Spent a fantastic couple of days at Malvern Autumn Show on a photography commission. I really like Malvern Shows as the showground has such a spectacular backdrop of the Malvern Hills behind.
A 5am start on both days to arrive at sunrise paid dividends as always. The early bird really does catch the worm!
I headed straight to the show gardens which were undercover, a bonus for the designers at this time of year, good for me in that the plants remained still, although the lighting was not that brilliant, especially on the Sunday. Amazing though to get down to 5 second exposures at 100 ISO and no movement in the plants.
I really liked Mark Walker`s “Somerset Pride” garden, though “The Old Kiln Yard” designed by Paul Taylor of Alchemy Gardens was also a favourite for me. Both gardens had that rustic retro feel which I am drawn to at the moment. The Cottage Herbery sponsored Pauls garden celebrating their 35th year of Organic production. My allotment and garden are also organic so was very drawn to this.
Having worked as a Travel photographer for 20+ years, a chance commission three years ago, by Rachel Corby to illustrate her book “The Medicine Garden” a guide to Herbs and their uses, sent me on this journey as a Gardens & Plants photographer.
All gardens featured a great selection of herbs, especially Pauls, the Malabar Spinach and Mitsuba Japanese Parsley were both really eye catching plants.
So few people have the time to make wonderful chutney`s and jams in their busy lives. I consider myself fortunate that I have an organic allotment which provides produce for my chutneys and killer picalilli, yes I also grow very hot chillies, a taste acquired from my years as a travel photographer.
Mark used reclaimed materials for his garden, something that has been put to good use on my own allotment.
My favourite part of the garden was the rusty old bike with an old metal bucket with mulched strawberry plants in, behind this an amazing harvest of different veg and actual wheatsheafs.
Paul Taylors “The Old Kiln Yard” was another garden using reclaimed materials, herbs and veg giving it a very rustic feel too.
There was a great mix of edible and medicinal plants in the garden all tightly packed to keep the weeds out. This garden did make me want to taste the plants as there was such a great variety. I couldn`t resist buying some packets of seeds from the Cottage Herbery, especially cannot wait to grow the seeds of the climbing Malabar Spinach and Mitsuba Japanese Parsley.
Pauls rill was really subtle but highly effective, the water passing through the planting into the rusted grate above, giving a pleasing sound and lovely flow.
Caroline Butler who was the winner of the Chris Beardshaw Mentoring Scholarship 2011 designed the Bradstone Vitality Garden. Her garden concept was based around the seed and the vitality they give to us, the start of it all. The planting was mixed and represented some of the plants used for herbal remedies as well as food. Unlike the other gardens all materials were new and for my taste the two walls were slightly dominant, though to be fair with weathering in the UK would be softened quickly. The seat laid into one of the walls was a great touch.
Caroline has a great artistic eye and is not afraid to try out new things, I really liked her use of lines and curves taking your eye through and around the garden.
The two curved walls worked well and showed the plants off against its darker stone.
The Malvern Autumn show for me is a celebration of all the hard work put in through the year and the fruits of our labour. Giant veg is not really my thing but there were some true giants to be seen.
Great displays of grown produce and Dahlia competition.
R.V Porter had an expansive display of Orchard fruit, gaining a Gold Medal. The display showed an amazing array of Heritage varieties of apples and pears.
The Dahlia competition showed them off to perfection. This one was my favourite as it reminded me of the last of the heat from the sun in Autumn before we all start turning inwards to be warmed by the heat from our fires.
Thanks to all at Malvern for their entheusiasm and passion for all things horticultural. Now for me a few days off to make use of this hot weather to get my garden and allotment into shape for winter.