A sunny day at Southport Flower Show

I love a day out at a flower show.  It is one of my favourite things to do.  A day of wandering around (hopefully in good weather), chatting with a friend, looking at lots of gardeny-stuff and probably coming home with plants and stuff.  There are a couple of flower shows that have long been on my list of 'must visit' and Southport Flower Show was high on this list.

I have never been able to visit previously as this week in my day job is one of the busiest if not the busiest of the year.  In recent years my responsibilities have changed a bit (not negatively) and I suddenly had the realisation that I probably could disappear for one day.  So in 2020 I was determined, this was the year I would finally get to the Southport show.  Regular readers might also remember that I am very fond of Southport.  I have visited the town a few times and I really like it there.  Of course 2020 was not going to happen because of the pandemic, so then I got hopeful for 2021, sadly it was still not to be.  This year though, this year I was not going to be stopped.  I planned the day and with my daughter we set off up North.  It is a bit of a schlepp from where I live, but well worth the journey.

The day was warm, sunny and with a nice breeze.  We made sure we said hello to the sea, as we both live nearly as far from any coast as you can get, the seaside is very much a special thing.  We parked easily and wandered over to the show site.  There were lots of people in hi-viz waving and pointing and smiling and making sure that people knew which way to go and didn't get run over as the constant stream of people bee-lined for the entrance.

We got distracted almost immediately by the Pangea metal sculpture stand that was close by the Liverpool Live Radio stand.  They had all sorts of sculptures of animals and things for sale, including this humongous robot that I felt I should have known who it was, but admit I don't.  It is very wonderful nonetheless.

Southport Rugby Arboretum garden designed by John Gillow

and then we started wandering through the show.  We followed the path around the show and then went up and down and across so that we had a good view of all there was.  This took some time.  This is a Tardis of a show.  It is sort of not that big and yet there are lots of things to see, buy and do.  We paused for lunch by the arena to watch the bird of prey demonstration.  It was fascinating and when the the Steppe Eagle flew into the nearby trees we got concerned for our lunch; 'its not a prey animal' we heard the man say, 'it will not carry off small dogs, it likes dead meat'.  We decided our scotch eggs we had bought from the nearby food tent were dead meat and got ready to sacrifice them to the eagle if it flew our way.  The eagle returned to its owner swooping quite close by.  It was a marvellous creature to see so close up.
This is the MacMillan Cancer Support Garden 'Growing Legacy' designed by Max Murrell and Sarah Craft.  I think this was my favourite of the gardens.  I liked the wild planting.
The feature in the garden I thought was very effective.  I would like this in my garden.
The Southport u3a garden 'Celebrating 40 years of 'Learn, Laugh Live' designed by the Southport u3a Garden Group was rather lovely and included cake.  Always a good thing to have in a garden.
I loved the picket fence with 'lolly stick' jokes written along them.
I really liked the 'Schools Design a Garden' gardens.  This is by Eve Archer, Cottam Primary School.  It is a fabulous garden with some great details.
Isn't this little gnome/fairy grotto lovely?
I liked this inclusion of water as well, always so important for wildlife and using a half barrel like this is so doable.  It does not take up a lot of room so if you are short of space it could be a solution.
This is the 'Schools Design a Garden' by Chloe Stirling Dawpool CE Primary School garden.  This is a superb garden, so well proportioned and well planted.  I thought it was great.
We had a 'Wizard of Oz' moment looking at the hot air balloon.
Next on our 'must do' list was to visit the Floral Marquee which was packed with temptation.  I spent overlong at the Dibleys stand.  They had this huge display which was just awesome.
It's not often I get distracted by vegetables but this pak choi 'Colour Crunch Mix' on one of the stands was so pretty.
Isn't this sunflower display amazing?
Look at the adorable sunflower bee resting on the edge.
I loved the fair ground display.  There were quite a lot of people at the show, more people than I think I have seen in quite a while and yet there felt to be space enough.
We wandered into the floristry tent.  I loved this which has used leaves/petals to make 'fabric' panels.  So clever and so pretty.
I liked this one too.  It is pretty.  I have no understanding of these displays I just know that it is beyond my abilities yet I enjoy how creative people can be.
Onwards we went into the Amateur Growers tent where these blousy begonias caught our eye.  I have never grown this type of begonia .... yet ....... I am sure it is a matter of time.
and look at this magnificent specimen.
and this frog is fabulous.
There were lots of plant nurseries to peruse, always my favourite part of any show.
I bought some plants (rude not to). I bought: Zanthoxylum simulans (sechuan pepper), a plant I had been after for quite a while.  A Buddleja globosa, another plant I have wanted for a while.  The Blepharocalyx cruckshankii which has very scented flowers jumped into the basket and then the Poncirus trifolilata was a free gift as I had spent the required amount.  I have had one of these Poncirus previously some years ago but sadly I killed it.  I am hoping to do better this time.
A couple of air plants demanded to come home with me and.....
A small metal Liver Bird which had caught my eye at the metal sculpture stand mentioned above just had to be bought.  But what is your Liverpool connection I hear you ask?  Absolutely none but I have happy memories of watching The Liver Birds when I was growing up (old tv reference, google it) and so it just had to be bought.  It perched in a tree when I got it home and as it seemed happy there, there it shall stay for now.

I had the most fantastic day at the Southport Flower Show.  I now know what I really had been missing all these years of wanting to go and not getting there.  It is now a firm fixture in my garden show list and I will be returning next year.  

Southport Flower Show 18th-22nd August 2022 10am-6pm. 

Take care and be kind.

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