Monday, 7 April 2014

Get Going, Get Growing – and Giant Welly Spotting!

Art installation 
up in the hills
In the vernacular, I think it’s known as “putting the boot in” – but no way is that the case here. At the moment, an amazing and specially commissioned Giant Welly art installation has been walking the hills, or transiting between iconic venues and shopping malls around Worcestershire, Herefordshire and Gloucestershire introducing anyone who sees it to the RHS Malvern Spring Festival. What a marvellous visual invitation to explore the delights of what this year’s Show has to offer. It’s already been to Malvern’s Morgan Car Factory and Holywell Water, as well as Worcester Cathedral and the Crowngate Shopping Centre until April 10th (see image below).

In the Crowngate Shopping 
Centre, Worcester
The Giant Welly will appear at the Showground at Countrytastic – a great family day out – on April 17th and will move onto the National Trust’s Croome Court, before visiting Malvern Theatre. The welly will also put in a special appearance at The Cheltenham Jazz Festival where it will sit in a show garden setting for music lovers to enjoy. During the Giant Welly Tour, the public is invited to take a picture of themselves with the boot then post that image into our Facebook page.  Those who do so will be entered into a competition to win one of three VIP packages to the RHS Malvern Spring Show. Happy welly spotting!

Read on for this week’s preview installment: 

Adult workshop participation is to be a new theme at this year's Show
Greater emphasis this year is being given to LEARNING and DISCOVERY, and the new topic of ‘Get Going, Get Growing’ for visitors of any age who are keen to experience ‘grow your own’ for real will surely appeal. Practical planting workshops for first-time gardeners will allow you to find out how to sow, grow and harvest flowers, fruit and vegetables. It’s never too late to begin, or to learn.

Eager to talk to visitors, and already knowledgeable 
about creating a garden
Fortunate indeed are the children at those schools who have taken on the School Garden Challenge this year with a new patron – Chris Collins, formerly resident ‘Blue Peter’ gardener from 2004 to 2013. Along with Phil Eves from sponsors BAM Construct UK Ltd, Chris joined a panel of experts when youngsters from across the region descended on the Showground in February for a series of workshops aimed at helping them put together their competitive Show Gardens which they are building for the RHS Malvern Spring Festival.

Excited participants at the 2013 Spring Show
The RHS Malvern Spring Festival, is the only RHS Show in the UK to have a collection of Show Gardens designed and built entirely by school children. This year sees a record number of 21 schools from Worcestershire, Herefordshire, Gloucestershire, Shropshire, Wiltshire and Warwickshire creating gardens on the theme ‘A Great Moment in History’ with youngsters from playgroups up to pupils in Year 13 taking part. 

2014 school garden design: Meadows First School, Bromsgrove
Speaking about the workshop, Chris said, “It has been a superb way to kick off the School Gardens Challenge for RHS Malvern. The two days of workshops have put everybody in the mood and the ideas have been flying. I am so excited about the show in May and seeing the children’s show gardens come to life. These show gardens will give the kids a real insight into practical gardening and give them memories that they will treasure." Visitors can join Chris Collins on a tour of the school gardens - times to be announced in a future post.

2014 school garden design: Castlemoreton CE Primary School
(Malvern district)

Sue Verdeyen, Education Officer for the Three Counties Showground, commented: “At RHS Malvern, we are passionate about inspiring young people to fall in love with gardening and design. We are very proud to be the only RHS show that has a project specifically for schools. It’s a great opportunity for the children to get some hands on experience into the design, horticultural and construction industries. These youngsters are involved in every aspect of creating their gardens; the design, the sowing, the growing of their own plants and the hard landscaping."

2014 school garden design:
Abberley Parochial VC Primary 
School (north-west Worcestershire)
It’s always interesting to see how children interpret any theme and this year will be no exception. Visiting their 4mx4m square gardens will be a revelation with ‘Great Moments in History’ as the theme. Topics chosen are extremely varied and include: ‘The Mouse’s Web’; ‘Dr Foster went to Gloucester’; ‘One Small Step for man, One Giant Leap for Mankind’; ‘Double Helix Garden’; ‘The Wheel Garden’; ‘Growing our Future’; ‘It’s a Ming Thing’; ‘Digital Growth’; ‘An Explosion of Colour’; ‘Never Forget’; ‘What have the Roman’s ever done for us?’; ‘Creation of the Union Jack’; ‘The Battle of Tewkesbury’; ‘400 Years of The Elms’; ‘Game, Set and Match’; Interesting, ingenious, and some will leave you guessing – so do visit (8th-11th May) and support these young gardeners (and historians) in-the-making.

Garden designers of the future … please support their endeavours
at the 2014 RHS Malvern Spring Fetival

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