Southport Flower Show 2010 photo gallery

PUBLISHED: 16:05 22 September 2010 | UPDATED: 17:52 20 February 2013

Display by the North West Area of NAFAS....

Display by the North West Area of NAFAS....

This year's Southport Flower Show hit new heights, drawing praise from top names in the gardening world Photography by John Cocks

David Bellamy is never lost for words and he was in full flow as he stood, waving his arms like a demented windmill in the Southport sunshine. I come here because I love it, he declared.

The broadcaster, botanist and environmental campaigner is a patron of the Southport Flower Show and he has been attending it for more than 15 years. But he does have a guilty secret.

Hes not much good when it comes to actual gardening, confided his wife, Rosemary. Hes useful at destruction - he can chop things down and he comes in handy when I need a hole digging. But when it comes to the real gardening, thats my department. Its a remark which will ring true in many Lancashire Life households!

That didnt stop him enthusing about Lancashires premier show. Its unique - its the one show where the professionals and the amateurs mix and learn from each other without any silly rivalry, he said. And, above all, its about the plants.

While his own skills as a gardener might not match the exacting standards of his wife, Professor Bellamy is passionate about encouraging children to become involved in horticulture.

That commitment was highlighted in his school garden competition,
which received well over 500 entries from across the north west. It challenged children to design a garden fitting the shows theme - this year it was Coast - and its then built by professionals and put on display.

This years winners were Millie Lorraine, from Valewood Primary, Crosby, and Kerry Eakins, from Penketh Primary, Warrington. Prof Bellamys admiration of the show was matched by another well known figure in the world of horticulture, Professor Stefan Buczacki, who said: I go to a lot of shows, and this is the best. Southport is now setting its own standard. The whole show is of international standard.

This years four day event, which had a much bigger food section and a new book fair, was hailed by many as the best ever despite the weather failing to provide constant sunshine.

However, there was plenty of sunshine for Poplar Farm Flowers, of Downholland. The farm, run by Joe and Viv Appleton with sons Joseph, Nathan and Ben, picked up a gold medal for a stunning display of 800 sunflowers, which took 32 hours to set up.

Not only was it the first time they had ever exhibited at a show, they only took part because someone had dropped out at the last minute.

The team at Tarleton Specimen Plants also had reason for sunny smiles after picking up just about every award going for the stunning coast-to-coast themed garden. It was a fitting way to mark Brian Aughtons 50 years showing at Southport. His son, Philip, explained the garden included rock from Yorkshire as well as a stunning Japanese red maple, worth around 2,500.

Other notable victors included the Thorn Cross young offenders institute, which won a large gold for its garden depicting the Lancashire coastline. A similar award went to Kirkham Open Prison, a regular winner at the regions shows. Were a bit like the Russians at the Olympics, joked Matthew, one of the inmates. Fellow prison John added: We all had a hand in the design and its the cherry on the cake to have our community service work recognised like this.

David Jackson, the shows chief executive, best summed it up. The thing you realise as you go around is that this is really the Friendly Show.

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