Never mind the rain: Crowds pour into Shrewsbury Flower Show

Storm clouds and the forecast of torrential rain could not dampen the spirits of Shrewsbury Flower Show organisers.

Never mind the rain: Crowds pour into Shrewsbury Flower Show

Steve Caulwell, Aran Oakes and Tony Turpin arranging their display

Marquees were erected, walkways installed and thousands of blooms were positioned to show off their beauty by dozens of exhibitors in preparation for the two day spectacular.


Crowds started pouring through the gates at just after 10am and the show was officially opened at 11.30am.

With marching bands, horse jumping, food demonstrations and visits from some well-known faces there was something for everyone at this year's show.

The marquees were packed with plants and blooms, including hundreds which had been specially grown just for the event, which is now in its 128th year and which is recognised by the Guinness Book of Records as the world’s longest running Flower Show in one location.

If the success of the show could be measured by the number of smiles then the 2015 extravaganza was a huge hit.

Stephen Kynaston, chairman of Shropshire Horticultural Society which organises the show, said: "It has been a fantastic year, this year. We have a breath-taking selection of floral displays, we have appearances by our celebrity gardener Pippa Greenwood and our celebrity chef Tom Kerridge plus a full programme of arena entertainments. 

"The Shropshire Horticultural Society was honoured this year to be awarded The Queen's Award for Voluntary Service. It highlights the fact that so much of our marvellous Flower Show is achieved through the efforts of unpaid volunteers. All members of our general committee, all our stewards and many others freely give up their time and expertise. I would like to thank them all for their efforts."

There were show gardens, which exhibitors had been preparing for days beforehand had been planning for months.

This included a garden called Time is Ticking by the British Ironworks Centre in Oswestry.

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Nancy Estry from the Plant Heritage Shropshire Group

Designed by Emma Parry the garden was planted with a range of red, orange, yellow and white flowers and showed the passing of time in the context of climate change.

Emma said: "I have spent four months on this garden and the design has changed several times. But the finished garden is one which shows the representational effects of climate change using colour and time.

"I am really pleased with the overall effect and think it has worked really well."

Shropshire Permaculture Gardeners had come up with a natural, low cost and low-maintenance garden which featured multi-functional plants interweaved with simple design techniques which worked together to bring to show how gardening can work in harmony with people, the environment and wildlife.

There were hundreds of trophies and prizes up for grabs at the show for fruit, flowers and vegetables. From the professional florist to the amateur gardener there was something for everyone of all abilities. 

One winner was Plant Heritage Shropshire group with their Romany gypsy inspired garden.

The garden came away with a handful of prizes and trophies including the Shrewsbury Cup for best exhibit of hardy plants and the William Andrews Cup for best display featuring water.

Designer Nancy Estry said: "I am absolutely delighted that all of our hard work has been recognised. We all put a lot of time and effort in to this display. I am very happy we won."

Judge Kevin Gunnell from Ellesmere was casting his expert eye over the floral exhibits. He said: "The standard of this year's entrants has been exceptional. The entries have been very high and I have been very impressed."

And while the rain clouds emptied over the Quarry some were able to find shelter in marquees where experts were on hand to impart their knowledge on a variety of topics ranging from how to keep the perfect house plants and organic gardening to the art of exhibiting and wildlife gardening.

In the lecture marquee a special Gardener's Question Time took place featuring BBC expert Pippa Greenwood and there were also flower arranging demonstrations and advice on growing trees, begonias and orchids.

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Donald Wright, who has been exhibiting at the show since 1956, with his granddaughter Abby

Lucy Grayston, 15 and her sister Amy Grayston, 12 who were attending the show with their grandmother Mary Robertson were enjoying the show. Lucy said: "We come every year, usually on a Friday and it is really good. The weather didn't put us off today. It is a very good show. The displays are wonderful and there is a great atmosphere. As the day has gone on it has got busier."

Dot Boothby, 66, had travelled to the show with her 67-year-old husband Bob. Both keen amateur gardeners the couple were particularly impressed with the blooms on display.

"It is a great show," said Bob. "We come every year and are always very impressed with the standard of the show. Despite the weather we are having a wonderful time."

For those who braved the rain showers the bandstand was the place to head for some rousing music. The Royal Corps of Signals (Northern Band) and The Yorkshire Volunteers Band and kept show-goers entertained with a selection of music including scores from the movies and some dance hall favourites.

Muddy conditions underfoot in the main arena didn't cause a problem for the show jumping programme which got off to a flying start.

The arena was the staging for the Knights of the Damned which provided a modern day highly coloured costumed display of Medieval jousting showing off their stunts, high speed action and skilled horsemanship.

Other arena attractions included Jason Smyth, stunt rider extraordinaire who performed some death defying stunts high above the crowd. He jumped from ramp to ramp while completing aerial tricks and performed some street style tricks all while keeping up a running commentary with the crowd. There was also Dingle Fingle, Ye Olde Redtail Falconry display and Bob Hogg and his ducks, dogs and lambs.

The entertainment stretched in to the night with Ancora performing before the show finale of a massed bands display and the fireworks.​

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