Harrogate Spring Show - 2018
Once again I have had the pleasure of visiting the Harrogate Spring Show something I try to do every year.
This show is the earliest of the major horticultural shows, and geographically it is the nearest one to where I live in West Yorkshire, so I always see it as the herald to another growing season.
Normally I go with the wife and we meet up with friends from South Yorkshire but sadly due to health reasons they could not attend this year, so my wife decided because of this she did not want to go either meaning;I went on my own.
Sadly the weather left a bit to be desired what with the grey skies and the frequent heavy showers but no matter! the show must go on as they say!
Luckily 75% to 80% of this show is under cover so I planned my day to visit the covered events during wet spells, and the outdoor events during the dry spells, but not surprisingly most of the other visitors did the same, meaning some of the indoor events were often rather overcrowded.
As I have mentioned in previous 'blogs' the show ground has been undergoing various re-development over the last couple of years and was so far as I could see, it seemed that the outdoor works were pretty much complete.
However the events undercover had changed quite a bit, for example the 'Floral Art' was twice the size it usually is and the 'Daffodil Show' was much smaller and was tucked away in another marquee.
Now I am not sure if this was planned in the wider scheme of things or if it was due to the organisers being aware that due to an abnormal growing season this year,causing such things as; Daffodils might be in short supply so perhaps they made some quick changes. i.e. increasing the size of the 'Floral Art' entries to cater for the reduction in 'Daffodil' entries.
The effect these changes had on the show meant that the 'Floral Art' section was much larger than usual, and the other parts of the show were pretty much the size they usually are, apart from the Daffodil show, I thought I would do two blogs, that is; One for the 'Show in general', and one for the 'Floral Art' on its own.
The Show in General
Shortly after my arrival the rain had stopped so I thought Iwould take advantage of this and make my first port of call "The Spring Show Gardens" .
There were ten gardens to see and these were judged in various categories which were; Five Spring Show Gardens -Professional. Two Community Spirit Gardens, and Three Designed to Last Gardens .
Click on pictures to enlarge
SG 1 - Tranquil Yorkshire
This garden was designed by the Askham Brian College York.
It depicts A miniature oasis of tranquillity with a Yorkshire Rose paved focal point and many locally hand-crafted features
SG 3 - The Garden of Translucence
Designer - Colour Your Garden, Thirsk.
A reminder that urban architecture can be light and translucent, featuring mesh columns, clipped cube and multi-stem evergreen planting, plus bubbling water.
n.b. Because of its 'Translucense' this was rather a difficult garden to photograph!
Awarded: PREMIER GOLD and BEST IN SHOW
SG 5 - A New Zealand Story
Designer - Hadean-Creation Skipton
An abstract design to commemorate New Zealand's role in World War One, with poetry and Mao tribal words to highlight the message.
Awarded: SILVER GILT
SG 6 - Mills to Moors
Designer – Kirklees Council, West Yorkshire
This garden takes visitors on a journey from West Yorkshire's mill towns into the beautiful and dramatic landscape of the surrounding countryside
Awarded: SILVER GILT
SG 7 - Eden
Designer - Yorkshire Garden Designs, Green Hammerton
Inspired by the Garden of Eden, this design aims to create a perfectly balanced eco-system capable of meeting our need for both beauty and bounty
The garden will find a permanent home at Henshaw's Arts and Crafts Centre in Knaresborough after the show
SG 2 Garden of Life
Designer - St Michaels Hospice Harrogate
A haven of care comfort and support.
It features a Tree of Life sculpture where visitors can dedicate a personalised leaf remembering a loved one.
SG 4 All Characters Great and Small
Designer - Horticap Ltd Harrogate.
Take your seats for some fun garden theatre set with a number of iconic Yorkshire landmarks and well known characters from across the region
Designed to Last
Using three real-life problem gardens in Yorkshire, landscape designer Nick Fryer demonstrated show garden solutions for difficult growing conditions.
SG 8 Clay like Concrete
A 50/50 approach has been used to introduce raised beds offering the possibility of including plants that are not naturally suited to clay.
Floating paved areas in the other half of the plot will help continues use of the garden when it is wet.
SG 9 Dark and Boggy
This garden follows the adage ‘if you can’t beat them, join them!’
A very naturalistic approach has been taken with stone uprights to form a three-in-one retaining wall, seating area and steps to reach the bank.
SG 10 Dry and Exposed
The brief was for a very low maintenance seafront garden in Filey that was capable of withstanding the ferocious North Sea winds experinced there.
Nick was inspired by Derek Jarman’s coastal garden in Kent,which combines pebbles, salvaged monoliths and decorative items washed up on the beach. The backdrop pays homage to Jarman’s famous beach hut and the planting reflects the need for low maintenance and tolerance to salty air and strong winds.
Community groups across the region were invited to share their secrets with visitors to the show.
Each 'Secret Shed' would be sited on a 2m x 2m plot, and would contain a display or message to highlight the work carried out by the group/s.
However the unique display and story would nor be revealed until the visitors open the shed door!
Please accept my apologies for failing to note the information on the placards, had I done so this would have explained the story portrayed by each of these groups.
This inspirational feature was a topsy turvy representation of a series of spectacular new rooms where plants and flowers take over the living space.
Its purpose was to connect outdoors and indoors by asking the question - "what would happen if nature took over the rooms and we had a home that was truly at one with nature?"
This huge floral installation was created by teams of florists from across the region.
The Lounge & Kitchen Area
As mentioned above the Daffodil show was much smaller than in it has been in recent years but that is not to say the quality was not there!
Once again 'The Growers' had pulled the stops out despite the foul weather we have had over the last couple of months.
There is not much I can say about this show as the proof is in what you see, so to that end I have produced a slideshow showing you many of the old & new varieties on offer!
Where would a show be without these people?
These are the people who produce the plants that are used in the Show Gardens, Floral Art and by the General Public at large. By visiting these stands the general public can get sight of what they are buying, plus they can get expert advice on how to care for them.
In fact I had a chat with one or two of the specialists on some minor problems with some stuff I am growing and I am looking forward to putting their advice into practice!
What I found comforting was that it was not just me that was having problems growing plants this year, even these experts had their problems getting their plants ready for the show. In fact one of the Show Garden designers mentioned to me that he had had problems getting some types of plants to fit in with his planting plan resulting in him having to make some last minute changes, and this was despite placing his order the previous year.
The general concensus among people I spoke with was that the "growing season" was around three to four weeks behind the past three or four seasons, in fact some agreed that conditions this year were similar to what one would have expected say twenty plus years ago, i.e. long before the so called arrival of "Climate Change" makes you think doesn't it?
But no matter these guys pulled out the stops as you will see in the photographs of some of the stands that took my eye.
Awarded Silver Gilt
The following items are a few more things that caught my eye but I didn't follow up with any details of who staged them.
.....and that concludes my trip around Harrogate Spring Show 2018.
Part 2 of this blog can be seen here: