‘Gardening for Change’ at Malvern Spring Festival 2024

Blooms are looming, the sun sets a little later and there is a nice spring in our step – flower show season is on the horizon. RHS Malvern Spring Festival will be returning on 9th-12th May 2024.

We’re thrilled to be returning to the Malvern Hills, at the Three Counties Showground once again.

At the Malvern Spring Festival we’re teaming up with Tythorne Garden Design and Ammil Garden Design to showcase our premium garden buildings, as well as our returning trade stand display.

Charlie Gwynne, Shows Executive of RHS Malvern Spring provides an insight about the festival:

RHS Malvern Spring Festival, is a four-day gardening extravaganza, featuring award-winning show gardens, thematic zones, and immersive demonstrations. With new features added every year, visitors can experience fresh sights and sounds as well as the return of some long-standing favourites. Visit the Floral Marquee with over 50 leading nurseries, gain valuable knowledge and inspiration from expert growers, as well as purchasing fresh blooms and plants to fill your space.

“Experience a star-studded line-up of influential figures, from BBC Gardeners’ World celebrities to expert growers and chefs sharing their gardening and culinary expertise in the Talks Theatres. 

“This year’s theme is ‘Gardening for Change’, celebrating evolution in the world of horticulture and embracing the positive impact this has on planting, people, and wellbeing.

“The 2024 Festival seeks to inspire a new wave of green-fingered individuals, equip visitors with knowledge of resilient gardening techniques, and celebrate gardening and community initiatives. New features will promote the growth of houseplants, incorporate interactive demonstration, thematic zones and immersive feature gardens as well as give insights into planting for the future.”

Introducing the two show gardens that will feature Malvern Garden Buildings…

Concrete 2.0

Meet Ian McBain

Ian McBain Tythorne Garden Design

Lead Garden Designer and Founder of Tythorne Garden Design, Ian McBain

Experienced and respected garden designer Ian McBain has been creating beautiful and practical gardens since 2004. Ian is a fully registered member of the Society of Garden Designers and the Association of Professional Landscapers. Concrete 2.0 is Ian’s first RHS show garden and will feature our Flat Roof Studio.

Ian’s business, Tythorne Garden Design, is an established garden and landscape design practice in the East Midlands. Providing professional fixed-price garden design, planting design and garden lighting design, they help their customers make the most of their outdoor space and create the garden they have always wanted.

About the Concrete 2.0 garden design

Ian shared his vision for his show garden with us…

“The Concrete 2.0 garden has been designed for a young professional couple with a keen interest in sustainability. Built around a wonderful garden studio by Malvern Garden Buildings, the garden will be used both for home-working and for downtime. Utilising a range of reclaimed and recycled materials, Concrete 2.0 will feature sustainable UK-produced cement-free concrete paving.”

Concrete 2.0 design illustration Ian McBain

Illustration of Concrete 2.0 design concept

“The design also seeks to promote the responsible use of water, but above all it urges us all to rethink our paving choices. All surface water will be returned directly to the ground and/or to the water features.

Mass carbon-heavy importation of porcelain and natural stone paving is not sustainable, and we must look at UK-produced options. Sustainable cement-free concrete products will undoubtedly be part of the solution, and this garden aims to show that they can be used in an attractive and practical manner.”

A clear message that Ian will showcase within his design is highlighting the need to specify reclaimed and recycled materials in our gardens.


Show preparation and planning

Malvern Spring Festival will be Ian’s first RHS show garden. With his debut soon approaching, he is enjoying the challenge:

“There is so much to do, and it feels like I am learning something new every single day, but I have been overwhelmed by how generous and supportive people have been. I am fortunate to be collaborating with some wonderful companies, artists and designers, and it has been a fantastic experience so far!”

As the days roll by, Ian has been preparing by sourcing reclaimed and recycled materials and finding the best plants – more than 60% of Concrete 2.0’s garden space is devoted to planting.

“Producing the bespoke sustainable concrete paving is also taking a lot of time, but we are collaborating with two amazing companies from Sheffield called Kelham Island Concrete and Zero Waste Works. Our friends at Red Rhino Crushers are also supporting the garden and are really helping by preparing some of the metal elements we will be using in the design.”


