talks timetable, visit RHS Malvern
• Enjoyed this? Please share via Facebook, Twitter or email.