Malvern's Autumnal Magnificence

Last Friday I was lucky enough to get myself involved in the set up of our stand at the Malvern Autumn Show.

Although I had been of some assistance at the Spring show earlier in the year, this occasion was slightly different.

For the Spring show we arrived early on in the setting up process where most other nurseries were also hurriedly lugging boxes and crates from vans to stands and some were yet to turn up.
Exhibitors were given two days to prepare and titivate show stands where Yvonne and I utilised every single hour, minute and second, not leaving the tent until 8pm on one evening!

For the Autumn Show, we were a little more restricted with our time.
We arrived at Malvern at 10am with a two vans full of plant laden trolleys, pots, crates and ornaments. We rushed over to the remaining empty stand in the exhibition tent and set up camp in record timing. I was partnered with Lark to create an autumnal masterpiece full of foliage and warming tones and colour.

The plan was to stay focused and systematic if we were going to pull this off with any sort of flair and success.

Trolley surrounded stand with Lark taking stock of plants ready for labelling

Had we taken on more than we could chew?

Probably...

However the adrenaline rush stimulated by the challenge was enough to power us through and we worked through each section of the stand at an accelerated rate. Lark was on fire - unfortunately the same couldn't be said for myself.

My perfectionism took over.

I had to give myself a telling off on numerous occasions, shouting 'get over it'!

I needed to make it look as pretty as possible, rather than moving pots around by two inches, just so it looked a little more symmetrical to a companion plant.

I wish I had taken some more before and after photos but there was just no time to stop (apart from a crucial yet quick bacon sarnie and tea break).

After this short (and I emphasis the word short) break we carried on picking and arranging plants, then applying bundles of moss around unsightly pots and crates that we used to create undulating structure and height.

Creating height with numerous pots and crates.
The 'mossing' process is often painstaking, as you have to scrutinise every part of the display and contort yourself into all sorts of positions to fit into all the little spaces, just so the judges do not see any sign of a pot or gap.

Any gaps and pots would need to be covered in moss (note the green bags in bottom right)

After applying sackfuls of moss, it was necessary to check all the plants, trimming off any browning foliage or flower heads along the way. 

Once this had been completed, it was time to label every variety on the stand. This was where we became anxious - 45 minutes was left on the clock to cut card, write each variety name and stick these to canes to then position in place on the stand. 

You may think 45 minutes is plenty of time to get this done, but cutting, sticking and writing can take time, not to mention hunting down where you put the plants in the first place! 

At 2:50pm we were still running around placing labels and checking that we had loaded the stand with a truck full of moss!

With ten minutes to go we were frantic to tidy up and look presentable for the judges and we just about made it!


The finished product - plants, pots, moss and all!




Five hours may seem a long time to prepare a stand of this kind. However, you will be amazed as to how fast the time goes when you have to tick off so many tasks and criteria. It does soon fly by and before you know it, its time to pack up.



 
Feedback over the weekend clarified that the two best sellers of this years show was Rudbeckia (Sunbeckia) Sophia and Penstemon DarkTowers

We incorporated some lovely autumnal tones with the burgundy coloured Acer alongside numerous varieties of Heuchera and Tiarella

A new, stunning and highly interesting addition to the stand and to Hayloft, was the Senecio candicans (Angel Wings) - pictured bottom right.  

These plants have thick velvety leaves that feel indestructible. Their illuminating colour make this a truly stunning and unique feature and caused quite a stir of conversation over the weekend. 

Rudbeckia invigorated the stand with flecks of bright golden tones, whereas the Penstemon Dark Towers brought yet more autumnal tones and shades with the addition of height and structure.                                                                                 

                                                                       

Rudbeckia (Sunbeckia) Sophia 


Penstemon Dark Towers

Were you able to visit us at the show this year?

If so, did you buy anything off our stand?

I hope you are all looking forward to the weekend ahead! It really is beginning to feel a lot more like Autumn!

(becky@hayloftplants.co.uk)






















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