Malvern Spring Gardening Show 2012
Hosted in the beautiful Worcestershire countryside, the Malvern Spring Gardening Show is one of the year's first big shows, kicking off the show season in a spectacular fashion.
Although not one of the official RHS garden shows, the Malvern Spring Gardening show is certainly not to be dismissed as a poor cousin. Located in the Three Counties Showground nestled at the foot of the Malvern hills, it is a stunning location to host a gardening show. This is definitely not a small, provincial gardening show, but a major national show and one of the first of the season leading up to the king of the garden shows a few weeks later; Chelsea.
The show features everything that you would expect to see at a typical RHS show including a massive RHS Floral Marquee with over 100 displays of plants from some of the UK's top nurseries.
The displays in the floral marquee are very impressive indeed, partly due no doubt to the fact that many nurseries will be exhibiting the same displays a couple of weeks later at the internationally renowned RHS Chelsea flower show. So, if you can't make it to the Chelsea flower show, then attending the Malvern garden show should give you a good taste of what you would expect to see in the floral marquee at Chelsea.
Although not attracting the same media coverage as the Chelsea flower show, this show is significant enough in the gardening show calendar to entice the BBC along. The BBC cover the show as part of their weekly "Gardeners' World" programme hosted by Monty Don. Monty also happens to live close by and therefore considers the Malvern gardening show as his "local" show. If you're lucky enough you may bump into Monty or one of his co-presenters during your visit to the show.
While the floral marquee at Malvern is very impressive, the Malvern show certainly isn't about the show gardens to the same extent as some of the other shows.
Like most garden shows, the Malvern show sports a selection of show gardens (eight this year) to inspire your gardening creativity. This year's best in show (A Place to Reflect) was a truly inspiring garden, but overall you're likely to be disappointed if you're expecting the same level as Chelsea.
In addition to the main show gardens, the show also featured 14 sustainable gardens designed by local school children from Worcestershire and the West Midlands. The children came up with some very inventive gardens and were proud to tell anyone who wandered past all about their inspirations.
Last year the Malvern Spring Gardening Show attracted over 85,000 visitors who spent on average £96 each. That's a pretty expensive day out for most people!
The show has a wide range of stalls selling every conceivable piece of gardening paraphernalia that you could imagine and a few more besides.
Utilising some of the show ground's static buildings (handy to shelter in should there be a sudden downpour) there is also a food hall, craft hall, flowering arrangement hall and a plant hall.
Other than the show gardens, which on the whole weren't as inspiring or as plentiful as the RHS shows of Chelsea, Hampton Court Palace and Tatton Park, the Malvern Spring Gardening show is an impressive event and one that should keep you enthralled all day. The floral marquee is probably worth the entrance fee alone. No matter what your gardening tastes are, or level of expertise, there's something for everyone at this show and well worth a visit.