Friday, 3 May 2013

Curtain Up (almost!)

Show Gardens in the making in the lee of the Malvern Hills
(all images were taken on Wednesday 1st May during
the build-up to the Malvern Spring Gardening Show)
As the final touches are put to show gardens and stands around the Three Counties Showground, I come to the end of my Spring Gardening Show previews. Thankyou for joining me on this journey, particularly if you have been with me from the beginning, back in the cold days of February; you’ve been a marvellous audience, if blog visitor numbers are anything to go by. Producing these posts has been a challenging experience;  and a real joy and privilege to have been leading you scene by scene through the various stages from imagination to reality.

Nostalgia appears in many forms
It’s been a strange adventure, too. Although I have posted so many times on various other blogs since I first discovered Malvern shows (in 2005), I have always felt on the outside, looking in; gradually, over the last twelve weeks, I have come to realise I am now on the inside, looking out. It has certainly changed my perception of what makes the Showground tick.

A long way to go yet -- but it will be ready on time
I walked around for quite a while on Wednesday (1st May), soaking it all in; the atmosphere, the busyness, the building of stands and show gardens, the camaraderie of everyone working together to bring you a magnificent Show. For first-time visitors it may appear bewildering as you walk through the gate; others may know exactly the direction in which they are heading, but you? I won’t take you by the metaphorical hand, but suggest instead that you head for one of the many coffee courts, relax for ten minutes or so and take a look at the show guide to get your bearings. With the spectacular hills behind you, orientate yourself … time well spent towards an enjoyable day.

This really IS - or will be - a Show Garden
Children participate as well
Waiting in the wings is this enormous cast of experienced and dedicated people, each with their own story to tell. There isn’t space to list them all, but the main features, with Show Guide pages to help you plan in advance, now follow:

Plants are delivered by the lorry load
* Show Gardens p22-37 (RHS awards and medals explained on page 123)
* Plants and People Theatre and programme of events (p47), highlights of which are outlined every day (Fri to Sun) at 10.30am by host James Alexander-Sinclair. (Thursday at 11.00am are the Malvern Young Gardener Awards)
* School Gardens and Education including the Discovery Zone and Theatreworks Arts Lab (p38-45)
* Malvern Spring Sportive Cycling Challenge - Sunday only (p49)
* Floral Marquee (7,000 square meters with more than 100 of the best nurseries from the UK and abroad (p53-61)

Just one section of the Floral Marquee - by 9th May it will be
crammed full of plant displays, plants for sale - and people
(don't forget your trolley, or buy one on site)
Indoor Halls & Pavilions:
* Wye Hall (p62-79) - Crafts and Craftsmen’s Guild displays; Garden Societies and Food Hall
* Gardeners’ Shopping Pavilion (p80-84)  - numerous stands PLUS ‘Dig for Prosperity’ (a new feature for 2013 highlighting the importance of creating a sustainable future for the countryside).
* Allotment Theatre (p86-87) located in the Shopping Pavilion and featuring an excellent programme of talks and demonstrations alongside ‘Grange Cottage’, a stage / garden.
* Avon Hall (p88) Floral Art.
* Three Counties Centre, Linden Suite (p89) – RHS Botanical Art Exhibition.
* Country Living Magazine Pavilion (p117-120) – an eclectic selection of stylish products from British independent designers, artisans and craftspeople.
* The RHS Stand (p50-51) – discover what the RHS can do for you: sharing knowledge and expertise, information on the various RHS initiatives such as Campaign for School Gardening; plus books and gifts.

Plants are appearing in the Show Gardens; soon all of them
will be planted to perfection
Outdoor Stands:
* ‘The Open’ (p93-115) – a huge variety of horticultural equipment, sundries and activities, plus nurseries (Plant Pavilions), plant crèche and porter service.
* Elgar Avenue (p106) – high-class shopping, alongside the RHS/TCAS members’ pavilion.
* Plaza Bandstand, by the Three Counties Centre, Row 7/Avenue F (p131) with performances by the seven-piece band Indigo Blues of vintage-style tunes inspired by jazz, blues and swing beats of yesteryear: each day between 1.30pm and 4.00pm. Sunday only (at 11..00am and 12.30pm), students from the Elgar School of Music will be playing their own blend of folk, jazz and world music.
* Catering facilities (p130) – are available throughout the Showground (indoors and outside).

Maybe you will spot me
around the Showground,
notebook in hand
scribbling or sketching.
As I write, the Show is still building. I will continue blogging during all four Show days, offering a kaleidoscopic scrapbook of Show news, activities and images. “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players, they have their exits and their entrances …..” (from As You Like It, Act II Scene VII). Hackneyed through over-use but still so very true, and nowhere more so than at The Malvern Spring Gardening Show. Everyone here, or visiting, is a part of it. We all hope you will enjoy your day in this most lovely of settings.

WHY NOT ALSO TAKE A LOOK AT THESE PAGES, TOO?  (Just click on the links):


  1. Ann,thank you for a lovely insight into what goes on behind the scenes.It has been a lovely blog to follow and I shall look forward to seeing what your blog shows us on show days.

  2. I will do my best!