Saturday, May 08, 2010

Didn't we have a luvverly day, the day we went to Malvern...

Yes, I was there too...!

What an occasion. Herb-tasting shenanigans from the Three Men and Jekka, bloggers galore, and even Princess Anne joined in the fun.

Much chatting was done: a special mention must go to Frances and Gail, who made the heroic journey all the way from Tennessee just to get rained on yet were utterly delightful about it all and didn't moan a bit about their sudden transition from shorts-and-tshirts temperatures to something requiring thick jumpers (though being in close proximity to genuine, 24-carat royalty I hope made up for it a bit). Also the lovely Ewa who joined us from Poland (presumably quite at home climate-wise) and Yolanda Elizabet who turns out to be an irrepressibly effervescent Dutchish person. And very many thanks to the ever-fabulous VP, who organised it all, and Helen, who bravely opened her gorgeous garden and home to us so we could eat pizza and sit on her stairs.

Right, before this all starts getting unbearably luvvie I shall stop there, and talk about the show: which is why, of course, we were all there.

It was the first time I've ever been to Malvern: a revelation to see the change of plant palette from the high-summer iris, alliums and agapanthus of Chelsea and Hampton Court, to the spring aquilegia, geums and dicentra of Malvern. Medals were much in evidence, though just two golds - to the 'Recovery and Wellbeing Garden', from the Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust (a little heavy on the chicken house, in my view, but lots of robustly healthy veg) and the rather gorgeous 'The Youth of Old Age', from Graduate Gardeners Ltd., which also won best in show.

But medals shmedals: here are the ones you've all been waiting for.

The Constant Gardener Awards for Malvern 2010

Plant of the Show 2010: Rheum palmatum

with hostas and coppery young leaves of Cotinus 'Grace' in 'The Youth of Old Age' (gold, best in show)

and teamed with Dicentra spectabilis 'Alba': 'ReSource Garden' (Silver-Gilt)

Planting Scheme I'd Most Like to Take Home: The Inside Out Garden (Silver)

It's not just because it's got veg in it- honest. The elegant, sweeping curves were echoed on the other side in aquilegia, swelling box balls and lavender. Heavenly.

Most Original Use of Plants: ReSource Garden (Silver-Gilt)

That's single-stemmed Cercis canadensis 'Forest Pansy' used as punctuation to pale lilac iris and Cirsium rivulare 'Atropurpureum'

Best re-working of a tired theme: The sedum roof in 'As Time Goes By' (Silver)

No boring-but-eco-friendly tile-effect sedum matting here: these are individual sedum plug plants (plus a few houseleeks) chosen for their variations in foliage texture and planted lovingly into capillary matting on a small shed roof. There was a life and movement to the planting you never find on mass-produced sedum roofs - and it made me want to do it myself

Most covetable paving: The Woodland Edge Garden (Silver)

Well, OK, it's decking, but I loved that contrast between the sawn logs and the circular decking.

Wackiest paving idea of the year: 10 Green Bottles Might Just Build A Wall
(School garden)

Yes, those are cut-off lemonade bottles. So wierd it almost works.

Fence of the year: The Owl & The Pussycat (Silver)

Hand-woven by the designer and heart-breakingly beautiful.

Highly Commended: The Morgan Garden

The one redeeming feature in an otherwise lamentably blokey garden: an exquisite espaliered apple tree 'fence' in full blossom

Sculpture of the Year: The Owl from 'The Owl & The Pussycat' (Silver)

Isn't he gorgeous?

And finally.... Bonkers Idea of the Year: Hansel & Gretel Fairytale Garden (Silver-Gilt)

That is toast on that roof. Real toast.

I am told by Deb (who hobnobs with royalty: it is she meeting Princess Anne in the main picture) that the designer cooked the toast and nailed it to the roof, only to have a flock of crows descend on it moments later and strip the lot off again. He did not give up and go find some plastic toast: no, he went out and bought another load of bread, toasted it again, nailed it on and this time laquered it in place.

Bonkers, or what?


patientgardener said...

Hi - it was great to meet you. Rheum palmatum 'Saville' is on my must have list now too. Hated the Hansel & Gretel garden but loved the Owl & pussycat one.

Wild Somerset Child said...

I love your review - thanks for introducing me to exhibits I did not spot. It's interesting how we all focus on different aspects. I had my own favourites, of course.

Victoria said...

I now want Rheum palmatum 'Hadspen Crimson', which I saw on the Cotswold Garden Flowers stand. I've been thinking about it for ages, but seeing it at the show made me pluck up the courage to plant it.

Claire said...

Glad you got home safe, and sorry for dragging you off from the fun and pizza. I love the fact that everyone took very different photos of the day, makes me wish i'd been there for longer.

elizabethm said...

All sorts of things here that I didn't manage to spot myself. I knew I should have stayed another day!
Great to meet you too.

Christine B. said...

I like your awards categories much better than the boring old standards. I'm still laughing about "Best Reworking of a Tired Theme."

Christine in Alaska

The Constant Gardener said...

Thank you all :D

It was great meeting up with all you bloggers and putting faces to names: must do it again next year!

And it's been interesting for me too seeing things through other people's eyes: everyone always spots different things.

But I think there were several Rheums bought that day... that's one nobody could help but spot. What a plant!

HappyMouffetard said...

Brilliant post. How on earth did I miss the toast roof?

Gail said...

The Flower Marquee was a delightful sensory over load...If I could have managed to hide a few in my suitcase~sigh! Could I claim they were stowaways! So glad we got to meet and wish you all weren't so darned far away. gail

Yolanda Elizabet Heuzen said...

Good grief grrl, don't use long and difficult words like effervescent, remember that you are semi-illiterate and yours truly fully. It's a thing!

Fun was had at Malvern, at Helen's too although the temperature was slightly better at her place.

camillap said...

So sorry I missed out on Malvern, but thank you so much for your review. Feel like I've had a taster at least! Roll on Chelsea...

Carol said...

Sounds like you all had a fabulous time! I love the two fences... in Owl and Pussycat and Morgan Garden! Very creative and inspiring.

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