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Buckfast Abbey scoops two awards at RHS Malvern Spring Festival

Buckfast Abbey is celebrating national recognition for its gardens after it was awarded a silver medal and the People’s Choice Best Show Garden at the RHS Malvern Spring Festival last week, putting its gardens firmly on the horticultural map.

The festival, which is the first major UK horticultural show of the year, celebrates some of the most creative and inspiring gardens and designers. Designed by Maia Hall, garden team member and Head Gardener, Aaron Southgate, their first ever show garden commemorates Buckfast Abbey’s millennium in 2018.

The Buckfast Abbey Millennium Garden was carefully designed to recreate the sense of harmony and beauty experienced by those who visit, live and work at Buckfast Abbey and reflected the gardens location near woodland and the River Dart.

Aaron Southgate, commented, ‘We’re delighted to have won two awards at RHS Malvern. Following months of work, it has been great to be at the show and see the judge’s and visitors’ reactions to the garden we created. We wanted to create a piece of Buckfast Abbey’s gardens that we could take to Malvern, to emphasise the beauty and tranquility that can be found there. We used naturalistic planting, sculptural stumps and driftwood from the River Dart to help reflect the natural woodland environment. New life can be found in plants we may consider ‘dead’, our garden reflects this regeneration. I am passionate about the importance of sustainable gardening and mindful of the ecology of our surroundings; we try to minimise the environmental impact of our work. I very much hope that our achievement at our first RHS garden show will encourage others to care for their gardens and environment in this way’.

The focal point of the garden is a stag positioned at the heart of a tranquil scene, signifying the founding belief that the monks were originally drawn to Buckfast by a stag who led them to the river’s edge. Inspired by the monastery at Buckfast Abbey, the front of the garden has three gothic arches, providing a framework through which the garden is viewed. Between the arches are walls of rustic logs capped by sinuous deadwood branches, with a central oak window framing the stag and recreating Buckfast Abbey’s logo.

Maia Hall, added, ‘We wanted to create a garden that’s accessible to everyone and conveys the natural beauty we enjoy at Buckfast Abbey. It’s been great to have the support of the entire gardening department and the monks with this project. From those who have been at Malvern helping to build the garden and the team who have continued to ensure the Abbey gardens are as beautiful as ever during this time. It’s been a lot of hard work but we’re really proud of what we’ve achieved. The main focus of the gardens at Buckfast Abbey is that people enjoy the peace and tranquility, so to win People’s Choice Best Show Garden is fantastic. It will be great to see others enjoying the Millennium Garden when it returns to Buckfast Abbey’. Set against the backdrop of the picturesque Malvern Hills, the event’s signature Show Gardens are a must-see for visitors. The four-day event has a long-standing reputation as a platform for up and coming design talent.

Following the success at RHS Malvern Spring Festival, Abbot David Charlesworth has decided that the garden will be scaled up installed in Buckfast Abbey’s grounds in time for the millennium celebrations in 2018.

Further information on Buckfast Abbey’s gardens can be found here

Find out more about Buckfast Abbey - click here!

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