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Prize Winning Gardens @ 2014 Malvern Spring Festival

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by Andy Coleman (subscribe)
I'm a freelance writer living in Birmingham. I like Classic Rock, 70s pop music, football and interviewing celebrities. Follow me on Twitter: @andycoleman9
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Gold Medal Awards For Top Designers
A beach at the foot of the Malvern Hills has helped a Worcestershire company win gold at a major horticultural show.

The garden, En Su Casa en la Playa (At Home on the Beach), was designed and constructed by Martley-based Villaggio Verde for the 2014 Royal Horticultural Society Malvern Spring Festival.

malvern spring festival
Golden sands: En Su Casa en la Playa at Malvern Spring Festival

The depiction of a beachside retreat in the Balearic Islands, complete with a boat and paella hut, was awarded a gold medal by show judges.

Jason Hales, from Villaggio Verde, said it was the second gold medal in as many years for the company whose 2013 Malvern exhibit was Reposer Vos Roues (Rest Your Wheels), a garden based on the theme of a French rustic retreat.

The company supplies olive trees to customers around the world and designs its garden to showcase its plants.

malvern spring festival
Prize winners: Jason Hales (right) with colleague Jean-Yves

''The Malvern Hills are reminiscent of the north of Majorca, which is very mountainous, so we used them as a backdrop for the garden,'' said Jason. ''The houses on the Malverns suggest the white villas of Majorca.

''Because we are olive tree people our garden designs are always going to be based on Mediterranean themes.''

One other show garden was awarded gold at the Malvern Spring Festival – and it was also named Best In Show. Bringing Nature Home was designed by Mark Draper from Graduate Gardeners Ltd, based in Stroud, Gloucestershire.

malvern spring festival
Best In Show: Mark Draper in his Bringing Nature Home garden

He said Bringing Home Nature was inspired by the hedgerows around his Gloucestershire home.

''I started off with the idea of using wild flowers but I also wanted to give the garden a contemporary feel. The garden has wild flowers at the back, then, as you move forward, there are more cultivated plants to give a soft palette to contrast with the sharper lines.''

Four gardens at the show gained the second highest award, Silver-Gilt Flora.

Blush, designed by Pip Probert of Outer Spaces Design Ltd, is perfect for those who want somewhere to sit and relax. The colour scheme of pink, purple and brown has a soothing effect, with a seating area enclosed by walls of varying heights.

malvern spring festival
Rosy hue: Pip Probert's Blush garden

A Fruity Story is the idea of Richard Wanless from Twigs Gardens. It is also designed as an area for relaxing, with a barbecue and sunken patio reached by a winding path. The planting mixes ornamentals with edibles like soft fruit, salad crops and herbs.

malvern spring festival
Fruits of his labour: Richard Wanless and his A Fruity Story garden

There is more dining and entertaining in Shears & Chardonnay, designed by Jody and Tim Lidgard of Bespoke Outdoor Spaces. At its heart is an area for relaxing, a place to sit with a glass of vino. Around it are late spring flowering plants, trees and shrubs which provide shade and privacy.

malvern spring festival
Leafy haven: Shears & Chardonnay

The charity Parkinson's UK commissioned designer Ruth Gwynn to create The Living with Parkinson's Garden. It recreates the frustration a Parkinson's sufferer feels when they cannot do simple tasks quickly or easily. Steps of different heights and a hedge wall with hidden doors means the visitor must concentrate to travel safely through the garden.

malvern spring festival
Charity: The Living with Parkinson's Garden

Next year's Malvern Spring Festival is at the Three Counties Showground from May 7 – 10, 2015.
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Why? Top gardens at leading horticultural show
When: May 8 - 11, 2014
Phone: 01684 584900
Where: Three Counties Showground, Malvern
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