Monday, 5 May 2014

Festival Theatricality

Making notes during the Show Garden build-up last week
The RHS Malvern Spring Festival 2014 is upon us – opening to eager visitors from Thursday 8th May to Sunday 11th May, 9.00am to 18.00 hours each day, come sunshine or (maybe inevitably, the odd shower of rain).

Seeing how it's done ….
With the Showground having been transformed this year, take a moment or two to gain your bearings – maybe over tea or coffee in one of the many refreshment areas. The Show Gardens will delight you – having been privileged to spend a morning on one of the build-up days, I wanted to show you the sheer theatricality of it all. From a veritable building site with earth-movers and scaffolding, wonders have emerged. 

Malvern transformed
More earth-moving, as well as scaffolding, was needed here
Plants were waiting in the wings for their appearance on stage, once the ‘sets’ had been constructed. All will be in pristine condition, come Thursday. Designers will be keen to talk about their gardens; there’s always plenty to learn from their expertise which you can put into practice in your own plot back home. Or just make notes or take photos; what I saw under construction was truly amazing.

All hands on deck, but still time for a much-needed cuppa
Don’t forget the Spring Festival Theatre on the Village Green, which is combining gardening and cookery in an exciting programme of talks, demonstrations and Q&A (question and answer) sessions. The theatre setting has been designed and built by garden designer Peter Dowle who has been involved with so much of this year’s theatricality – in this instance, a kitchen garden to host the theatre programme. 

(Photo courtesy TCAS)
The latest Show news is that HRH The Princess Royal is spending time at the Festival on Friday 9th. She will be met by the Lord Lieutenant for Worcestershire, Lt Col Patrick Holcroft LVO OBE and Mrs Annie Holcroft, and will tour the event with Three Counties Agricultural Society President, Dame Janet Trotter DBE HML. Her Royal Highness is no stranger to the Showground – her first visit was in 1976; she served as TCAS President in 1981 and opened the new Members Complex overlooking the Main Arena in 1986. She last visited the Show in 2010, in its 25th year and met some of the exhibitors who have been with the event since its beginning. Said RHS Malvern Spring Gardening Show Manager, Doreen Smillie: “We are naturally delighted that Her Royal Highness she should choose to honour us with a visit to our new-look show.”

Show Garden Build-Up in progress a week ago
Remember stout shoes (or wellies), rainwear for just-in-case, and a capacious bag/bags or folding trolley for all those purchases. The latter can usually be purchased on site from various exhibitors; for you are sure to get carried away with all those must-have plants, sundries, local food and other delights. AND DON’T FORGET YOUR TICKETS! (I’m now signing out, for this is the last preview for the 2014 Spring Festival. I’ll be back later in the year, but meanwhile if you like what I photograph and write about, you’ll find me on various social network sites, or ‘Google-search’ me to discover my various personal Blogs and new weekly online newsletter.)