National Gardening Week takes place from 2–8 May and there’s no better place to find inspiration and advice or stock up on beautiful plants than the RHS Malvern Spring Festival, which takes place the very same week.
Set against a backdrop of the majestic Malvern Hills, this much-loved event is the first RHS show of the season. Starting on Thursday 5 May (Festivals in May 2023) and running for four days, it’s based within the spacious Three Counties Showground, just off the M5 motorway, and promises to be a fantastic day out for seasoned growers and enthusiastic starters alike.
There will be a generous selection of inspiring feature and show gardens full of great design ideas and plant combinations, including the Vitamin G Garden, the first RHS feature garden at Malvern, co-designed by BBC radio presenter Jo Whiley and Alan Williams from Landform Consultants. It will demonstrate the mental, physical and social benefits to be had from growing plants in and around the home. For anyone inspired to try to recreate the colour, shape and scent within the garden, they will be able to scan codes that will identify the plants used and share links to where they can be purchased.
For those who love house plants, Peter Dowle of Leaf Creative in Newent will be making use of two giant clear domes to demonstrate different habitats and provide great ideas for visitors to take home with his ‘Welcome to the Jungle’ garden.
Elsewhere there will be a selection of gardens large and small packed with ideas for outdoor spaces of all shapes and sizes. The Affordable Gardens designed by Show Lead Jess Russell-Perry will demonstrate how a front, back or side garden can be transformed with as little as £500 using a little ingenuity, a touch of recycling and repurposing and a lot of enthusiasm. Perfect for aspiring amateurs and those looking to create their own outdoor spaces at home.
Alongside all the things to see, there will be plenty of opportunities to glean advice and inspiration from celebrity gardeners, such as BBC Gardeners’ World presenters Monty Don OBE, Arit Anderson, Frances Tophill and Carol Klein along with a wide range of specialists from across the world of horticulture.
RHS Malvern Spring Festival favourite Carol Klein comments:
“I’m really excited to return to RHS Malvern this May, my favourite RHS show. The show always has a celebratory feel but this year even more so with the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee at its core. I’ll be joining my gardening friends in the Festival Theatre to chat about all things Spring planting, and no doubt I’ll be taking some time to wander around the stunning show gardens on display every year at Malvern.”
The Floral Marquee is a highpoint of the show for many visitors and with a host of award-winning specialist nurseries browse and buy from, all grown by friendly experts who are happy to pass on advice to visitors. And with the soil warming up beautifully and everything in peak condition, it’s a perfect time to stock up for fabulous beds and borders at home.
Rob Evans from Pheasant Acre Plants in Bridgend is a familiar face at RHS Malvern Spring Festival, having attended the past 15 events. This year he’s there as an RHS ‘Master Grower’, which means visitors will get a glimpse behind the scenes of how the nursery is run as well as picking up some expert advice, such as how to start off dahlia tubers in January.
This year he’s had the challenge of keeping his tulips cool so that they don’t come into bloom before the beginning of May.
““I like Malvern: it’s a nice all-round show and the people there are always friendly. There are people we see every year who come over and chat to us. Being a ‘Master Grower’ is an honour”, says Rob, who originally had been scheduled for the position in 2020.
Alongside offering plenty for gardeners, there’s much more to RHS Malvern Spring Festival, with appearances from culinary celebrities such as Raymond Blanc OBE, Valentine Warner and Sabrina Ghayour and a cornucopia of artisan vendors selling delicious food and drink.
RHS Malvern Spring Festival, held in association with My Pension Expert, celebrates its 35th show in 2022.