His & Hers loves all things summery that involve outdoor events, flowers and food. We look forward to afternoon teas in garden terraces, festivals and celebrating the great outdoors in August. The Southport Flower Show generates dazzling show gardens, expert garden celebrities, diverse entertainment and sheer fun.
Feature by Jean Hill
There is always a warm welcome on arrival at the Show. A map and programme help visitors organise the day. The options are many and all tempting. First the Show Gardens. Circles of strength, a garden based around a woman’s journey through the menopause was stand-out. Intertwining circles led down a pathway that gets easier to navigate with planting that highlighted remedies. Carolyn Hardern the designer, had her own menopause journey to navigate and that is what inspired the garden.
Professional gardeners gathered to entertain and offer advice. Amongst those this year were Katie Rushworth of ‘Love Your Garden’ who has helped to transform over 100 gardens and believes the best gardens reflect their owners. My own garden is wild and overflowing with flowers, fruit and vegetables. Chaotic really.
James Wong is a broadcaster and best selling author who learnt his craft at the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew. He shares his tiny flat with 500 houseplants and has a wealth of invaluable advice on plant care. His is an abiding love affair with indoor planting.
The ‘Take a Breath’ show garden was a ‘breathtaking’ display of nature, viewed through a window into the garden. This was an invitation to enjoy the spectacle through a lens. There were scents wafting in on the breeze, as well as hydrangeas, cosmos and rudbeckia in the garden space. It was an opportunity to reflect, pause and appreciate natural beauty.
The ‘Hedgehog Friendly’ show garden was created to raise awareness of the plight of the declining hedgehog population in the UK. Gardeners were advised how to adapt their garden spaces into a hedgehog friendly environment.
The ‘Inside Out’ garden moved indoor entities such as a couch, beautiful cast-iron fire-place with ornate tiles, mirror, dining table and chairs and even a bath outside. It was like walking through a home, but all open to the elements, with overhanging blue sky.
We visited the Cookery Theatre with Brian Mellow as host. We were lucky enough to catch Jemma Melvin who won the Fortnum and Mason’s Platinum Pudding competition. She is the creator of the Platinum Jubilee Trifle. She produced this for last year’s demonstration. This year she demonstrated making biscuits decorated with flowers. I left clutching recipe cards, which were works of art.
An exhibit that we found truly stunning was created by Edda Community Arts. It convincingly and beautifully portrayed bricks and mortar and metal (in fact all paper based), interspersed with lovely flowers. Edda is associated to Bridge Inn Community Farm. The aim is to come together to form a community and to see beyond disability. There is a library, viewed as a community hub, music workshops, dance workshops and a theatre for performing arts. The Community Farm offers training in horticulture with extensive fruit and vegetable beds. Spoilt for choice really.
We discovered ‘Wood Like to Play’ premium wooden toys. They produce beautifully crafted wooden jigsaws with a difference. I bought one that is quite large, shaped and painted in the form of a train, interspersed with the letters of the alphabet and numbers. The pieces have substantial width and many cute animals and little people travel on the train.
We left, laden down with flowers, bulbs, hanging baskets and a painting. A day well spent, enjoying all that the Southport Flower Show has to offer. Next year will be the 100th anniversary: 15th to 18th August 2024. Early bird tickets are available for £18 until the end of September 2023. Children under 16 go free.