Saturday, 26 April 2014

Spring Festival launches Festival Gardens

Each 'Festival Garden' designer is offered a space of 4m x4m 
(16 square metres) and a grant to support the cost of the build. 
This garden is 'A Game of Contrast'.
As part of the exciting transformation of the RHS Malvern Spring Festival, celebration TCAS is introducing a new competition category of creative show gardens. Working with the Cotswold Gardening School, ‘Festival Gardens’ offers students the opportunity to stage a garden by giving designers an open brief, coupled with free guidance and practical support, both through the development stages and the actual garden build. 'Festival Gardens' can embody any concept through the medium of plants and the garden and may well embrace new technology, trends and materials.

'Levels: A Garden Come Rain or Shine'
In brief, there are four Festival Gardens which will be located at the heart of the Festival next to our new Village Green with its Celebrity Theatre. Shown and described above the opening paragraph is ‘A Game of Contrast’ (OS5554) which portrays a very different message to ‘Levels: A Garden Come Rain Or Shine’ (OS551). Levels is a garden that faces the challenges created by climate change – particularly increased rainfall – and showcases ways in which new and old technology can be used to offer solutions to these challenges.  

A garden that will resonate with so many visitors.
Different again is ‘The Journey supporting RAF Benevolent Fund’ (OS553) which has resonance for us all, as 2014 marks the year that British combat troops will withdraw from Afghanistan, 100 years since the start of the First World War and 70 years since the Normandy invasions.

Highlighting the relationship between nature and man.
The four Festival Gardens contrast well with each other, and our fourth preview is different yet again. ‘The Garden of Contrast’ (OS551) highlights the relationship between nature and man and offers somewhere to contemplate its contrasts. As I drove near Malvern yesterday (Friday 25th), I truly felt for the designers and garden builders – not just those of the Festival Gardens but all the other gardens and outdoor spaces. Didn’t it rain! So when you come to visit between 8th-11th May, think on what has had to be achieved, despite these downpours.

WANTED: brass musical
STOP PRESS: a plea for readers’ help has arrived in my inbox just in time for today’s post. Multi award-winning RHS garden designer Peter Dowle is appealing to members of the public to donate their unwanted brass musical instruments. (The donated instruments will be used for his installation at this year’s Cheltenham Jazz Festival – 30th April-5th May – and will later be donated to the charity, Brass for Africa.)

The RHS Malvern Spring Festival enlisted Peter’s help to dress various areas of the Jazz Festival as part of a partnership deal between the two events, prior to the Spring Festival itself (almost upon us: 8th-11th May). Entitled ‘Jazz Jungle’, Peter’s garden concept will see him transform an antique piano into a stunning water feature as well as use various instruments in his displays. He will also ‘junglify’ the space with lush foliage, plants and flowers and jazz it up with original artwork using sheet music and colourful graffiti. Peter commented,  “I’m sure many people have an abandoned trumpet or saxophone hiding under the stairs or growing dusty in an attic.” For those with unwanted instruments to donate, please contact Peter Dowle on 01989 567726.

ON A FINAL NOTE: we still have much to preview for you for the Spring Festival with hardly any time left to do so. If conditions allow, we plan to bring you images of the build-up. Always an eye-opener as it demonstrates just how much hard work goes into creating these Malvern Shows.

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