2012 Southport Flower Show - photo gallery
PUBLISHED: 17:22 25 September 2012 | UPDATED: 21:57 20 February 2013
Whatever the weather throws at Southport Flower Show, our premier outdoor event continues to come up smelling of roses. Roger Borrell reports. PHOTOGRAPHY: John Cocks
They chose the theme cool but at one stage it looked like it should have been wet.
There is always something new at Southport Flower Show and thats just the weather one minute rain, the next glorious sunshine.
On the eve of show, the chairman Margaret Tarpey and her team feared they might face disaster as rain came down in torrents. At the gala event that evening guests were unable to make it into the waterlogged grand floral marquee without wellies. The water was coming down like a monsoon, said Margaret. But we are British - we know how to cope with it.
Hard work by the show team and the foresight to install a very effective drainage system meant that when the doors opened the next morning everything looked fine including the weather.
Over the four days, the show attracted more than 64,000 visitors and the event is estimated to pump a very welcome 4.5 million into the local economy.
It was a really excellent show, said Margaret. We had to work around the rain but we got a lot of tremendous feedback. People who were our guests enjoyed it so much they bought tickets and came back the next day.
The feedback we received from visitors was enthusiastic and appreciative and thats all we can hope for. The high point for me was a moment on Saturday when I looked out and saw a sea of people, the sun was shining and there were flowers everywhere. What more could you want?
You could say the same of Alan Foxall. He spent 46 years bringing a splash of colour to Southport. All his working life was devoted to horticulture and in recent years he was the man who looked after the nursery at the Botanical Gardens, producing stunning, award-winning displays for the towns flower show.
Then, 14 months ago his world came tumbling down when Sefton Council made him and his team redundant and closed the nursery.
But Alan had plenty to smile about after making his come back at Southport Flower Show, collecting a gold medal for his Olympics- inspired display of flowers grown in the 80-foot greenhouse at his Southport home. However, at one point it looked like he would be a disappointed man. He checked his stand after the judging and there wasnt a certificate in sight. What he didnt know was that his helpers, Barbara Richard and Maria Rogers, had played a trick on him by hiding his award!
I was a little taken aback until they confessed, said Alan. Its great to make a come back and pick up a gold.
Author and broadcaster Stefan Buczacki reflected the views of many as he toured the gardens, pausing to congratulate Steve Ryland and his team from Kirkham Prison on another gold award.
I really take my hat to all the growers here for managing so well after such a difficult growing season and hats off, too, to the show organisers. Things looked ominous when the heavens opened at the gala preview. But they werent going to let the weather spoil things. Chelsea and Southport are the two shows that I always attend. They are quintessentially about British horticulture at its best.