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Wednesday, 1 October 2014

The hills were alive ...


Part of an amazing theatrical show garden - I just loved it
Grandma’s Eco Gardening Notes is the new home for most things ‘Malvern’; and this particular post was begun direct from the Autumn Show, sitting in the luxury of the Press Room, drinking coffee and contemplating the hills at the same time as sorting images and writing. And the weather - unusual for the Showground in the lee of the whaleback - was warm, still, and peaceably benign. 

Apples galore in the
Orchard Pavilion
The weekend for me was one of pure delight, reinforcing friendships whilst exchanging information with old acquaintances, and discovering new joys. I followed my usual pattern at any Show: check quickly right through the catalogue, mark up what I want to see and plan the most sensible route to avoid a continual and un-necessary criss-crossing. As was not here on my usual work assignments, I was able to please myself - the weekend was my own! 

Only one half of the theatrical Show Garden with stage - designed by
Caroline Tatham who runs The Cotswold Gardening School
I usually make a beeline for the show gardens, of which this Autumn there were only a few. The loveliest to my mind was actually the stage setting in the Good Life Pavilion and Theatre - ‘A Brave New World of Beauty’. So clever with its clear glass panels on which appeared wintery snow-encrusted seed heads and lacy plant material which contrasted with bright Autumnal plants in raised beds and feathery grasses. Through these swam the ethereal fish shown in my first photo. The background to the Pavilion ‘constituents’ was described in the preview blog post I wrote for the Showground on Ann’s Malvern Jotter:  on 12th September. By the time you read this, it will be too late to visit! 

Building an image library for a new venture that I am launching
The rest of my time was spent enjoying myself - building a new image library of photos taken entirely with an iPhone - a revelation in what can be achieved and actually perfect for the way my world is shaping (I have plans!) Hundreds of plant closeups, nostalgic shots of vintage ephemera and a mixture of the sort of eclectic photos that I can use in the mini zigzag books I now make and exhibit at various galleries. 

You cannot visit Malvern without buying plants
and as usual, I 
succumbed!
I went shopping: a new ‘must-have’ hydrangea, the flower heads of which are a strange shade of deep amethyst tinged with slate blue, bulbs of the perennial Babbington Leek for which I have been searching for years, and two small leather shoulder bags - price unbelievably inexpensive. One is to be used as a travelling art satchel - Moleskin sketch book and pre-cut pieces of watercolour paper, tiny scissors, a gluestick, mini-sized cosmetic bottle for water and my on-the-go paintbox. The second exactly similar bag was only bought because there was a ten-pound credit card minimum purchase. Ideal I thought for me to carry samples of the little zig-zag books I cannot stop making (the ones I am now invited to exhibit).

My 'postcard from Malvern' - created from some of the images I took at the Show
Actually even being there over the weekend was a personal milestone: a goal to which I have been working for many weeks as I recover from two ops for unexpected breast cancer - the second less than a fortnight ago. “I have to be fit for Malvern,” I told the surgeon. And fortunately I was; the sun shone and the hills were smiling - and I walked around with a great big grin on my face.

(More information: click this link to access the website for The Cotswold Gardening School. The Three Counties Showground website is also worth a visit for future shows.)