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Show is putting Malvern on the gardening map

By Western Daily Press  |  Posted: May 09, 2014

  • Alex Denman, head of shows development, looks around the floral marquee at the RHS Malvern show at the Three Counties showground, while inset left, Joe swift talks to gardener Mark Draper PICTURES: MANDY BRADSHAW

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Princess Anne may be at the Three Counties showground today, but it was left to gardening royalty to launch the first event in the green-fingered calendar.

Monty Don and fellow Gardeners' World presenters Joe Swift and Carol Klein were filming on the opening day at Malvern for the popular BBC programme.

TV chefs James Martin and Rachel Allen are also adding some celebrity culinary flavour to the show which is becoming known as the provincial answer to Chelsea.

But the real star of the show was Gloucestershire designer Mark Draper who cultivated a horticultural hat -trick by winning Best in Show for the third time.

His show garden Bringing Nature Home notched up an RHS gold medal for Graduate Gardeners Ltd of Bisley, which also won in 2009 and 2010.

"It was fantastic to come in this morning and see the gold medal on the garden," he said.

"My aim was to win three golds but it was brilliant to get best in show again after a bit of a gap," he said.

Abbeymead Under 5s were also winners and their garden based on the Gloucestershire nursery rhyme Doctor Foster was highly commended in the schools category.

More than 90,000 visitors are expected at the show which is widely viewed as the start of the annual gardening calendar.

Today Princess Anne will officially open the renamed show which can now boast the official Royal title.

Judges awarded 40 RHS gold medals at the showground which nestles at the foot of the Malvern Hills.

The four-day event features show gardens, a floral marquee and question-and-answer sessions from Cheltenham designer Chris Beardshaw, as well asCarol Klein and James Alexander-Sinclair.

New this year are Get Going, Get Growing workshops with Blue Peter gardener Chris Collins, The One Show's Christine Walkden and Terry Walton from BBC Radio 2.

After a rainy start to the show on Thursday, organisers are hoping the weather improves over the weekend.

Show manager Doreen Smillie said: "We are delighted to finally be throwing open the gates to

RHS Malvern 2014 – this year's show is like no other.

"Hundreds of thousands of plants have been collated by the cream of the industry to create a mass selection of world-class floral and garden exhibits. We are thrilled to be once again putting Malvern on the gardening map."

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