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RHS Malvern Spring Festival 2017

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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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Prepare to grow and eat at this major Midland event
There is something for everybody at the 2017 Royal Horticultural Society Malvern Spring Festival. The event, which runs from May 11 14 at the Three Counties Showground in the shadow of the Malvern Hills, offers a vibrant line-up of gardening, food and lifestyle.

Here are just some of the highlights on offer:

FLORAL MARQUEE

The show boasts the UK's longest floral marquee at over 195 metres the equivalent length of four Olympic swimming pools. There will be more than 65 leading UK and international nurseries setting the horticultural standards with impressive displays of prized blooms and new varieties. Visitors can browse and buy from the best.

RHS Malvern Spring Festival, Three Counties Showground, Gardening Show, Royal Horticultural Society, Cooking
Blooms: The floral marquee is the place for fantastic flowers


JOE SWIFT'S PLANT HUNTER PARLOUR

BBC Gardeners' World presenter and acclaimed garden expert, Joe Swift brings to life a new centrepiece of the floral marquee Joe's Plant Hunter Parlour. This immersive experience features daily talks from award-winning nurserymen and women and invites budding gardeners to discover, learn and indulge their inner plant hunter.

LIVE WELL

Newly introduced, this dedicated zone interprets and explores the theme of health and wellbeing in the 21st century.

JEKKA MCVICAR'S HEALTH & WELLBEING GARDEN

The centrepiece of the Live Well zone, British Queen of Herbs, Jekka McVicar, has designed and built a specially commissioned permanent garden, bringing to life the role gardens continue to play in our health and sense of wellbeing. The garden is both a tranquil seating space where visitors can spend time amongst the aromatic herb beds and a place to learn and explore what living well meant in yesteryear and what it means today. Visitors are invited to join daily 'herbal conversations' with Jekka and explore the world of alternative therapies. The garden is in support of Pathways, a service for adults with learning disabilities and difficulties.

SHOW GARDENS

Leading designers create awe-inspiring gardens as they compete for prestigious RHS accolades, including gold medals and the coveted Best In Show.

RHS Malvern Spring Festival, Three Counties Showground, Gardening Show, Royal Horticultural Society, Cooking
Design: Show gardens are a festival highlight


SPA GARDENS

A brand new show garden category introduced for the first time to the festival, offering a unique platform for emerging gardening talent. Gardens from up and coming designers bring to life the new vision and reflect the thirst for knowledge, new horizons and innovative technology at the heart of Malvern's Victorian heritage. Gold Medal-winning Chelsea garden designer Jo Thompson is mentoring the new talent as they embark on this new challenge. The Spa Gardens category also features one garden from an international designer supported by the Moscow Flower Show. This is part of a new exchange programme, which in return offers one selected British Spa Garden designer the once in a lifetime chance to showcase at Moscow Flower Show in July.

PLANT ARCADES

An open-air shopping experience with over 35 nurseries, each showcasing a wonderful array of plants.

RHS Malvern Spring Festival, Three Counties Showground, Gardening Show, Royal Horticultural Society, Cooking
Array: Colourful plants for sale in the plant arcade


GROW

A horticultural experience by Jon Wheatley, RHS Gold Medal-winning gardener and Chairman of RHS South West in Bloom, Grow takes inspiration from interactive country gardens and wildflower borders, showcasing a variety of edible beds and bountiful Grow To Show competitions.

FESTIVAL GREEN

The heart of the event, the Festival Green features a colourful array of pleasure gardens, a bandstand of live music, an impressive collection of classic cars, a feast of global flavours from the International Street Food Market, and plenty of places to picnic.

RHS Malvern Spring Festival, Three Counties Showground, Gardening Show, Royal Horticultural Society, Cooking
Tuneful: Live music at the bandstand


FOOD & DRINK PAVILION

A foodie hotspot, the Food & Drink Pavilion is a celebration of British tastes with offerings from the country's best-loved artisan producers.

KITCHEN GARDEN THEATRE

Hosted by Mark Diacono, the theatre showcases a line-up of cookery demonstrations from culinary experts and the country's top chefs. Mark shares advice from his home farm cookery school, Otter Farm, and experience as head gardener at River Cottage.

FESTIVAL THEATRE

Hosted by James Alexander-Sinclair, the Festival Theatre features a lively line-up of experts and familiar faces. Confirmed guests include Alan Titchmarsh, Carol Klein, Joe Swift, Jekka McVicar and Jon Wheatley.

RHS Malvern Spring Festival, Three Counties Showground, Gardening Show, Royal Horticultural Society, Cooking
Host: James Alexander-Sinclair


FAMILY DAY

Budding gardeners, big and small, are invited to get green fingered with a dedicated Family Day on Sunday May 14. This educational day will have plenty of hands-on activities and is the ideal opportunity to engage children in the fun of gardening and the great outdoors. Expect cookery demonstrations, make and take crafts and plant and grow workshops with BBC Blue Peter gardener Chris Collins.

SCHOOL GARDENS

RHS Malvern Spring Festival is one of the only RHS Shows in the UK to have a collection of show gardens designed and built entirely by young people. This year sees over 12 schools and educational groups from across the three counties taking part, led by BBC Blue Peter gardener Chris Collins.

Jane Furze, Head of RHS Malvern Spring Festival, says: "It really is going to be a sensational year for our leading event, with plenty for everyone. Whether you're a newcomer to gardening, a veteran horticulturist or simply looking for a family day out, RHS Malvern Spring Festival has it all."

RHS Malvern Spring Festival, Three Counties Showground, Gardening Show, Royal Horticultural Society, Cooking
Sensational: A family day out
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Why? Flowers, fruit, food and fresh produce
When: May 11 - 14, 2017
Phone: 01684 584 924
Where: Three Counties Showground, Malvern
Cost: From 18
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