Much ado at the Malvern Show

For the first time in many years I went to RHS Malvern Flower Show this year.  I went with a non-gardening friend who I had not seen in quite a while so it seemed a good opportunity to catch up, look at plants/gardens and have some retail therapy (plus the odd glass of fizz).

Several years ago when watching some gardening programme or another, someone said that all the RHS shows have their own distinct character and place.  (this is not me being discrete by the way, I have no idea which programme or who said it, I just remember the sentiment).  I have found this very much to be true, they do differ and this is a good thing.  It means that one is not better than another, it means they are different, so I go to Chelsea to look at the show gardens, enjoy the floral tent, amaze myself at the statues and hugely expensive stuff you can buy and maybe have the odd glass or two of Pimms.  Oh and I usually buy my gardening gloves at Chelsea, no real reason why, its usually at the time of year when I realise I need some more.  When I go to Malvern or Tatton I want to buy stuff.  I generally want to buy plants but sometimes there is other stuff on my list.  I went to Malvern to look at obelisks and to look at ferns in the main.
It is easy to get judgemental about planters shaped like carrots, but they amused me greatly.  I tried to think what I might grow in them, I could only think of carrots.  I don't think they are deep enough really for carrots.  I did not buy one.
I did buy this - a doohicky, it is beautifully balanced and I think I shall enjoy many years of doo-hickying with it.
and look, look, I bought a fern and also a Cornus canadensis that when it was planted out provided me with a couple of nice root cuttings too so I think (hope) I will soon have three of them.  These were my only plant purchases.  I was being good.
We wandered around looking at the show gardens, some of which I liked more than others.  I always think a key part of looking at the show gardens is exactly the same as when I visit any garden.  I might not like all I see, I might not like at all some of what it done.  Generally though there will be something I can like and from that I get to know what I want and do not want in my garden.  Anyway, the show gardens.....
I loved this one, 'Reposer Vos Roues' by Villaggio Verde.  Now I am a devil for liking the little details and what I really liked was that the hanging basket dripped into the watering can below.  The planting was well executed, the design worked.  The sun shone on it when we were looking at it and it was glorious.
Boathouse No.9 by Mark Eveleigh could be superficially yet also accurately described as charming, as indeed it was.  Again the detail is what sold it to me, the planting inside the shed was just beautiful yet maybe easily overlooked by many who focused on the boat and the external plants.  I wanted to poke around in the shed.
I loved these cypresses, I have long wanted to have such a row in my garden but I have no real place that would work for them.  I admit to not being certain which garden this was, I think it was one of the several cycling themed gardens.  Anyone would think that last year we had the Olympics!
'Serving Thyme in the Garden of Gallifrey' by HMP Hewell, a great dalek, how you can you not love a planty dalek?
This was judged the best in show: 'There's a place in the woodland...where East meets West' by Peter Dowle.  It was a good garden, I admit to not being sure what made it best in show, but as an example of its type it was good.
'The Natural Burial Site Garden' by Felix Dennis Estate was excellent.  I really liked this, I loved the simplicity and the naturalness.  There was a large wicker coffin by the sign for the garden.  As ever I showed my total maturity by pondering whether it would be a daft idea to want to hide in it and grab people's ankles as they read the sign.  I think it was an opportunity missed.
However, this garden I really really liked.  'Return to the Med' by the Garden Design House.  It received a silver-gilt medal and I thought it was worth more than that.  Obviously I don't know why it didn't get gold but the planting was some of the best I saw at the show.  It worked, it looked well executed, it had good colour.  This was a very good garden and worthy of note.

So a good day was had, nice to catch up with an old friend, also nice to bump into a twitter friend and enjoying finding out that we get on as well in the real world as we do in the ethereal one.

As we left I had to buy what I had spotted on the way in.  Close to the gate there was a stall selling obelisks, structural stuff and also some stone decorations.  I stopped to look at the obelisks (remember, they were on my list), they were a reasonable price but would be difficult to fit into my small car so I noted them but kept looking.  On the ground was a pair of stone heads, I liked them on sight.  I looked at the price hoping that would put me off, but no, they were a reasonable price.  I knew I could have bought them there and then and collected them on the way out, but I decided to let fate play its part.  If I had bought them on the way in then I would not have been able to buy much else and I did not know what else I might want to buy.  I declared that if they were still there on the way out then it was meant to be and I would buy them.  Well of course they were still there when we reached that stall so after testing them for weight to make sure we could carry them they were purchased.

Actually, they were quite heavy, you know how something seems ok until you've walked a short while and then they start to get heavier and heavier - that.

So, please say hello to Natasha and Elsie, fate decided I would buy them and I love them dearly already.  They will be found a special place.
and should the need arise, I even found them the perfect wig.....


  1. Return to Med garden is our fave too, based on the photos weve seen so far of the show gardens there. At first glance I thought the carrot shaped planter is a birdhouse!

    Nice little haul btw, I like the Cornus!

    1. Thanks, yes the cornus is a delight - hoping it flowers this year.

  2. What a wonderful day you must have had with your friend, I have been a couple of times and think it is a very friendly show plus of course you can buy the plants.You were very restrained in your purchases which will bring back happy memories in years to come.

  3. I enjoyed "visiting" the show with you. Thanks for the tour!


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