2014 Southport Flower Show - photo special

PUBLISHED: 00:00 29 September 2014

Strictly Come Dancing star, Anton Du Beke, performed the offical opening of the Show

Strictly Come Dancing star, Anton Du Beke, performed the offical opening of the Show

Archant

The best designers and gardeners in the region turns out in force for the 90th Southport Flower Show

Robert Showering's 'Alpine Experience Garden'Robert Showering's 'Alpine Experience Garden'

Southport Flower Show celebrated the sights and sounds of Brazil - and if only the England football team could have had the same amount of success.

Wayne and the boys made it a World Cup to forget, but the organisers of the flower show, now in its 90th year, ensured it was one to remember as they brought a flavour of the Copacabana to the Lancashire coast. From hanging baskets crafted out of footballs to colourful vegetable displays made to look like soccer pitches, football fever was never far away.

A record-breaking 50,000 visitors enjoyed stunning displays and gardens from around the country, as well as entertainment and a wealth of food demonstrations from the region’s best chefs.

Popular British ballroom dancer and star of the hit BBC television programme Strictly Come Dancing, Anton du Beke, had the honour of opening the 2014 show and waltzed his way through the displays congratulating those who were victorious with awards.

'A Lakeland Rill' by Peter Tinsley of Southport'A Lakeland Rill' by Peter Tinsley of Southport

‘The gardens here are tremendous,’ said Anton. ‘The exhibitors are really clever with the designs, there is so much going on. It’s a sensory overload. I am sure visitors to the flower show, much like I, can use them as a great inspiration and lift an idea and take it into your own green space.’

Anton added that he always enjoys visiting the north as the people are so friendly. ‘It really isn’t a cliché, I always feel so welcome whenever I visit.’

One of the stars of the flower show, described by Anton as a real inspiration, was Robert Showering’s show garden, Alpine Experience. The garden designer and landscaper enjoyed huge success at this year’s flower show, scooping a Large Gold medal as well as the Southport Corporation trophy for Best Large Class One Garden and the Pontins trophy for Best Overall Garden in Show.

‘I am absolutely delighted,’ said Robert, from Barton. ‘I think this is our 14th gold medal and we have been visiting the show for around 24 years. It’s our most local show and we love to attend and support it. To miss it would be a shame.’

Dean Halsall's  'Rock and Water Garden'Dean Halsall's 'Rock and Water Garden'

The garden featured a rockery and waterfall, planted with a vast array of colourful alpines supplied from Lovania Nurseries in Tarleton. ‘I wanted to get away from the sculptural look and move towards a more natural theme,’ said Robert.

A natural, free flowing design seemed to be a popular theme within the show gardens as fellow Large Gold medal winner Peter Tinsley Landscaping designed his traditional Lakeland slate garden with the nature of Ambleside in mind. ‘I go walking in the Lake District a lot in my spare time,’ said Halsall-based Peter, who also won the Finchett Trophy for the Best Garden in Class Two.

‘This design combines my hobby and business together in Southport. The slate has come from Cumbria and a lot of the background plants are from my own garden. I’m under strict instructions from my wife to bring them all back home!’

Dean Halsall and Chris Truitt from Southport were awarded a Large Gold and the Millard Trophy for the Best Small Garden in Class Three for their inaugural show garden.

Claire Skidmore and Clare Edwards won The Brian Aughton Memorial Trophy for best use of plants in a display in their 'Enchantment' gardenClaire Skidmore and Clare Edwards won The Brian Aughton Memorial Trophy for best use of plants in a display in their 'Enchantment' garden

‘I didn’t want the Rock and Water Garden to be straightforward,’ said Dean. ‘I wanted it to reflect the Brazilian theme so there are twists and turns similar to what you would see in a rainforest, along with lots of colour.’

Dean also wanted to construct a small garden so that it would be affordable for the public to recreate in their own space. ‘You can squeeze a small rockery into any area to add something a little different,’ he said.

Another show garden that wanted to inspire people was Muddy Boots for Queenscourt Hospice and their garden, Enchantment.

Made up of Claire Skidmore, who is a Muddy Boots landscaper and builder, and Clare Edwards, a designer and gardener, the duo created a garden which featured sections containing dry shade, moisture and sun plants.

‘We wanted to show visitors the types of plants they can use in different soil conditions,’ said Clare. ‘From texture to leaf colour, you can really make a difference. The judges must have realised what we were trying to do as we were awarded the Challenge Trophy for Best Use of Plants in a Display, along with a Large Gold medal. We are both so chuffed.’

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