Morning all. Another lovely sunny day here in the west!
So, Malvern Spring Show. I've never been to a big gardening show before and it met my expectations in most regards, but differed in others.
First thing to mention is that I was very pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to get in and out. I was expecting queues on what are, after all, fairly small roads but there were none either in or out. (We arrived at 10am and left around 4:30pm). Masses of very well organised parking, which is good as the show was packed.
Admission price was £17 each (we had been given tickets by a stallholder). This is a lot, but overall I'd say is about right. There is no additional parking charge. Thursday price was £34. Not sure why, but someone else will explain I'm sure. I think if I was to go again I'd go on the Friday as it would be less busy.
Good points: You can buy just about anything at the show. Lots of plants, equipment, buildings, everything you can possibly imagine really. Lot of very knowledgable people too, but as it was so busy they did not always have time to chat. If you are considering a major purchase (a greenhouse, or garden furniture for example) then it is great to be able to see lots of different alternatives at the same venue. There are also some very keen deals to be had. This also applies to smaller items from plants to tools to clothing to jewelery (although quite what that has to do with gardening, lol)
My favourite bit of the day was the half hour we spent in the BBC/RHS show marquee where James Alexander-Sinclair chatted to Carol Klein and Joe Swift. Just brilliant. I have to say I am a massive fan of JAS - I think he is the next really big star in the gardening sphere. Carol was really funny and much less manic than she sometimes appears on TV. Seemed like a really lovely person. And Joe Swift was exactly like he is on telly - sort of guy you'd like to go for a pint with after a day in the garden.
Catering - very very expensive and mediocre quality.
Crowds - just couldn't move sometimes.
Show gardens - these were really good, but there weren't many of them. The ones shown on GW on Friday were about it. As I say I've never been before, but I thought there'd be lots more show gardens, so a little disappointing there.
- Go on Friday and avoid the crowds.
- Take bottled water and a picnic.
- Wear hiking boots - it was lovely yesterday but had obviously been wet and muddy the day before. You also do a LOT of walking.
- Take lots and lots of money!! I was incredibly restrained but could easily have spent a fortune as there were so many lovely plants and useful pieces of kit!
- Make sure you catch at least one of the panel discussions/interviews.