The Marwood Team being awarded at Hampton Court

Marwood Hill Gardens win big at Hampton Court

Joseph Bulmer

Marwood Hill Gardens are well renowned locally for their beautiful Gardens that includes four National Collections, and tasty tearooms.

This year they decided to take one of those National Collections, their Astilbes, all the way to Hampton Court Flower Show, and it is a good job they did, as they won. Twice! Their beautiful and colourful volcano of Astilbes was awarded not only a RHS Gold Medal, but also the Best Plant Heritage Exhibit by the judges.

Marwood Hill Gardens Collection of Astilbes started in 1990, and today is one of the largest collections anywhere in the world. With visits to Holland and Germany to seek out 'lost' cultivars, and developing contacts in Latvia and Russia, their collection has grown to over 200 different species and cultivars (and is still growing).

The RHS awarding Marwood their second award
The RHS awarding Marwood their second award

Malcolm Pharoah, Marwood’s retired head gardener (and still a full-time volunteer) oversaw the running and execution of the display at Hampton Court Flower Show which won. It is no small feat and has taken many months of hard work and preparation, with staff and volunteers alike involved with the set-up, planning and preparation, as well as the running of the plant stall during the show. It is only the second time in Marwood’s history that they have ever exhibited Astilbes at such a large and prestigious event.

Malcolm has tirelessly dedicated himself to the propagation, care and promotion of Astilbes and his commitment has certainly paid off – Malcolm was awarded the prestigious Plant Heritage Brickell Award in 2020. Malcolm will also be celebrating 50 years at Marwood later this year, and what a way to celebrate!

The Marwood display at Hampton Court
The Marwood display at Hampton Court

Astilbes flower from Mid-June until early September, but generally look at their best in July. They can grow in a range of soil types, and contrary to popular belief many Astilbes will fare well in drier and shadier conditions than first thought, so if you are interested in purchasing one, don’t despair there will be a suitable Astilbe for your garden!

For anyone interested in seeing the collection for themselves, can visit Marwood Hill Gardens Wednesday – Sunday, and their collection of Astilbes are also available both at the Garden or online.