When my alarm went off this morning for the first time in yonks I didn’t hit the snooze button. Why, because I was attending my first ever flower show and man was I excited. Despite doing a Q&A piece with Harrogate Flower Show prior to attending, I was still not exactly sure what I was in for.
We arrived in good time being a Yorkshire resident and there was no traffic on route. We got parked up nice and close to the entrance even though we were only 10mins ahead of the doors opening. We joined the queue and had a chat to the nice folk behind us before the queue shuffle started and then we were in!!
Now in my Q&A with the show their recommendation was to head straight to the plant pavilion, however on route to the show one of my amazing followers tweeted me with advice to head straight to the floral exhibition and I am sooo grateful for the tip off as being in quite early and marching straight to the far end of the show when we got there and it was lovely and quiet. Whilst everyone else were off shopping I got to admire the magnificent art work in the exhibition and also take some pics of them too – however I will be sharing these along with my choice for best in show in another Blog that I will release tomorrow so keep a look out for that!
We then visited the ‘Made In Yorkshire’ tent and being a Yorkshire lass it would be rude not too really. In there was a wonderful potter from Sheffield who had made a beautiful pot for a bonsai tree in the exhibition hall.
My mother-in-law who accompanied me to the show teaches ceramics and had a lovely conversation with this chap, who was full of passion and happy to talk openly about his methods and creations which was very refreshing – it’s not just us gardeners who are friendly!
We then made our way into the Gardening Hall for Kitchen Garden magazines talk on ‘Practical Plots’ I managed to bag a front row seat and I was really looking forward to this as having two allotments, one which is brand new and being a reader of the publication I thought it was the one that was the most suited for me! The talk started at 12pm and it was now 12.10pm so the audience began to scratch there heads! What’s going on, is there a time mix up or something? It then got to 12.20 and I had to toddle off to see what on earth was going on? Turns out that nobody actually knew who was delivering this talk, it was represented by KG but the show apparently organised it?
Well anyway two lovely KG representatives (Steve & Emma) who had a talk scheduled after ”Practical Plots’ stepped up to deliver the talk. I am guessing the talk was totally off the cuff without a plan prepared and hats off to them, they did a lovely job. Unfortunately I wasn’t learning anything new and by this point my tummy after an early start was rumbling “Lunch” so after watching half I left. Time fleets when you’re having fun and there was lots more to see and BUY!!
For lunch we decided on a picnic platter which you could pre-order or buy on the day for a little more money. There was a choice of Ploughman’s, seafood or vegetarian and of course I wanted a veggie one which you couldn’t just pick up but the caterers said there are always a few extra made up so they will order one in for when I return after the KG talk. So when we returned for lunch, there it was, which I was thrilled about! The platter consisted of roast veg, a mini quiche, falafel with riata, cous cous, salad, bread roll and strawberries and cream and of course I had a glass of Pimm’s to wash it down with. My mother in law went with the seafood option and I think she got slightly better value for money if I’m honest!
Obviously being the lunchtime peak there were no tables left so I threw a paddy……. nah just kidding two lovely dear’s let us share their table and it was grand. I love speaking to people especially those who share the same passion. There was a lot of good humour and gorgeous food, the sun was out an I was really enjoying myself!
After lunch it was a wonder through the show gardens, which actually I was surprised to find that there weren’t all that many I think there were around 5 or 6 in total maybe I expect too much? The garden that received first place was a lovely tranquil design, somewhere I could find myself sitting for hours just watching the world go by. I loved the soft unforced natural planting around the stone wall, it reminded me of being a child at my grandparents old home.
We then wondered into the Gardening hall again to have a nosey around the stalls and some of the Hort Couture displays, which were absolutely stunning. The world of horticulture has inspired the world of fashion for decades and I thought it was a truly fantastic theme, I even wore my floral jeans to pay homage to it!
Some of the floral displays were truly breath taking. I thought I had seen my fill in the exhibition hall but no, as I was wondering around the hall catching a new display around a new corner I was like a child in a sweetshop my jaw would drop and I think I totally over used the word ‘WOW’ today!
I can’t begin to imagine the sheer amount of time, effort and preparation that has gone into these truly inspiring displays and the people behind them all deserve a huge congratulations for pulling it off. My favourite display had to be the ‘Green Room’ I just wanted to climb into the room and live there! Instead I settled for a hovering squat over an arm chair!
Then the real fun started it was off to admire the plants in the plant pavilion, where I had to resist the temptation of buying EVERYTHING!
As I wondered down the halls it was apparent that the HOT plant trends for 2017 were most definitely Bonsai, Succulents, Cacti and Acers. I’m not very good at keeping indoor plants alive as I’m always playing outdoors I tend to forget about them. However I couldn’t help but fall in love with this ‘Echeveria Cheyenne’ which I have named Maleficent because of the way the flower stem falls like the horns of the Disney character or is that just my interpretation? I’m hoping I don’t neglect or worse kill her!
Next on my purchase list was an adorable and the tiniest daffodil I have ever seen called ”Kidling’ with 2 blooms per stem and flower heads no bigger than a 5p but what this irrisisible plant lacked in height did not lack in scent. As I picked up the plant to admire it the strongest honey fragrance I ever did smell wafted my way I had to have it! In fact I wish I had gotten a couple more. This is someone who proclaims to not actually be a daffodil fan – funny that!
My next purchases were from the same stall Triffids Nursery and they were Lamium orvala which is a clump forming perennial with lush dusky pink flowers which are almost orchid like and although it’s flowering season is coming to an end I look forward to this being in full bloom next year. I also bought Persicaria bistorta ‘Superba’ which has dainty pink fluffy poker like flowers.
I then headed to Hardy’s Plants stall and instantly saw two gorgeous Geums. I fell in love with Geums whilst researching for the build of my cottage garden. The two I purchased were ‘Totally Tangerine’ which as the name would suggest has beautiful tangerine coloured flowers and ‘Scarlett Tempest’ which has deep burnt orange flowers. Rob Hardy was brilliant in informing me about the plants and how they perform but how to care for them and at 3pm after a LONG day he was still beaming with passion and pride and was incredibly friendly, so Hardys get’s my vote for best plant stall in the plant pavilion. Good customer service goes a long way in my book.
Then with my arms full, next on the agenda was a cup of tea! It was at this point I realised I was beat and I had done all I needed too, so feeling truly inspired to tackle my new and upcoming projects we decided to head for home.
I have had an amazing first ever flower show experience and think the organisers behind the show have done a phenomenonall job. I can definitely see why it has been awarded by Which? as best gardening event.
Well it has definitely warmed me up for the rest of my tour this year, roll on next month for RHS Chelsea!
I would love to hear all about what you loved, bought and was inspired by at Harrogate Flower Show this year, please leave a comment below!
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