CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Lancashire Life today CLICK HERE

Fairytale themed gardens at the 2018 Southport Flower Show

PUBLISHED: 00:00 27 September 2018

‘Devine’ tomatoes laid out as a book on the British Tomato Growers’ Association stand

‘Devine’ tomatoes laid out as a book on the British Tomato Growers’ Association stand

Linda Viney

Britain’s biggest independent flower show attracts huge crowds and the admiration of BBC celebrities

The sun brought crowds flocking to Victoria Park for this years’ Southport Flower Show, the largest independent flower show in the UK. This year the face of the BBC’s Gardeners’ World, Monty Don, and Countryfile presenter Anita Rani toured the show gardens before declaring it officially open. Monty was very impressed and described it as ‘one of the great shows.’

They had the opportunity to talk to the designers and find out what lay behind their displays which included a design by Jonty Murphy using the legs of an old Victorian marine bridge and an anchor which was reclaimed from the end of Southport Pier.

They then heard the emotional story of one man’s journey of life beyond the diagnosis of cancer, in the Macmillan Garden designed by Jason O’Donnell. He was moved to create it for the charity after his father died from lung cancer last December.

The School’s Design-a-Garden competition always receives plenty of entries and the two winners Sophia Steer from Helmshore Primary, Rossendale, and Misha Kamran from Tonacliffe Primary, Whitworth, were thrilled to see their designs created by apprentices from Myerscough College. Both Schools won £500 Bents Garden and Home voucher while Sophia and Ruth were awarded a certificate and £50.

Victorian Times’ show garden designed by Jonty MurphyVictorian Times’ show garden designed by Jonty Murphy

The theme of this year’s show gave exhibitors plenty of scope when designing their displays. Fairytales from Sleeping Beauty, The Jungle Book, Dr Doolittle and A Midsummer Night’s Dream all added to the interest especially for the younger visitors.

Inmates at HMP Kirkham and HMP Thorn Cross designed gardens on show in the Grand Floral Marquee, the latter awarded The Lady Pilkington Trophy for the best exhibit depicting the theme of this year’s show. They had chosen ‘Alice in Wonderland’ giving plenty of scope from The Queen of Hearts to a large chair and Alice herself.

Floral Art is a popular area where you admire the skill of the flower arrangers. Patience is obviously a virtue as well as the artistic skills needed in the planning. Bill Dixon, who has done floral displays for many years and represented England in the World Championships, was this year asked to design one of the smaller show gardens. ‘A challenge but assisted by my partner, retired GP Phil Jennison, we thoroughly enjoyed it,’ Bill explained.

Flowers and gardens aren’t the only attractions – the Cookery Theatre saw a series of celebrity chefs, including Victoria Copley, Simon Rimmer and Great British Bake Off star Flo Atkins who gave inspiring demonstrations.

Floral Art ‘Treasure’ by Emma KellyFloral Art ‘Treasure’ by Emma Kelly

The Food Hall gave visitors to sample everything from pies to beverages and in the Bee and Honey Marquee you could learn about the importance of insects.

The Amateur Marquee had displays of everything from vegetables to begonias with huge flowers.

Over the four days, celebrities were on hand offering inspiration and ideas as well as answering questions. Award winning broadcaster Matthew Wilson also gave tips on coping with the changing climate.

Visitors enjoyed watching the displays in the Arena from Ben Potter with his hawks and eagles to the sheep dog and duck display by Bob Hogg.

Southport has many awards, the most prestigious being The Brockhouse Gold Challenge Trophy for the best exhibit.

It went to J & A Japonicas for their stunning display in the Grand Floral Marquee. A local nursery, they specialise in plants of Japanese and Chinese origin, and their display included a large pagoda feature raising up to the roof and a water feature complete with misting and colour from dahlias. The Salopian Trophy for the best runner-up went to ‘Every Picture Tells a Story’ with their display of bromeliads in a natural setting with associated plants.

Southport goes from strength to strength and preparations are already underway for next year’s show which will be the 90th.

More from Out & About

Having 10,000 students on the doorstep is helping this West Lancashire town centre to thrive

Read more

In 1972, a hoard of ancient silver coins was discovered in Prestwich. These days, they’re hoping to strike gold with an unbeatable mix of community, creativity and independent shops but for one craftsperson, silver is still the way to go.

Read more
Friday, October 12, 2018

Pendle Hill is one of the most iconic landmarks in Lancashire and you can enjoy the beautiful countryside, spectacular views and fascinating from a number of starting points in the Ribble Valley.

Read more
Pendle Hill Ribble Valley Walks
Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Our walks expert John Lenehan plots a scenic course that also provides a little Lancashire history.

Read more

Steps are being taken to bridge the divides that have grown between communities and made Blackburn one of the most segregated towns in the country.

Read more
Monday, October 8, 2018

With the countryside turning stunning shades of red and gold, this is probably the best time to pull on your boots and go for a heavenly hike.

Read more
Lake District Walks Autumn

There is always something surprising in this old Lancashire village which attracts visitors from across the world

Read more
Thursday, October 4, 2018

Many youngsters their age are content to play with their toys, but a Bowness brother and sister are happiest in their walking boots.

Read more
Thursday, September 27, 2018

Britain’s biggest independent flower show attracts huge crowds and the admiration of BBC celebrities

Read more
Wednesday, September 26, 2018

When it was announced The Willow Garden Project in Fleetwood was to be the recipient of BBC North West Garden created for The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Tatton Flower Show, there were cheers all round.

Read more
Friday, September 21, 2018

The first ever National GetOutside Day takes place on Sunday 30 September with the aim of getting 1 million people active outdoors across the UK.

Read more

Meet some of the devilishly successful people who make this glorious Ribble Valley town tick.

Read more
Friday, September 14, 2018

The site was designated Lancashire’s first ever ‘Local Nature Reserve’ in 1968 and is also designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest.

Read more
Wednesday, September 12, 2018

A striking sculpture attracts John Lenehan to this circular walk through some oustanding scenery.

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Subscribe or buy a mag today

Local Business Directory

Property Search