Harrogate Spring Show 26-29 April 2012

The weather is never ‘normal’ for the North of England Horticultural Society’s Spring show. Over the years the marquees have been brought down by the weight of the snow and blown down by hurricane winds. It is even been known for grown men to almost be brought to tears because of the weather. Who can forget the look on Clive Postles’ face when he saw his first trade stand at Harrogate, immaculate the night before, less so the following morning when the water in the vases froze overnight. The water froze again last year; this year it just rained and rained, three days of almost continuous rain up to staging day, and it was cold, very cold.

However the show must go on. When you have 100,000 plus visitors to cope with at the Spring and Autumn show, it can’t be easy with just three full time staff. How fitting therefore that Harrogate Flower Shows this year received the Tourism Award at the Yorkshire Business Awards ceremony. Many congratulations from the Daffodil Society Northern Group. (Newspaper clipping courtesy of Yorkshire Post)
Despite the weather, staging progressed well on Wednesday night.

John Freer erected the Group stand showing the various sections of the daffodil and won a well-deserved Silver-Gilt award for the group. Well done John, shown centre left with Chairman Rae Beckwith and Treasurer Anne Smales.


Frankie Charlton, after a recent visit to Northern Ireland to see Brian Duncan, decided that fancy dress was necessary and came as an Irish pixie.
Congratulations by the way Frankie for winning the Cartwright at the Daffodil Society’s Annual Show last weekend at Warwick.

Others came well wrapped up, Yorkshire flat caps always work well.
For the second year in a row Barry Hogg had the Grand Champion Bloom this time with ‘Moon Shadow’, see the three pictures below. This bloom came from his winning entry in the North of England Amateur Championship.
He also went one better this year in also having the Reserve Champion Bloom with ‘Dorchester’

The North Of England Championship (Open) produced three good entries;first was Ken Harrop, second John Peace and third was Frankie Charlton. These are shown from left to right below.

A significant problem at all daffodil shows is the time taken after each class is judged, to select the Championship (or Best) Blooms. This is particularly so at at Harrogate where blooms are chosen from each of the 13 daffodil sections, plus miniature, intermediate, Novice and Transitional Exhibitor sections and a number of multi-bloom awards. Also there is the added pressure of a very large number of visitors who expect to have immediate access to all sections of the show site. For the first time, instead of the usual process of having a team of three or more people to select the blooms, the Crufts Dog Show method was tried, that is all judges selected their potential Champion Blooms for placing on the selection table, and then a single judge made the final selection. Although the next meeting will decide whether or not to continue the experiment, first indications are that it worked very well and there was a significant reduction in the time taken. Richard Smales had the honour of final selection this year, and a new judge will be selected each year, assuming that the process is repeated. Below are a selection of the Champion blooms.
A full list can be viewed by clicking here

Above Champion Division 1 ‘Sargeant’s Caye’ shown by Frankie Charlton

Above left Champion Division 2 ‘Altun Ha’ shown by John Peace
Above right Champion Division 6 ‘Lilac Charm’ shown by Sue Vinden

Above left Champion Division 7 ‘Irish Silver’ shown by Ivor Fox
Above right Champion Division 11 ‘Tripartite’ (top flower) shown by Christine Yeardley
Champion Division 12 ‘Upalong’ shown by Richard Hilson (left)
Champion Division 13 Narcissus triandrus var. triandrus (right hand bloom) shown by John Gibson and the vase was also the Best Vase of Three Miniatures

The Champion Bloom Division 9 ‘Hexameter’ (above left) was also Champion Bloom in the Transitional Exhibitors section. It was shown by Julia Wilkins shown on the right receiving her award from the Northern Group President Wendy Akers.

The International Class for Five cultivars raised outside Europe (above) was won by Richard Hilson (right hand exhibit) with Dianne Mason second. Richard’s cultivars were ‘Aircastle’, ‘Quick Step’, ‘Maya Dynasty’, ‘Mission Bells’ and ‘Petrel’. Dianne showed ‘Aircastle’, ‘Honey Pink’, ‘Rapture’, ‘Jetfire’ and ‘Mission Bells’

The National Daffodil Society of New Zealand Class for Five Blooms of New Zealand Bred Daffodils is now embellished by a handsome Gold Medal which was won by Christine Yeardley (left hand exhibit) with ‘Silver Kiwi’, ‘Goodfella’, ‘Red Era’, ‘Countdown’ and ‘Stormy Weather’. Christine and her late husband Ian visited (and fell in love with) New Zealand in the last few years of Ian’s life and she was delighted to win the medal. Chris Bone was second with two ‘Cameo King’, ‘Centrefold’, ‘Kiwi Magic’ and ‘Red Cameo’
A wonderful show. A show held on a hillside in North Yorkshire in late April is always challenging, being so much in the hands of the weather. Rather like the girl with the curl; when it’s good it’s very very good, but when it’s bad it’s horrid. This year’s freezing rain definitely qualified as horrid. But the loyal exhibitors and visitors turn up anyway, well wrapped up and wearing their wellies. Congratulations to everyone who managed to put their flowers on the bench.

Still busy on Saturday morning.

Congratulations also to the exhibitors who put on the excellent trade stands.

Johnny Walkers – immediately below- with a Premier Gold Award

Choice Bulbs and Miniature Bulbs – bottom phot0- Silver Gilt

The full results may be seen by clicking here

The Champion Bloom and other awards may be seen by clicking here

3 thoughts on “Harrogate Spring Show 26-29 April 2012”

  1. A very informative report, James. Loved seeing all the photos and hearing about your weather conditions. I guess we all have our shows–weather or not, in most cases. The Dog Show method of judging looks to be worth a try. Certainly much simpler than trying to get 20 or more judges to agree quickly. Congratulations to all the winners. And congratulations as well to Harrogate Flower Shows on receiving the Tourism Award.

  2. Great pictures, James. Good to see the photos of people as well as flowers, reminding us of our visits to Harrogate. We were also very pleased to see the entries in the New Zealand class – congratulations to the winner! By the way, the NZ Gold Medal has ‘Trena’ on it. It was chosen as it is almost certainly the most successful NZ raised variety. Wish we could have been there – we are saving up for a trip!


    Peter and Lesley

  3. Can i say a very special thank you to all those exhibitors who beat the weather to provide us with a wonderful show. Can i also thank the Harrogate staff for providing for the exhibitors the outstanding venue that is our beloved Harrogate. The link with the Tulip Society once again worked very well. The two live radio interviews went well and provided a platform to further promote this very special show. There were a lot of friends in that show hall. Long may it continue.
    Regards to all.

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