Ferns take top award as event springs into action

FERN growers Steven Fletcher and Kerry Robinson were thrilled to pick up the Best in Show award for their display at this year’s Harrogate Spring Flower Show.

Aptly named Fernatix, the Suffolk-based pair won the top award in 2007 at the Autumn Show but this was their first major success at the Great Yorkshire Showground in the spring event.

“We are really chuffed,” said Steven. “The Spring Show is really competitive because everyone’s display is looking at its best, as the year goes on it gets tougher to keep the high quality going for a lot of exhibitors, so this really starts the gardening year off at the top.”

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Another exhibitor with something to celebrate was tulip grower Morris Robinson from Ryton on the Tyne, who won the Tulip Championship of Great Britain with his three vases each of nine tulips made up of three different varieties.

“It is the first time I have shown tulips here so I am absolutely delighted,” he said. “It has been a horrendous winter for us growers, first we had severe frosts in November then weeks of snow. The temperature was down to minus seven in my greenhouse then we had a spring heatwave last month and everything shot up.”

“But there is always a silver lining, that sun brought the tulips forward by a couple of weeks and meant I had them ready for Harrogate.”

There are several new exhibitors at the show this year including Rebekah’s Vegetables, a company started by doting grandparents of a young girl who is allergic to additives and preservatives.

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Specialist nursery Trehane is making a welcome reappearance following a 15-year absence bringing blueberries and camellias all the way from Dorset.

There was also a definite Royal tinge particularly in the floral art marquee where nine hats suitable for a Royal Wedding featured on the Staveley Mad Hatters display made up of flower arrangers taught by Faith Dawson at Staveley and Copgrove village hall.

The North of England Horticultural Society is marking its centenary and around 60,000 visitors are expected by Sunday.