Queen of Herbs creates permanent garden at RHS Malvern

UK Queen of Herbs, Jekka McVicar, will unveil the first ever specially commissioned permanent garden at the 2017 RHS Malvern Spring Festival when it opens on Thursday 11th May.

Jekka, is the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Ambassador for Health through Horticulture and is delighted to have been asked to create a lasting garden at RHS Malvern Spring Festival.

The garden will form a centerpiece in the all-new Live Well zone and will bring to life the contribution horticulture continues to make to our health and wellbeing in today’s bustling modern world.

Jekka (pictured left) explains that she wants the Health & Wellbeing Garden to be a usable and beautiful space that is embraced by people of all ages – a space for growth, education and reflection: “With the Malvern Hills as a dramatic backdrop,” she says: “RHS Malvern Spring Festival is such a beautiful place and because its at the start of the summer, its always a time of such optimism. It is a real privilege to bring this garden to life as part of such a dynamic and exciting show.”

The Health & Wellbeing garden is inspired by the increasing need for reflection and escape from the stresses of modern life. It also seeks to reserve and share the vital knowledge of how horticulture and its associated therapies can help the mind, body and soul. The garden will be a living, working space with a tranquil seating area, where visitors can immerse themselves among the aromatic herb beds and also educate themselves on the place herbs and horticulture play in today’s society and our lives.

Throughout the four days of the Spring Festival, Jekka will host daily ‘herb conversations’ in the garden, unearthing hidden gems from the world of alternative therapies, food and gardening. Jekka will also provide insights into herbs as the foundation of modern medicine, seeking to preserve the knowledge that over time is in danger of being lost.

The garden is in support of Pathways, a work-focused day service for adults with learning disabilities and difficulties. Pathways use gardening and the environment as an educational tool to introduce young adults to the world of work. Clients of Pathways benefit from gaining vital skills that include communication, interaction with peers and taking direction and responsibility for themselves and others.

Jekka’s garden will leave a legacy that will provide Pathways with a nurturing space to continue their works in encouraging clients to grow. Outside of show days, Pathways and local schools will host sessions in the garden.

The garden aims to inspire visitors of all ages and abilities with engaging elements tailored for all. The garden will incorporate the unique and flexible WoodBlocX system, specially selected to provide permanent raised bed structures to house the garden’s vast planted sections. WoodBlockX use sustainable, long-lasting organic and FSC accredited wooden bricks, which can be used to create any shape such as the naturally fluid curves seen in Jekka’s design.

Jekka is a renowned enterprising British herb grower, organic gardening expert, author and broadcaster. Jekka’s Herb Farm in nearby South Gloucestershire, boasts the largest collection of culinary herbs in the UK with more than 500 different varieties. Among Jekka’s accolades are 62 RHS Gold Medals, a Garden Media Guild Lifetime Achievement Award and the RHS Lawrence Medal for the best exhibit shown at any RHS Show in 2009. She is also Vice-President of the RHS and a founder member of the RHS Herb advisory group. She has exhibited at the RHS Malvern Spring Festival since 1991 and has been a vital contributor to the team at Three Counties for over a decade.

Jane Furze, head of RHS Malvern Spring Festival, said: “It is a real pleasure to be working with Jekka to build a garden not only for this year’s event, but also for the future. Jekka’s designs look spectacular and we cannot wait to see these brought to life and shared with our many visitors. The Health & Wellbeing Garden will no doubt be a real highlight of RHS Malvern Spring Festival 2017 and for many years to come.

RHS Malvern Spring Festival 2017 takes place from Thursday 11th May until Sunday 14th May. Tickets are now on sale. For more information log onto: www.rhsmalvern.co.uk


All photographs ©RHS Malvern