Harrogate Spring Flower Show 2017

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We were so very excited to be returning to the Spring Flower Show in Harrogate once more this year after being frequent visitors for the last few years now!
We love it, it's one of our favourite shows and we attend both Spring and Autumn editions as they're just so fabulous!

This year was no different!

We were taking a friend along with us for their very first visit to the show this year and having never visited anything like this before and being very much a man's man, he was somewhat apprehensive of what a day out at a flower show was going to entail!
It's safe to say he possibly enjoyed himself even more than me, but more on that a bit later!

It was Day 3 of the Flower Show and we'd been blessed with the most promising weather of the weekend so far! It was lovely and warm in the yummy Yorkshire sunshine, but there was a definite brisk chill to air when in the shade, so we were glad of our coats, but when the sun did come out, they were swiftly off once again and in true British Summer style, we made the most of the afternoon rays!

After some tip offs and advice from exhibitors, visitors, bloggers and associates alike, we headed straight for the Gardening Hall to view the fabulous fashion and "HortCouture" on display by Jenny Gillies – a sensational fashion designer and exhibiton all the way from ChristChurch New Zealand! The Press shots we'd seen in the week leading upto the Flower Show of Jenny's work were phenomenal and with me having a trip planned to New Zealand too, this was high up on my list of priorities to see.

On our way through the brand new Yorkshire Events Centre, we managed to do a swift half lap of the new Plant Pavillion for Spring 2017, taking in delightful Daffodils, brilliant Bonsai trees, sensational shrubbery and fabulous foliage!

We'd been advised to go see The Christchurch Collection as soon as we arrived at the show in an attempt to beat the crowds and get a good look.
Unfortunately it appeared everyone had the same idea, so we proceeded to play an awkward game of dodge the camera, as everyone frantically scurried to get their kodak moments, whilst snapping as minimal people as possible in the background of their photos, simultaneously!
It got quite comical at one point, with my friend standing frozen between a group of ladies and flowery dresses! I'm sure he was secretly in his element though!

After spending time soaking up the gorgeous designs by Jenny, we explored the rest of the Gardening Hall, stopping for a quick natter at the Visit Harrogate and Harrogate in Bloom stand and admiring the astonishing "Green Room" – a firm favourite with the Show's visitors this year and a huge pink sparkly Stiletto! The pictures says more than we ever could. Simply STUNNING!

Exiting the Gardening Hall from the side entrance, we found ourselves at the start of the Show Gardens.
This was perfect, as next on our To-Do list was the Magic Roundabout inspired garden by Horticap; a charity providing education in horticulture for adults with learning disabilities in Harrogate & the surrounding district.

We'd seen pictures on Social Media and it was even better in the flesh. Not only was it visually magical, but it played music too, the Magic Roundabout theme tune of course!
It evoked childhood memories and made us feel happy and infant like once more! It was colourful, inspired and relaxing and was accessible for children and adults of all ages.
We were also able to see how Horticap's work directly impacted in such a positive way on the people of Harrogate's lives.
They had a big bench at the front of their garden where you could have your picture taken, which of course we couldn't reisit and being nicknamed Dee, getting a selfie with Zebadee was a definite highlight of my day; big kids at heart!

On we went, viewing Askham Bryan College's Award-Winning Garden, spending time chatting to them about the design and what certain pieces within it represented.
Being a Yorkie too, I was delighted to see them take a Silver Award for their stunning work!

Next up was Henshaws Arts & Crafts Centre's Garden, complete with Simba the Lion, since Henshaws stands on the old Knaresborough Zoo site, where we were told that the residents of Harrogate used to say they could hear the Lion roar! Read more on what Henshaw's has to offer here: https://www.henshaws.org.uk/what-we-offer/arts-crafts/visit/

Neighbouring Henshaws, was a lovely piece from the lads at HMP Kirk Levington Grange – Growing Reform with a concept garden entitled "There's Water Under The Bridge". My friend chatted to the Artyculturals (the gardeners' collective name!), whilst I took pictures, where I particularly loved the spectacular hand welded trees! It was wonderful to see something so positive come out of their time spent at Kirk Levington Grange and we felt a great sense of pride for them as they truly outdid themselves and indeed did themselves immensely proud with their contribution!

