Shrewsbury Flower Show: Plant lovers pack Quarry despite grey skies
Thousands of people are in Shrewsbury's Quarry park today for the opening of the 131st flower show.
Plant lovers and exhibitors from all over the UK have travelled to Shropshire for a celebration of all things floral at one of the biggest horticultural events in the country.
And despite grey skies, queues lined Town Walls this morning as families, coach parties and tourists waited to enter the Quarry.
Headline names at the two-day event include award-winning garden designer Penny Meadmore and Gardeners’ World favourite Chris Beardshaw.
WATCH our video from behind the scenes of the event here:
Food fans are also in for a treat, with appearances from Dragons’ Den entrepreneur Levi Roots on Friday and television chef and Saturday Kitchen presenter Matt Tebbutt on Saturday.
The main Quarry Marquee is hosting some of the country's top horticulturalists, with more than 50 exhibitors vying for awards. Meanwhile various societies, amateur growers and bee and honey exhibitors are showing off their creations in the Severn Marquee.
And as is tradition, both Saturday and Sunday will finish with the show's famous fireworks display at 9.45pm.
There's plenty on offer for shoppers too - from the dedicated Craft Marquee to the vibrant Artisan Area showcasing talented locals and their handmade goods.
In the main market there's a wide variety of goods on offer from bulbs, garden tools to fabulous jewellery and lovely clothing.
Speaking ahead of the event, chair of the Shrewsbury Flower Show marketing committee, Amanda Jones, said: “There is a reason why Shrewsbury Flower Show is the longest-running flower show in the world – this year sees the 131st show in fact.
"That is largely down to the fantastic programme each year – with something to keep all of the family occupied.
“Children go free and we’ve got a fantastic free children’s area too so from toddlers to grandparents, and anyone in between – it really is a fun, family day out.
“This year promises to be no different, so we’d urge anyone, whether they’re new to the show or a returning visitor, to book their tickets and mark the date in their diary to ensure they don’t miss out on a fantastic summer day out.
"All of the schedules for the floral art and amateur growers have now gone out. We will be excited to see the huge range of exhibits across the show.”
The musical line-up is as also just as strong with the Abba Reunion Tribute performing on Friday night and Red Hot Chilli Pipers combining bagpipes and rock on Saturday.
In the arena, The Cavalry of Heroes' display will mark the100th anniversary of the end of World War One.
A special show has been created to remember the role that horses and soldiers played in The Great War, with tricks and stunts on horseback.
Elsewhere, garden designer Chris Beardshaw, who won Best Show Garden at this year’s Chelsea Flower Show, is running children’s planting sessions with David Hatfield and Penny Meadmore. Children can start their horticultural education and also get a free plant to take home with them.
Other family entertainment includes magician Malcolm Malan, Jack Teller’s Carnival of Delights and soap carving with Shropshire Woodcarvers.
Animals from Walford College are also in the park, along with chickens and ducks from Chucks N Ducks. Little Rascals are providing a Disco Dome and soft play area and Shrewsbury Rugby Club is hosting a rugby skills area.
There's also a craft tent, a giant inflatable obstacle course and a circus skills area with face painting and a balloon modeller.
For those looking for something a bit quieter, children can take part in bookmark making with Shropshire illustrator and author Emma Lawrence, while Bookfest is running a book exchange.
Our reporter Jordan Reynolds is at the Flower Show: