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RHS Malvern Spring Festival 2024 to showcase the life-changing, planet-saving and community-building impacts of gardening

The power of gardening to change lives, transform communities, combat the effects of climate change and make the world even more beautiful is all being celebrated at this year’s RHS Malvern Spring Festival, which takes place between 9 – 12 May 2024 at Three Counties Showground, Malvern.

The trail-blazing event (held in association with My Pension Expert) will be embracing the new wave of passionate people spreading the word about the joys of sowing and growing, as well as welcoming back well-loved TV gardening personalities, such as Alan Titchmarsh MBE, Adam Frost and Frances Tophill, to share their horticultural expertise.

This year’s festival theme is ‘Gardening for Change’ and there will be barrow-loads of advice on techniques to increase garden resilience, such as improving soil, saving rainwater and planting for especially wet or dry conditions, and plenty of cost-saving tips and techniques for visitors to try.

The growth in green indoor spaces will be celebrated with a new, dedicated Festival of Houseplants, held in association with Green Rooms Market and attended by specialist traders and experts, including many well-known faces from social media, all of whom hope to provide inspiration and answer questions.

There will be giant terrariums, each standing at more than four metres tall, providing botanical snap shots of different plantscapes from around the world. Jacob James from Grow Tropical will be filling one with rare tropical houseplants, while Hayley Stephens from Mint Plants will be showcasing cacti and succulents and Sarah Gerrard-Jones, also known as ‘The Plant Rescuer’ and Earth Champion Adam Critien will be creating a botanical paradise complete with a water feature. Daily workshops on terrarium planting and care are set to be delivered by Ben Newell of Worcester Terrariums.

The Bearded Plantaholic, Jonny Balchandani, will be showing visitors how to increase their houseplant collections for free to create their own versions of his celebrated indoor jungle, with plenty of tips and tricks for successful propagating.

Experts on hand to answer houseplant health-related questions and provide advice on good care practices to boost vitality include The Plant Rescuer, Sarah Gerrard-Jones. Thursday and Saturday will even see a dedicated question time in partnership with Green Rooms Market on the Festival Theatre, with panellists Sarah Gerrard-Jones, Jonny Balchandani, Ellen Mary and Joe Bagley, aka The Houseplant Doctor, ready to take audience questions.

With sustainable and regenerative gardening increasingly at the forefront of people’s minds, visitors looking to boost their outdoor spaces will find a large collection of nurseries in the Floral Marquee, many of which are now embracing, or well on their way to achieving, peat-free growing. These include Celtic Wildflowers, who will be bringing an array of locally-sourced native plants, shrubs and trees and providing advice on boosting numbers of pollinators.

Two pot-swapping stations, located next to the Floral Marquee’s Plant Crèche and within the Plant Village, will offer shoppers the opportunity to exchange plastic containers for plantable POSIpot transportation sleeves, which can be planted straight into the ground. All the plastic pots collected during the festival will be recycled after the long weekend.

With both the cost of living and the sheer joy of growing plants for free in mind, nurseries such as Proctor’s will be bringing along medium to large-sized herbaceous perennials that can be easily divided and shared, such as achillea, leucanthemum and nepeta.  There will be an array of herbs that root well in water, such as mint and oregano, with the Kitchen Garden Plant Centre offering a big selection. Meanwhile seed seller Stocks & Green, located on Avenue D, will have lots of vibrant annuals that promise to fill visitors’ gardens with colour this summer.

To learn more about techniques to get the most from gardens, don’t miss the wide range of creative talks and demonstrations at the Tips & Tricks Theatre throughout the four days of the festival. The Beardy Gardener, Leigh Johnstone will be hosting experts such as former Blue Peter gardener Chris Collins, who will be presenting ‘Small Space, Big Ideas’ on Thursday, The Cloud Gardener Jason Williams with ‘Small Space Container Gardening’ on Friday, Ellen Mary talking about ‘Endless Possibilities: Things You Can Do with Plants’ on Saturday and Adam Kirtland with ‘Garden DIY Made Easy’ on Sunday.

Kate Dufton, RHS Malvern Spring Festival Show Lead at Three Counties Showground, commented: “This year’s theme is ‘Gardening for Change’, celebrating the ongoing evolution in the world of horticulture and embracing the positive impact this is having on the mental wellbeing of people, communities and the planet.

“Our 2024 Festival seeks to inspire a new wave of green-fingered individuals, equip visitors with a greater knowledge of resilient gardening techniques and generally celebrate gardening and community initiatives across the UK.

We’ll have houseplants, an immersive feature garden, inspiring show gardens, many interactive demonstrations and plenty of insights into planting for the future. We’re hoping to do everything we can to spread the message about the benefits to wellbeing that gardening brings and show its vital role in fostering positive change in our lives and the world.”

Tickets for the RHS Malvern Spring Festival 2024 start from just £15 for a new ‘Taster Ticket’ (with under 16s free of charge) and can be bought here

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