Praise for RHS Malvern Spring Show after revamp

First published in News
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MALVERN'S new look national gardening show - with a name change in 2014 to RHS Malvern Spring Festival from the Spring Gardening Show is has been for the past 27 years - has received a big bouquet from both the paying public and exhibitors.

In an effort to broaden the appeal of the four day event on the Three Counties Showground, it introduced celebrity chefs like James Martin and a stunning £3m line-up of classic cars.

"The result has been a lot of positive feed-back from visitors, exhibitors and the Royal Horticultural Society," said Ken Nottage, chief executive of the Three Counties Agricultural Society, which organises the event in partnership with the RHS.

"The challenge is to increase the appeal of the show, while ensuring we do not in any way dilute its horticultural content.

"I realise when you try something new you will not please all of the people all of the time, but I think we have made a very positive first step and we will now assess the comments.

"My feeling is that the general opinion is while we have made change, it has been nice change."

One good pointer to the future was the record number of entries in the school gardens section, where 20 educational establishments, ranging from village primary schools, to private schools and high schools, all showed lots of hard work and imagination.

RHS head of shows development Alex Denman called the displays "an absolute treasure and some of the best schools gardens I have seen at any event anywhere".

Tudor Grange Academy of Worcester, in an exhibit particularly admired by the Princess Royal when she toured the showground on Friday, received a commended award for a garden on the theme of Andy Murray's Wimbledon win last year, and there was another commended for Stanley Road Primary of Worcester, which re-created Capt.

Scott's journey to the South Pole, and a similar award for the city's Nunnery Wood High with a display inspired by the New York Chinese Scholars Garden.

The footprint of every child in the school was included in Castlemorton CE primary school' s garden to commemorate the moon landings.

That received a highly commended award as did the efforts of Abberley Parochial VC primary school and The Elms School at Colwall.

But one of the most surprised exhibitors was first time garden designer Martyn Wilson of Hillery Road, Worcester, who won a £3,000 bursary to create an entry in the festival gardens section.

A former RAF senior aircraftsman, 42-years-old Mr Wilson is now a chartered town planner with Worcestershire County Council and had never designed a garden in his life before. Nevertheless his entry, dedicated to the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund, received a silver flora award from the RHS judges.

"I was absolutely stunned," said Mr Wilson. "But I was probably even more surprised when the Princess Royal stopped at the stand and said she couldn't believe it had been created by an amateur.

"That really made my day."

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