Magical Malvern

All wasn't magical at first on Friday as heavy weather over the Cotswolds saw us (SUP and I) battling through gusty winds, snow, hail and a dramatic sight of Mammatus clouds - this link will take you to some pictures of what we saw and this one explains what they are - as we headed out of the storm towards Malvern, bathed in sunshine at last. I worried if similar weather had wreaked havoc with Lola, the main focus of Deb's show garden, but as you can see she was calm and serene on our arrival. Later on, gusty winds managed to lift some metal fencing bodily and dump it on nearby cars just a few yards away, but her lovely feathers remained unruffled. Well done Deb, your silver was very well deserved.

I met up with Helen (Patient Gardener) and Anna from Green Tapestry at the Design For Living Theatre where James was holding court with Terry Walton, who was much taller than I imagined from the radio. I asked a question about leek moth on our allotments, which elicited a sympathetic sigh from the audience: as I suspected I'll have to grow mine under fleece this year.

After that, things got strangely surreal as the next item was a fashion show. These were peppered liberally in the schedule as the show garden theme for Malvern this year was Handbags and Gladrags which was also used by local students to make costumes inspired by the garden designs. James was joined on stage by Sabrina Duncan International whose opening line was an extremely camp cry of I know nothing about gardening, but I dooooo know all about fashion! At this point I was giggling hysterically - do have a look at Arabella's post to see why.

Luckily I was outside at the time and I was able to regain composure by having a long chat with Claire by her show garden which was entered for the Chris Beardshaw Mentorship. Sadly she didn't win, but I loved her Dancing With The Trees entry. Wisely she had framed her garden with willow, which did a lot to filter the extremely gusty winds which had flattened some of the plants in other gardens. The planting was lovely and floaty and topped with chestnut poles inscribed with a poem by Yeats. I must have a go at making some more willow weaving for my garden this year, inspired by this garden.

After that we had a quick whizz around the outdoor stands and the massive floral marquee. Helen tried very hard to get me to buy something, but alas what was on offer didn't match my wants list that well (Echinacea, Papaver and Thalictrum), so for once I didn't open my purse, though exquisite stands like this one from Avon Bulbs very nearly got me to do so. In spite of that and having to dodge a couple of showers, it was a magical day. Malvern has a great feel to it: so relaxed and friendly, plus the standard and number of show gardens has increased terrifically since my last visit a couple of years ago. Meeting Anna for the first time, catching up with Helen again, a couple of chats with James, plus a chance meeting with Terry Walton when I visited the Gardeners Click stand (who treat their members very well when they turn up BTW and Terry is charming) nicely rounded off a delightful day.

Next year, Helen and I are contemplating having a bloggers get together on one of the show days. We're thinking along the lines of having plenty of time to go around the show on your own or in small groups, but with a couple of opportunities to have a much bigger meet up for coffee and possibly a meal out together afterwards. So if you're interested, mark 6-9th May 2010 in your diaries now :)


  1. Good post - off to see Arabella post now to see what she made of James' encounter with the drag queen!!!

  2. Lovely photos - you got a much better picture of Deb's Lola than I managed. Would love to meet up with you next year!

  3. Ooh, yes, I'd love to come next year. Brilliant post.

  4. Enjoyed your post VP - did not realise how adventurous a journey you had to get there - those clouds are amazing. Have put in my diary as a must for next year :)

  5. Thanks for calling by, VP, it was great to see you again.

    What I need to find out is why everyone else's photos of Lola look so much better than mine!!

    Hidcote, soon. Must sort.

  6. Great post VP - I shall definitely think about it for next year - although you know how I hate to leave Wales!! ;) But is would be such fun to meet up with everyone.

  7. Hi VP, Thanks for the sponsorship -it means I can't get out of it now!!! I'm up for a Malvern meeting next year. Mel & I intend going on the first day as we discovered all the choice plants had gone by Saturday. Perhaps we should have a bloggers ice cream van all week? F x

  8. PG - thanks. I think Arabella summed up our surreal moments very well ;)

    HM - why thank you - it's only a cheap point and shoot! I'm looking forward to next year alreay :)

    Victoria - oooooh dooooo come to Malvern, it'll be fun. See you next week!

    Anna - yes the journey felt very apocolyptic at times, especially as the last time I saw those kind of clouds we had a tornado in Chippenham and my friend S thought she saw a funnel cloud in that cloud too!

    Deb - looking forward to Hidcote :) I think your photos are fine and none of us thought to take one of Lola's back.

    Karen - I'll get Helen to persuade you to come when you meet up with her. Good luck with your craft fair next weekend and I'm hoping to persuade NAH that we need to come over to Wales soon so I can come and see you too :)

    Frankie - it was the least I could do and I thought it might provide some motivation. I see you managed to buy plenty in spite of a lot of them having gone by Saturday ;)

  9. I thought of you when watching the Malvern Special on GW, and looked out for you! I'd love to get to visit someday? I liked the idea of fashion and the garden coming together, and had a giggle at Joe Swift in his astroturf suit. I do wish the drag queen hadn't been edited out of the programme though! x

  10. LOL! I can't believe you didn't buy any plants! I'm still wondering what on earth to do with my impulse buys. I had to make three trips back to the car although the last one was with some heavy obelisk type things.

  11. Hi VP,

    Great to meet you on the gardenersclick stand and thanks for your kind words.

    Terry certainly isn't a small chap and is such a lovely bloke.


  12. TIMP - they filmed the day before, so sadly I wasn't a TV star this time. Maybe next week at Chelsea. Do come next year if you can, I think you'd love it.

    Arabella - I bought heavy obelisk thingies at my first Malvern too. With 3 of us in the car it took quite a bit of juggling to get them in so we could get them home!

    Drew - good to meet you on Friday and judging by all your bits and pieces over at Gardeners Click, it looks like you enjoyed yourself!

  13. Looks and sounds like you had a fab day. Soooo sorry that I didn't make it. Did the right thing, pricked out and potted on, wnet out for lunch with future daughter in law before driving her(to save parking) to pick up the keys to their new house. Sunday, when I maight have gone (sorry ai've gone fraightfully posh) was spent sorting out Chelsea plants and watering!

    Count me in for next year though - I'll make sure I'm more organised, or perhaps working less?

    See you next week. Yippee!

  14. Maggi - sounds like you had a good old potter which is always good for the soul.

    I got my Chelsea programme yesterday (I'm sooooo excited!) and the first thing I did was mark your son's stand on the map!

    Now to rootle out your mobile phone number..

  15. Maggi - sounds like you had a good old potter which is always good for the soul.

    I got my Chelsea programme yesterday (I'm sooooo excited!) and the first thing I did was mark your son's stand on the map!

    Now to rootle out your mobile phone number..


Post a Comment

I love hearing from you and welcome thoughtful conversations :)

Comments aiming to link back and give credence to commercial websites will be composted!

Your essential reads

Review: Riverford Recipe Box with guest chef Sarah Raven

How not to look after your Pilea peperomioides

Garden Bloggers' Blooms Day: 'Just Add Cream'

How to make a show judge's life harder

Salad Days: Mastering Lettuce

Dessert Apple Jelly: Seasonal Recipe

Review: Stihl Compact Cordless Blower BGA 56

Postcard from Texas

Snow Time