6 reasons not to miss RHS Malvern Festival

Explore our top pick of features and highlights to see at the show in 2024

Houseplant stall Credit: Green Rooms Market

1. Festival of Houseplants

A huge terrarium filled with tropical plants hangs over the main entrance, setting the scene for this ultimate celebration of indoor gardens. Around the hall, stalls packed with beautiful and inspiring displays of plants are overlooked by suspended displays, spilling over with exotic foliage.  Every exhibitor has a fresh take on how to display your plants, from Tillandsia peeking from the nooks of a dead wood branch, to artisan hanging baskets, and sustainable pots.

So much more than a market, there is a packed talks timetable, as well as kokedama and terrarium workshops, so you can take home practical knowledge and advice to help you enjoy your beautiful new creations. With a growing popularity in urban gardening and indoor plants, there’ll be lots more houseplant content at RHS Shows this year, and the Festival of Houseplants at RHS Malvern Spring Festival 2024 is setting an incredibly high standard.

2. Glorious gardens

Concrete 2.0 by Ian McBain

This year’s alumni of eight Show gardens provide a wealth of take-home ideas from the meticulously detailed designs. Spot the themes and trends emerging from otherwise diverse creations, which take on themes of legacy, reflection and sustainability in a changing climate. Each element is carefully chosen, from the planting and the hard landscaping, to the choice of books placed on a garden table, or the clothes hung on a washing line, to create an overall narrative and a beautiful garden.

Grab a cocktail and a haybale and soak up the festival atmosphere on The Secret Escape Garden. This year, RHS Malvern has focused on one Feature Garden by last year’s RHS Best in Show winner Jamie Langlands. The Secret Escape is a relaxed, joyful treat, which epitomises the festival vibe at RHS Malvern. The garden is entered through a tunnel of densely packed foliage. The central relaxed lawn houses a ping pong table, a cocktail bar and is dotted with straw bales to sit on. The surrounding beds sway with plantings of Aquilegia, cow parsley and Euphorbia. All the plants were sourced within half an hour of the garden, and the hard landscape elements are from past show gardens, including the upturned boat, crowning the shack at the top of the garden.

Don’t forget to take a tour of RHS Malvern’s permanent gardens which have been given a show makeover and are looking their best.

3. Shop the show 

Visitors to the show shopping the plant stalls
The markets at RHS Malvern are a hidden cornucopia where you can buy pretty much anything your heart could desire. A vintage hat stand from the Antiques Arcade, perhaps? Or a handmade crochet scarf from The Guild of Craftsmen? Maybe an original print from The Boffy Arts Market or a silver necklace from the Arts, Crafts and Gifts hall? There’s so much on offer in the undercover marketplace, you almost want it to rain.

That’s not forgetting the many garden tools, furniture and nurseries all around the show ground and in the Floral Marquee. If you find you are getting weighed down with all your new purchases, there is a handy plant crèche – the team at RHS Malvern have thought of everything.

4. Look and learn

Martin Fish demonstrating

There are five main stages at the festival, each covering a different area of expertise. The Festival Theatre is hosted by RHS Malvern favourite James Alexander-Sinclair and sees stars of horticulture give talks, and participate in panels each day. Tips & Tricks Theatre is hosted by Leigh Johnstone (aka The Beardy Gardener) and is where you’ll find practical hands-on advice.

The Kitchen Garden Theatre is surrounded by beds of fruit and vegetables and houses a fully working kitchen for live demonstrations with host Mark Diacono,  celebrating plot to plate. The Potting Shed Theatre is once again hosted by Martin Fish, who brings his experience as a master plantsman to the stage dedicated to growers. New this year is the Festival of Houseplants talks stage with Green Rooms Market where a packed line-up of influencers and experts are ready to guide you through the world of indoor plants.

5. Foodie delights

Visitors relax while enjoying a sweet treat

RHS Malvern Spring Festival is a fully sensory experience. Along with the beauty of the gardens and the fragrance of the plants, the tastebuds get a treat too from the vast array of street food choices on offer around the show ground. Pre-bookable tables are available at the Bluebell Bistro or Malvern’s very own Garden Sheds and when you’ve had your fill, Boffy’s food market is filled with artisan food and drinks to take home.

6. Look up and take in the view

Rolling hills of Malvern
Whether you are strolling through the Show gardens, listening to a garden expert on a talks stage or taking a break from shopping with a delicious snack or refreshing drink, RHS Malvern has one more special offering for free, which you can’t get at any other show. The incomparable view of the Malvern Hills, which provide the backdrop to the Festival.

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The Royal Horticultural Society is the UK’s leading gardening charity. We aim to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.