We really enjoyed viewing the Brain Research Garden and spent time here chatting to the one of the team and her little helper, who was scurrying about handing out leaflets on the Research Centre and looked to be thoroughly enjoying herself!

We loved how they'd recreated sections of the brain within their show garden and they explained each coloured section to us, along with the corresponing plants for each section, so for example; Sight, there were many visually vibrant and colourful flowers; Movement, here there were lots of tall plants that waved and danced merrily in the light Spring breeze; Memory, plants like Forget-Me-Nots and Rhubarb which some will remember from their grandparents' gardens!
The water feauture ball in the centre represented the brain fluid connecting all the sections together and keeping the brain alive.

They received a well deserved Silver award for their garden and we were delighted for them. This was definitely one of our favourite show gardens of the day!

By now we were getting peckish and since some of my family were also at the Show that day, we decided to meet up with them, so headed upto the Gardener's Rest Cafe for some lunch.

After refuelling we picked up where we left off on a sort of cross roads where there was the Yorkshire Clothing Company, Brass Band and my favourite stand from last year, Robert James Ltd.

After picking up some regal Ryedale stock at the Clothing Company, it was over to Robert James for a quick natter and look at all the stunners on display.
Their work is out of this world and based on the well known characters of Alice in Wonderland, Wind in the Willows and Winnie the Pooh to name a few!
On chatting, we realised it had been a whole year since we saw them last and quite frankly were flabergasted, as we could remember their stand from last year as though it was yesterday!

View more of Robert's work on his website at http://www.robertjamesworkshop.com/sculptures.html

On leaving Robert James, we made our way round to the Food and Drink and Craft marquees, but not before stopping for a glass of Champagne daaarling!

On entering the Food Tent, we were pleasantly surprised to see Andy from Urban Herbs at the front of the Marquee, where everyone had to walk past, ensuring he was seen by many! He was extremely chuffed with his plot upgrade and it was great to see his stall so busy! Andy regularly stays with us at The Kimberley when exhibiting at local shows in the area, but sadly wasn't with us on this occasion.
We had a good natter for a good while and Andy kindly let us choose some more herbs to take home to our ever expanding herb garden. We chose some interesting and yummy sounding ones such as, Catnep and Lemon Curd Thyme! The latter was supposed to go nice with chicken and as a topper on cheesecake! We'll let you know how we get on!

Time was no longer on our side and we had less than an hour to go until closing time and there was still so much to see! We continued around the Food and Drink marquee, sampling and purchasing Sloe Gin and Strawberry Vodka from The Little Red Berry Company, Fudge from the stall next door, Stateside Treats, Nuts by ViPnuts, Munchy Seeds and Black Smoked Cheddar Cheese, this was a goooood tent!
We finished our Food and Drink round with a sample from and a chit chat with Slingsby's Gin whom we stock at The Kimberley. We can personally recommend their Rhubarb Gin! It's going to be huge this Summer!!

Next up was the Craft Marquee where I usually purchase many a Christmas present, yes even as early as April, but with us running out of time we had a quick gander then made our way into the neighbouring Floral Pavillion where there was further Floral Art on display.
One of the themes Florists had been tasked with was "Hitched & Stitched", incorporating a wedding theme into their floral bouquets.
Colleges were asked to produce Floral Bonnets on open or closed car bonnets with their own interpretation and design creating a Va Va Bloom vibe!
Movies and Fashion played a big part at this year's Spring show too, with Movie inspired pieces like Titanic, Ocean's Eleven and Gone With The Wind on display.

The Floral Art pieces took their inspiration this year from four big name designers – Vivienne Westwood, Versace, Ralph Lauren and Chanel and boy these did not disappoint.
As one of the last things to see during our day at the show, they'd been worth the wait!

We also enjoyed seeing the various music genres/decades interpreted as floral designs! Here are a couple of our faves!
It was sadly time to leave and although we hadn't quite managed to see everything, we had done a lot and knew we would be returning in September for the Autumn Show, where we plan to do lots of Christmas craft shopping and see the giant vegetables of course, another highlight of the Autumn Flower Show!

For further Show highlights, see the official website and we hope to see lots of you at the Autumn Show!

See all of our pics from the Show over on our Facebook page.

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