Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Behind the Scenes

Build-up to a Show Garden begins here
It’s all happening. I’ve blogged already in various posts about the 2013 Malvern Spring Gardening ‘Show Gardens’ and a couple of days ago had the privilege of being on site and watching some of the build-up. I’ve been to build-ups of previous shows, but this was something like no other year; the gardens will truly WOW you when they are landscaped and planted, with every last detail according to each designer’s submitted brief.

Giant-sized stone slabs remind me of clapper-bridges
The garden themes this year are so diverse it is hard to imagine just how much work is going into their creation. On Monday the ‘Show Garden’ area by the ‘Plants & People Theatre' truly looked as if you were on a very large building site! Each garden was already pegged out (work began last week) and designers, their teams and contractors were excavating soil, sculpting the flat ground into hillocks and paths, levering stone or gigantic slabs of rock into place, creating pools and streams, planting an olive grove and carefully manoeuvring into place the remains of a once river-worthy rowing boat. And more.

Summer house in the Caves Folly
Nursery's permanent garden
Not to be forgotten or missed are the two ‘Permanent Gardens’ situated near the West (Brown) Gate. Now, with all this talk of build-up, seems a good time to mention them; a Spring re-fettling is taking place. Caves Folly Nurseries maintain a modest-sized triangular area with a whalebone archway made from English oak, a summer house, a small pool and raised alpine bed. Caves Folly’s interest in environmental care and organic gardening is reflected in their design and construction of the garden, which uses reclaimed materials such as brick paths and stone edging.

Where is she?
Very different is the somewhat larger space utilised by Alchemy Gardens who have created an atmospheric series of inter-connecting ‘rooms’ through which visitors can wander. Native planting has been used throughout to attract beneficial insects, yet there’s a hot-Summer patio-feel to one side of the garden, entered through an archway and stone moon gate. Then you amble along a winding path through mature trees where shade-loving plants thrive in crevices at the side of a stream. Rustic materials and tumble-down stone is used to create gothic-follies reminiscent of many literary works. And can you spot their latest acquisition – the mythological Gorgon Medusa, with snakes for her hair?

Working with Chestnut
A brand new feature at this year’s Show is the ‘Garden Crafts Demonstration Area’, just near the permanent gardens, where visitors can enjoy demonstrations of garden-related crafts and skills. You can watch garden art being created by professional blacksmiths, see traditional woodcraft in action and learn about the latest arboricultural issues.

Also in this area, as in previous years, is the Caves Folly marquee in which you will find a number of exhibitors, including Caves Folly Nurseries with their locally grown herbaceous perennials, alpines and grasses, and The Cottage Herbery whose herb varieties are hard to find elsewhere.

Just arrived on site - start of the School Garden build-up
Latest information on the 2013 Malvern ‘School Gardens’ is surprising. Children always have their own interpretation of any theme or topic, and despite the theme for the 2013 gardens being books, all 16 of the participating schools feature edible plants within their design. (Well, designers whether adults or children have to eat!) And edible plants seem set to become a recurring phenomenon in gardens of the future, both front and back, for there is evidently more interest in grow-your-own amongst children than adults.

Setting to work immediately - no messing about!
Recycled materials and environmental concerns also recur throughout the pupils’ literary-inspired gardens focusing on issues that affect everyone, with a desire to make the world a better place to live. And even better news is that Horticulture is to become a part of the national curriculum from September 2014; a timely introduction and a move welcomed by the RHS.

Staircase to the stars, or a
bird's-eye-view (note-taking actually)
My whole day was all so fascinating (and educational) that my photographer took well over 100 images for me to remind me of my visit and to add to my Malvern Scrapbook.

The Marquees are going up already, and I will be returning next week to report on progress on the Show Gardens and the Showground in general. There are only two more posts before the Show opens on 9th May, so do return for ‘Overture & Beginners’ and ‘Curtain Up’ and as much news as I have space for. Oh, and have you booked your tickets yet?

WHY NOT ALSO TAKE A LOOK AT THESE PAGES, TOO?  (Just click on the links):
Love our Shows, Like our Facebook Page -
Malvern Autumn Show

IS THS YOUR FIRST VISIT to Ann's Malvern Jotter? May I suggest you begin at the beginning and read all the blog posts to obtain a better picture of all that I have been writing about over recent weeks. I also recommend regular clicks onto the Spring Gardening Show website for regular updates and more breaking news.

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