The Flat Roof Studio

As part of the Concrete 2.0 show garden, Malvern Garden Buildings’ Flat Roof Studio will be one of the main focal points of the design. Ian said, “The paving is purposely shaped to lead towards the studio, and the planting has been designed so that it will ‘ground’ the building and surround it with texture, colour and interest.”

The Flat Roof Studio integrates well into the rest of Ian’s show garden, he said: “I really like the clean and contemporary feel of the garden studio. It is an attractive, practical and comfortable space – perfect for the Concrete 2.0 garden.”

Grand Appeal Garden

Meet Suzy Dean & Isabel Devaney

Suzy Dean and Isabel Devaney photo for Garden Escape Photo

Ammil Garden Design Studio Isabel Devaney (left) and Suzy Dean (right)

Bristol-based garden designer and Co-Director of Ammil Garden Design Suzy Dean, along with Bristol garden designer Isabel Devaney, are designing the Grand Appeal Garden that features a Malvern Garden Buildings bespoke Woodland Lodge.

Suzy and Isabel both completed a diploma in Garden Design at the Bristol Garden Design School in 2022 and decided to start Ammil together, focusing on naturalistic and sustainably minded designs. Suzy balances her new career alongside her work as a Paediatric Intensive Care Consultant at the Bristol Royal Hospital for Children. She has chosen to design a show garden in aid of the hospital’s charity, The Grand Appeal. Suzy’s role at the hospital has given her the opportunity to work alongside the charity as a doctor, seeing the vital work they carry out. Now she wants to use her design skills to help them continue to support children with serious illnesses and their families.

We spoke to Suzy and Isabel about their design.

About the Grand Appeal garden design

Describing the concept of their Grand Appeal Garden, Isabel says: “The Grand Appeal Garden is a place for childlike exploration and adventure. A cabin nestled in woodland-inspired planting is an escape from the world for the whole family, bringing a sense of wild nature to this corner of a rural Somerset Garden. Established paths are coupled with clearings running through the planting, encouraging people to travel off the beaten path and see what they discover.

“Simple hard landscaping has been used in the garden, guiding visitors’ attention towards the shade-loving planting, with ferns and soft blue and white flowers creating a lush and calming space.”

The Grand Appeal charity provides places for families to stay when their child is in hospital. The garden design intends to reflect this, showcasing a space where families can be together.

Suzy says: “I kept this feeling of togetherness in mind when creating the garden, with the Woodland Lodge space particularly providing shelter when weather, and life, are storming outside. The garden is a calming space but with a focus on play and exploration, important elements of healing and return to normal family life.”

The Grand Appeal Garden Illustration

Illustration of the Grand Appeal Garden concept by @tommym00n

The Woodland Lodge

Malvern Garden Buildings’ Woodland Lodge is central to the concept of Ammil Garden Design’s show garden.

Suzy says: “The garden building helps to bring a family together surrounded by nature, whatever the season and whatever challenges they may be facing. It’s their safe haven. The barn-style cladding and shingle roof really complement the rustic woodland styling of the garden. The inside is cosy, while the veranda allows you to be immersed in the garden whatever the weather.”


A final note from Ammil Garden Design

Isabel says, “As this garden is about childlike exploration, we wanted to include plants that would be familiar to visitors and remind them of their first forays into the natural world. Forget-me-nots and hazel are beautiful native plants we come across early in life, and which can be overlooked as we focus on more exotic species.

“Volunteers helping to plant the garden will be a mix of those Suzy has met in her new career as a garden designer and those she works with at the hospital. It will be great to bring together two groups of nurturing people to create a beautiful garden in support of such a great cause.”

Suzy shared what she is most looking forward to about Malvern Spring Festival: “I look forward to seeing the garden I designed come to life and sharing my concept with visitors! It’s great to be able to seize the opportunity to meet other designers, industry experts and their new design ideas at Malvern Spring Festival too.”

Suzy Dean - Garden Designer and Co-Director of Ammil Garden Design Studio

The countdown begins for RHS Malvern Spring Festival 2024, tickets are available to book now.

If you are visiting, come and say hello to our friendly team on our trade stand. We cannot wait to meet you at our first RHS show of the season. Good luck to both Tythorne Garden Design and Ammil Garden Design with their show gardens – we’re looking forward to seeing your designs come to life!


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