Floral fun at Malvern

Jonathan Moseley takes centre stage at Malvern Plant and Garden Fair

I was holding a hope for Malvern's autumn show going ahead this weekend, but sadly the current situation meant it wasn't to be. However the fab team at the Three Counties Showground came up trumps with their Plant and Garden Fair earlier this month instead. Lots of the nurseries I'd planned to visit were there... and plants were indeed purchased, but the highlight of the day were the talks which took centre stage.

I confess flower arranging hasn't really been my thing up to now - I'm more of a plonk and put sort of gal - but Georgie Newbery previously, and now Jonathan Moseley are helping me see there are possibilities in this line. As Jonathan explained in his talk, picking flowers encourages them to bloom more, thus dispelling the notion mine are better off in the garden instead of displayed in the vase.

Jonathan shared plenty of ideas for autumnal arrangements. Simple yet effective jam jar style posies were much in evidence albeit framed and hung on display, or encased in a frame for a table centrepiece. You can see Jonathan demonstrating the latter approach above along with the display hanging ideas he'd shown shortly before. I was particularly taken with his autumnal wreath and the idea that a cheerful door display isn't just for Christmas*. I'm about to go foraging for my own, smaller version; I think ivy and old man's beard plundered from the front garden with do for starters and I'll see what berries, hips and crab apples the blackbirds have left for me to grab from the side path.

A harvest door wreath

It was a great talk and day out and I'll leave you with the latest piece of ironwork I bought from my favourite stallholder, Tom Critchley. I always come home with something by him from Malvern.

Fern iron work looking gorgeous in the top terrace bed

* = anything to cheer us all up during these strange times is especially welcome


  1. Oh that must have been a grand day out VP! We had tickets and camper van booked in on a site in Hanley Swan but sadly had to pull out at the last moment. I think that I missed a treat which would have no doubt lifted my spirits. Your new piece of ironwork is fabulous. Fingers crossed for Malvern and May!

    1. What a shame you had to pull out Anna and I hope that everything is OK with you and himself. It was quite a different show to usual, but everyone was going round with huge smiles on their faces. I overheard one woman say 'This is the first time I've relaxed in months'. The huge showground meant everything was socially distanced with ease and the staff were their usual friendly selves. It was Carol Klein's birthday on the Saturday and Jonathan Moseley said she'd told him she couldn't think of a better present than being at Malvern :)

  2. Another idea from Jonathan is material doesn't have to be in pristine condition. Note the delightfully decayed large sunflowers on his wreath and in another arrangement he confided he loves to put large yellowing hosta leaves in his arrangements at this time of the year. He also said he does lots of torchlight searches to prevent slugs and snails from shredding the leaves. The leaves he showed us were hole free!

  3. A lovely comment from Sue here in Chippenham via my Blogger contact form:

    Hello Michelle
    Glad to see Jonathan on your page today. He has done some wonderful
    arrangements online during lockdown. However, I have mostly enjoyed seeing
    his wonderful cutting garden. Would love to be able to see it in real
    I wonder what plants you bought?

    1. Sue - it would be lovely to visit his garden in Derbyshire! I was quite restrained with the plants I bought - some 'Frilly Knickers' (of the anemone kind) from Rob Hardy and a couple of Heucheras from Sean at Heucheraholics. One of these will be my winter hanging basket by the front door, the other is going alongside 'Frilly Knickers', plus most of the other plants I bought recently at West Kington Nurseries.

  4. I also had a fab conversation with Fibrex about my planned project for the front side garden where I'll be clearing a lot of it ready for some architectural ferns. They were most helpful in distilling their catalogue down to those I should consider for planting out next year :)

  5. It’s always fun to play with design, I think!

    1. Okay is definitely the word here Lisa! And yes, fun. We need more fun in our gardening :)


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