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Seven stunning show gardens revealed for RHS Malvern Spring Festival 2020

Peter Dowle visual.jpg
6th February 2020

Details of seven stunning show gardens at the highly-anticipated RHS Malvern Spring Festival have today been revealed by organisers.

This year, talented designers have drawn their inspiration from a myriad of sources including France, using nature to escape the modern day world and the theatre of plants as they create gardens based around the festival’s theme of Wanderlust and Wonder.

The four-day festival, which runs from May 7 to 10 in association with boutique travel company Great Little Breaks at Three Counties Showground, Malvern, attracts over 100,000 people annually and is seen as the official start of Spring.

Show Garden designer favourites Peter Dowle and Villaggio Verde will return once more, as well as Gloucestershire-based Graduate Gardeners who are making a welcome return after last showing at the festival back in 2018.

Other returning faces include Lichfield designer Karen Tatlow who last year created the Habit of Living Diabetes UK Garden with Katherine Hathaway and Martyn Wilson who, in 2018, created the RAF 100 garden that is currently a permanent feature at the showground.
Making their RHS Malvern Spring Festival debut this year are Jane Scott Moncrieff and Sadie May Stowell.

Head of Shows, Diana Walton, said: “The show gardens are our most popular destination at the festival and this year we’re delighted not only to be welcoming back some of our show garden regulars, but also welcoming some new faces, too.

“With it being our 35th anniversary show, we know the designers are pulling out all the stops - from the initial plans we’ve seen our visitors are certainly in for a treat!”

Working With Nature, by Graduate Gardeners Ltd

Intended to create a tranquil space for those who work partly from home in the outdoor office, the Working With Nature garden features a simple colour palette, dappled shade and the sound of water whilst also providing habitats for wildlife. A natural spring being the inspiration to the area with natural looking outcrops, the design aims to show how we can work in and with nature, benefitting our natural environment and our own mental wellbeing. A naturalistic style is the general theme of the planting used, with ornamental plants alongside some native species. The planting is to be wildlife friendly, encouraging a wide range of species into the garden.

The Leaf Creative Garden, Wanderlust of Plants, by Peter Dowle

Exploring the theatre of plants, the Wanderlust of Plants garden is designed for entertaining and relaxing, with a place to explore and view a range of contrasting plants combined with rocks, water and viewing points in the form of recycled and customised shipping containers. Based on a foliage palette, the planting will use greens and purples with gold and silver accents. The colour will be minimal and muted, exploring whites, greens, soft yellows and pastels.

Taverna Cove, by Villaggio Verde

Celebrating its 10th consecutive RHS Malvern appearance, Villaggio Verde returns to the festival with a garden that features pine and olive trees which will surround the Mediterranean-inspired cove, with the structure of a family-owned secluded Greek Taverna, only accessible by sea or coastal path. The garden will also feature Cork oak and bottlebrush trees and bright coloured Geraniums giving an authentic Greek feeling.
Incorporating waste and litter which has been cleansed from the sea by British fishermen, the garden will be an active cove where water ebbs and flows. Small beaches around the cove leave evidence of fishing activities both from the past and present with small moored fishing boats in the waters and washed up lobster pots.

The Moments that Matter - St. Giles Hospice Garden, by Karen Tatlow

Designed to be a space for families to make pleasant memories of a hospice visit, the Moments that Matter St. Giles Hospice Garden will be a hub for community engagement, featuring raised beds making planting more accessible to wheelchair users and a multi-use space in the form of a clear patio shaded by a pergola. Set in the grounds of the hospice in Lichfield, the garden will have boundary hedging, timber and laser cut screening to create a sense of enclosure and shelter for those who visit, plus a water feature creating a relaxing water sound without there being a pond.

VE Day Celebration Garden, by Martyn Wilson

Celebrating the 75th anniversary of VE Day, the garden is a marriage of formal British and Dutch styles and is inspired not only by the Airborne Invasion of Arnhem and the bravery and sacrifice of the troops who parachuted, but also the people of the Netherlands. The garden will be a celebration of spring colour which will be a poignant reference to the HongerWinter where the Dutch people survived starvation by eating Tulip bulbs. Pleached trees and hedges will frame the garden. The colour scheme will include orange to represent the Netherlands, white for peace and clarets and blue hues to represent the Pegasus flag of the Parachute Regiment.

The Violette Szabó Memorial Garden, by Jane Scott Moncrieff

Echoing a WWII Normandy farmhouse and its surrounding, the Violette Szabó Memorial Garden is inspired by the efforts of the Special Operations Executives in the war and will be a lasting memorial for the grounds of the Secret Army Museum Beaulieu. With a feeling of rural dilapidation, the planting is abundant and structures are rickety to mirror gardens in 16th century France. The planting is designed to be pretty and feminine, celebrating Violette as a female agent. Spring flowering shrubs will create structure among the herbaceous perennials, with variety in texture and form.

A Garden of Contemplation, by Sadie May Stowell

The need for escapism and relaxation in a modern day garden is the inspiration for the Garden of Contemplation. Designed with no formal straight lines the curving shapes lead the visitor on a meandering journey. Including many native plant species in order to attract wildlife, the colour scheme will be mainy pinks, white, pale blue and dark purple. The species will be combined with some garden worthy cultivators to create an informal feel to the planting scheme for a relaxing and tranquil atmosphere.

Head to our Show Gardens page for more details about the designers, their gardens, contractors and sponsors.