Sunday, 15 May 2011

End of a fabulous weekend

build a simple wooden frame around recycled containers and you have a beautiful raised bed
What was remarkable this year was the number of exhibitors focusing on vegetables to grow in small spaces. For vegetables to feature at all at the Spring Show is unusual - there were additionally many examples of recycling; ideas that could be copied by any gardener.

grafted tomato plants and salads featured as part of the 'Five a Day Feast'
Equally fascinating was Suttons 'Five a Day Feast', demonstrating that all sorts of  containers can be used for growing vegetables and salads, be they retro or modern, conventional or whacky. It's the resulting produce that counts; and it was also a joy to see so many children working in the area that featured school gardens.

And so my self-imposed Blogathon ends; quite why I had this mad idea before coming to Malvern I cannot think. Four blogs, 16 posts and 32 photos (I think). It's been fun - had it not been for the CRASH of the blogger system - and I've just noticed that when it was restored, some of the photos upon which I had been working have been truncated. I must sort that.

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Gardening in the Round

a round raised bed with round table in the background
I visit many gardens, and they rarely nowadays seem to have round beds; we view them as through a proscenium arch, but taking the theatrical analogy one step further, how much easier it is to view them in the round. The plants, like actors, can be viewed from all sides, and all angles. So how interesting that at this year's Malvern Spring Gardening Show, so may gardens and exhibits were 'round'; and so cleverly thought out, you could prowl around them and from every angle, caught a glimpse of something new. 

round shapes abound in this garden - what joy to leap from giant stepping stone to the next one (they weren't stepping stones of course; I should have been more observant but was in camera mode today
We create our own personal theatre when we garden, think of backdrops and stage sets; sometimes our designs gel, on other occasions they seem out of place; do not merge into the further landscape. 'All the world's a stage', wrote Shakespeare centuries ago, and we in our own garden kingdoms or queendoms, make the world our own.

Blogger is returning to normal, seemingly, though with a new system for uploading photos, which I have had to learn whilst posting on all my four blogs today. Malvern on each one, and each with a different theme; so please clock on the links (left) to see what else I have discovered on my Malvern Trail today. I'm on track with my self-imposed Blogathon.

Thursday, 12 May 2011

All the world's a stage

Such a simple stage-setting, perfect for a gardening show; understated- yet so effective
How much of gardening is theatre? A dream: a stage upon which we paint with plants, colour, texture, architecture; a wish to escape, as in a play. That's for the onlookers. For those involved in 'the garden' as a profession - in whatever capacity - it is our life blood; be we nurserymen, designers, writers, photographers, film-makers or equipment suppliers (and a whole lot else). The 'Malvern Spring Gardening Show' brings all these aspects together like no other - for a start, it has the perfect theatrical setting: the backdrop and magic of the hills. We travel from far and wide, drawn to such events, whether starting our first mini-garden - not sure what to do or how to do it; or with a lifetime of experience behind us, in one capacity or another.

Today (the first day of the Show) was no exception. This and my other blogs will reveal over the coming few days the many aspects that intrigued me. But as my background so long ago was theatre, let me begin there: With four highly respected authors - each a practitioner in his or her own field; coming together to tell us about there most recent books; briefly talking to James Alexander-Sinclair were Neil Lucas, Noel Kingsbury and Jekka McVicar. Time was too short, we had barely reached Act One when the session ended (an open-plan stage, so no proscenium curtain, but the opportunity to buy books and talk to the authors). Or in my case to dash to Jekka's display of herbs.

Hot foot from theatre to Jekka's herb display
P.S. This post is part of my four-day 'Malvern Blogathon' - click on my other blogs to see what else intrigued me today ... I'm writing the posts at this very moment so bear with me, please.

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Blogathon - I must be crazy!

final preparation day: tomorrow will see the showground teeming; people come and go, but the hills are everlasting
Regular long-term readers of this blog will know of my love-affair with Malvern - not just the hills, but the Shows we attend: work and pleasure all rolled into one. We are here once more: this time it's the 'RHS Malvern Spring Gardening Show' and we've arrived a day early, are staying on-site; our caravan is parked within spitting distance (almost) of the Malverns, and right now we are drinking a glass of wine, a pizza is cooking, Raymond is reading an advance copy of the catalogue and I am thinking that four days is not sufficient to see all there is to see. And what will we buy this year? Last year it was an apple tree (and a whole lot else!)

in progress: stages of preparation - by tomorrow morning, this feast for the eyes will be immaculate - you should see the tomatoes!
So, I plan to blog every day of the Show - on all four of my blogs: quite a 'blogathon' in fact. That is if the showground WiFi is cooperative. Each blog post (there should be sixteen in all) will be different; my blogs all interact, so if you want to follow my 'Malvern Trail', please click from one blog to another.