“Which? Gardening” has placed Harrogate Spring Flower Show (NEHS) a clear winner, top of their poll for the UK’s Horticultural Shows beating even premier Chelsea Flower Show. The Autumn Show also does well in third place just behind Hampton Court. Shows like Tatton Park, Shrewsbury and BBC Gardeners World Live follow along behind. Most Shows are in the south with Gardening Scotland and the Ayr Flower Show up north.
Harrogate has everything going for it. It’s the show that most people would recommend to others and go again themselves. It’s down to earth with no pretensions. It’s easy to get to, easy to walk round and parking is excellent. No need to travel to southern climes when you have excellence under your very nose. Here you can spend a relaxed time talking to exhibitors which they just love and gathering information of your favourite plants with tips and hints!
Harrogate is a day out for the whole family from the first welcome at the gate by the Bourbon Street Roof-Raisers jazz band. Music is constant through the day. There is even a hands on at the wormeries for the little ones and fascinating live bee displays. My favourite is Don Billington, a very funny Liverpudlian from ‘Every Picture Tells a Story’ with his floral demonstrations. The Show brings in huge revenue to the area and gives work to a hardcore of voluntary workers. A small dedicated team support the committee, some expert in their own horticultural field like flower arrangers, growers and landscape. This is their forte and they are on home ground!
The objectives of the show are to encourage members of the public to get involved in gardening and obtain inspirational ideas. This it certainly does with its trade stands from over 100 growers. They promote plant material which is of a high quality, suiting the tough northerly climate. Dispensing cultural information is the NOEHS stand answering hundreds of questions and run by the Institute of Horticulture and the Horticultural Exhibitors Association and their gardening experts. The new “Dig it Theatre” with its question time and demonstrations entertains you in comfort and with nationally recognised expertise. Your own Sarah Hopps from North Yorkshire, Frances MacDonald from Ireland, Geoff Stebbing, Editor, all features writers from “Garden Answers”. They are supported this year by ‘guest experts’.
The promotion of food from many Yorkshire outlets is highlighted with cooking demonstrations and culinary surprises in Plot to Pot Cookery Theatre. This is hosted by Chefs Stephanie Moon and Gilly Robinson. There is no shortage of food and victuals with menus to suit every taste. Students, Cooks and Top Chef’s with high reputations from local Colleges and Hotels present with mouth-watering delicacies through the day. Martin Fish the Show Director and his team will be challenging the Chefs. This proved to be a real crowd puller last September.
The Show acts as a spark; encouraging the training of young people and helping them get established in the industry or become self employed in their own business. The Show Gardens have been a great success with twice as many gardens built by Colleges and independent landscape businesses this year.
The show encourages the training of young people, getting them established in the industry or to become self employed. It creates opportunities for horticultural businesses and makes the public aware of services available to them locally and in the UK. It challenges professionals and amateurs entering the various classes and various growing Societies of the Horticultural trade like Fuchsias, Chrysanthemums and Dahlia Society.
At a stroke the public see in a very short period of time the wide variety of skills and disciplines that make up the Horticultural industry. There is a plethora of trades and skills that surround the industry like seeds, equipment, greenhouses, fencing, ornamentals, shelters and garden furniture along with clothes, jewellery, art and anything that hints of a place in the garden. It’s all there for you; the pure pleasure of having a day out.
The show sets a standard of excellence in Horticulture to all those who enter the various classes providing great ideas from products to landscape gardens.
There are special deals and a range of packages for VIP treatment. Choose from afternoon tea or breakfast, lunch and use of the VIP tent during the day with coffee and bites to eat. You can make contact for these by ‘phoning Harrogate (01423) 546157. They are ideal for any size of group from a couple to a business.
The NEHS expend their profits to over 100 organisations and charities each year contributing to a range of projects. 44 are grant schemes. Castlerigg Manor in Keswick developed their bluebell wood. Age UK Yorkshire (Harrogate) was awarded funds towards their Garden Buddy Project. Friends of Brunts Barn Ecology Project built a wild life pond and others received grants for planting fruit trees and growing projects. The Show provides free space in marquees and staging for the Specialist Societies, Charities and Gardening Groups.
Transport to the show may be by courtesy bus from the car parks and shuttle bus to the town centre, railway and bus station. There is even a plant crèche to leave your bought plants whilst you look around the show.
The very best is advertised and presented to the Judges and to the discerning eye of the public for they are the greatest critics and Chris Smith and committee and Martin Fish and his team know this. The staff pull out all the stops to give their public a great day out! This year’s Show will be on the 25th to the 28thApril 2013.
Yorkshire Landscape Gardens