Sunshine and smiles at the Southport Flower Show 2011

PUBLISHED: 16:47 28 September 2011 | UPDATED: 20:04 20 February 2013

Sunshine and smiles at the Southport Flower Show 2011

Sunshine and smiles at the Southport Flower Show 2011

Lancashire's premier outdoor show was a vintage event in every respect Photography by John Cocks

The print version of this article appeared in the October 2011 issue of Lancashire Life

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No wonder they had smiles on their faces in Southport. While 70,000 people were flooding in to enjoy the 82nd and most spectacular flower show, the classic resort was named as one of Britains favourite seaside towns. All this and a ten day comedy festival starting on October 20.

The four day flower show in Victoria Park marked the 25th anniversary of the event being organised by a charitable trust after being run by the local council. It has never looked back.

There were blooms exotic and familiar on show this year. They ncluded former Atomic Kitten singer Liz McClarnon, botanist Professor David Bellamy, gardening gurus Stefan Buczacki and Matthew Wilson and local television chef Simon Rimmer.

Coronation Street stars Shobna Gulati and Jimmi Harkishin also toured the showground before being introduced on stage in the Ladies Day marquee, sponsored by Lancashire Life.

One of the highlights was the moment when it was announced that a sweet pea had been named in honour of Prof Bellamy, a show patron since 1996. He said that during the war his mother had refused to stop growing sweet peas in her garden but he admitted: I never find them easy, especially with the weather we had last winter.

Fellow patron Stefan Buczacki said: There is always something new and unexpected at the show and this year it has to be the David Bellamy sweet pea.

The great thing about Southport is the lack of stuffiness. There are no barriers of pomposity. If you see something you like, you can go and ask about it.

Flower show chairman David Rose said: Its been a fantastic effort by everyone involved to put the show on. He made a special presentation to Tim Timmerman, a trustee director who was Another of this years stars was former Myserscough student Paul Richards whose garden design company is based in Halsall.

Paul previously featured in Lancashire Life around five years back when he picked up an award in the student category. This year he returned to Southport for the first time and scooped the Brockhouse Trophy for his show garden based on 1930s modernism.

Across from Paul, there was another nod to times past in the Glam Rock garden created by Southports Rob Showering and his team.

It was inspired by his memories of trips to the show in the 1970s. Rockeries were the big fashion then and I remember a fantastic display here at Southport, he said.

One exhibitor who can remember those days was Ken Shalliker, who won a large gold for his display of bonsai. Ken, now retired from running Pinewood Bonsai in Formby, said: I started coming here when I was a lad and I recall seeing a display of lillies. On the corner of the stand there was a bonsai I was hooked.

Southport Flower Show has that effect it just grows on you.

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