Kerb Couture provides quirky ideas at Harrogate

Sandy Felton takes a look at the 2019 Harrogate Spring Flower Show and discovers a lively and entertaining Show, perfect for blowing away the winter blues.

The 2019 Harrogate Spring Flower Show was certainly a lively affair with everything from Show Gardens to Floral Art, Food Theatre to Street Talk and a fantastic Plant Nursery Pavilion with dozens of fabulous displays from the UK’s leading nurseries.

New for the 2019 Spring Show was Kerb Couture, from bloom-bombing to garden graffiti, this lively and colourful section of the Show certainly entertained visitors with its quirky ideas that can make even the darkest back street look beautiful. The Blank Wall Project challenged designers to think vertically to create colourful spaces in the most restricted alleyways, corridors and city yards, while the Square Yards conjured green calm amid the hustle and bustle of modern life.

Certainly one of my favourite parts of the show. Street life came alive with the theatre StreetTalk where Mr Plant Geek himself, Michael Perry, was on hand to talk about urban botanicals. The lively atmosphere continued with breakdancing performances and it became clear that the Kerb Couture area was certainly a lively place where it was all happening. Certainly the variety of talks in the theatre had some interesting topics including Gutter Gardening, Small spaces with Big ideas and Urban Gardening.

In the Grow theatre in the Plant Pavilion the panel was kept busy with Gardener’s Questions and a range of talks each day including Perennials with Rob Hardy, Getting started with fruit and veg with Martin Fish and Orchids with Laurence Hobbs.

(pictured above: Urban Sprawl designed by Nicholas Edwards Gardens)

Top honours in the show gardens went to Perennial, who won Premier Gold and Best in Show with a design celebrating the 180th anniversary of the gardening charity. Designed by David Wyndham Lewis, the garden represented the impact of the organisation’s work supporting people across the horticultural industry and their families. (pictured banner above)

The garden had a contemporary feel with a mix of art featuring new works and ancient objects. The longevity of the charity was represented by water, reminding us that life emerges, flows through time, overcoming obstacles before returning to earth.

The bubbling flow of water culminated in a still pool, giving an opportunity to sit, reflect and remember. The artworks produced by Jane Proctor were especially eye-catching sitting perfectly within the garden and adding to its peace and serenity. There were also some rare plants displayed on the garden, and some plants which were particularly meaningful to David who pointed out a Tibetan cherry tree (Prunus serulla), just one special plant among many. David can be seen sitting in his garden in the picture above.

There were four Gold Awards, including The Mental Health Garden by Jo Manfredi-Hamer Garden Design (pictured above) – with a special sculpture by David Harber as part of a symbolic semi colon punctuation mark – Urban Sprawl by Nicholas Edward Gardens and In Sight of the Minister by Askham Bryan College.

Horticap also won Gold for their Tolkien-inspired community garden, The Shire, which was one of my favourites (pictured above.)

In the #kerbcouture Square Yards competition, Rachel Forbes Landscape Design won Premier Gold and The Small Space Award with an ingenious urban oasis called Kerbal Remedy.

Gold Awards went to Craven College and Ripon Walled Garden with From Pallet to Palette to Palate and Down 2 Earth for Take Some Thyme. The exhibit that really caught my imagination was the floral phone box while Flowers from the Farm showcased their own particular style of floral flair with an amazing shop front.

Best in Show for the Horticultural Trade Displays went to Kevock Garden Plants for their display of alpine, bog and woodland plants and magnificent it was too! (pictured above) The National Vegetable Society won Best in Show for displays in the Special Educational or Scientific Interest category.

In all, 19 Premier Gold and 33 Gold awards were made in the Horticultural Trade category, testament to the standard at this year’s show. In the Show Garden Category, 1 Premier Gold and six Gold medals were presented.

The Spring Harrogate Show is certainly an excellent way to blow away the winter blues and get ready for the planting season ahead. The Harrogate Autumn Show will this year run from the 13th to 15th September at the Gt Yorkshire Showground and is always the place to find monster veg such as 6ft wide cabbages and beetroots the size of baskets not to mention some pretty amazing autumn displays from specialist societies. Ticket and information for the Autumn Show can be found on their website at: flowershow.org.uk

Picture credit: All photographs strictly ©Reckless Gardener.

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