Malvern Spring festival 2024 Graduate gardeners Gold Medal garden

Show Garden Highlights at RHS Malvern Spring Festival 2024

My show season photography started at RHS Malvern Spring Festival on the Three Counties Showground and what a blazing start it was this year, with hot sunshine in the 3 days that I was there and ideal conditions for photography.

I was instantly drawn to the Graduate Gardeners 'Cotswold Garden' designed by Mark Draper, celebrating their 50 years in business. They are based just up the road from me in Stroud and create stunning gardens that win major awards each year.

The garden really looked like it was nestled in the Cotswolds with such fine attention to detail and of course the use of the warm coloured Cotswold stone.

A gentle flowing rill utilising Cotswold stone ran around the edge of the garden bordered by Veronica 

Which led down to a meadow full of Silene flos-cuculi (Ragged Robin). The garden won a well deserved Gold Medal, Best Show Garden and Best Construction Awards.

Another garden which struck Gold was 'It Doesn't have to Cost The Earth Garden' designed by Michael Lote. With sustainability and being wildlife friendly at it's core, the garden had many take home ideas.

 A key plant in the garden was Iris 'Kent Pride' a flower I usually associate with Chelsea, but everything is much earlier this spring. The Irises were grown by Nadine Charlton who oversaw the garden making it to Malvern.

I really liked the wooden cable drum table on the 'Eat drink and be Rosemary' on the Laura Ashton-Phillips garden which won a Silver Medal. I'm all for salvaging and repurposing materials in gardens.


Concrete 2.0 winning a Silver-Gilt Medal for the designer Ian McBane also used sustainable and reclaimed materials including the paving made with cement-free concrete and recycled aggregates which were used in the gaps in the paving with planting of fragrant thyme.

The painted black reclaimed scaffold-board fence offset the Betula albosinensis Fascination really well.

The Perennial Laskett Garden designed by David Wyndham-Lewis won a Silver Gilt and the popular People's Choice Award.

There was lovely spring fresh planting with hosta's repeat planted around the garden.

I'm not a great fan of round show gardens as they are nigh on impossible to photograph them out of the showground context. The Macmillan Legacy Garden designed by Kerianne Fitzpatrick & TJ Kennedy which won a Silver Medal did have beautiful planting in it. I really liked the white section of planting with the Viburnum opulus Compactum, Tulip 'Purissima' and Aquilegia next to a gravel path and a circular rill.

Finally the Grand Appeal garden designed by Suzy Dean which won a Silver Medal did give me a bit of cabin envy, I could see myself happily sat in the rocking chair whiling away some time in deep contemplation after a long days photographing.

 I think the standard of show gardens was elevated this year and sustainability and style was definitely the theme in 2024. Next stop RHS Chelsea Flower Show, watch this space.

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