Shrewsbury Flower Show: Thousands expected on second day despite chance of rain
Thousands are expected to flock to Shrewsbury Flower Show today as it draws to a close.
The annual show, which began at The Quarry yesterday, is one of the most popular events held throughout Shropshire.
The rain failed to dampen the mood yesterday as thousands still poured into the show armed with umbrellas and waterproof jackets.
And although there is some sunshine this morning, the Met Office is again predicting rain for this afternoon.
Clouds are expected to form around midday before the rain starts falling around 8pm, potentially continuing into the early hours of the morning.
The temperature is expected to peak around 18C (64F) but will remain steady at 16C (61F) throughout the day.
Top names at this year's flower show include celebrity gardeners Chris Beardshaw and Penny Meadmore, Dragons’ Den entrepreneur Levi Roots and television chef Matt Tebbutt.
As well as exhibitions from some of the country’s top horticulturalists, amateur growers and students, there is free entertainment for children, arts and crafts, and a main arena of show jumping and tribute bands all followed by the show’s famous fireworks display as the evenings draw to a close.
Amanda Jones, chairwoman of the marketing subcommittee of the Shropshire Horticultural Society, said: “There are some beautiful displays in the marquees, including ones from local businesses.
"I look after all the social media and it’s really to read all the lovely things people say about the show online. It’s not all older people, it’s youngsters too, and people come from a long long way away, they just love it.”
Interacting with Levi
Yesterday Levi Roots cooked a chicken curry on stage in the morning and jerk chicken in the afternoon, and met fans to pose for pictures afterwards.
He said: “I used to do a lot before Dragons’ Den, and that was 11 years ago, I’d come here as a visitor.
“In the really early days I used to come to the Shires to try and show off the brand, so now it’s inspirational to come back with my experience.
"It was fantastic to see how enthusiastic people were afterwards asking questions.
"It’s all about how interactive the audience is and today they were very interactive.
“I’ve got a lovely garden in London but so far the only plant I have is an avocado plant so I might look for some more here.”
An exhibitor from Telford has been coming to the show for the last 17 years and won the second finest display in show this year.
Mike King’s sarracenias came second after winning last year.
Mr King said: “This is the only show I do, I’ve got about 4,000 plants in my main collection but I chose the best 150 for the display here.
“I was very very pleased to come second, it was a fine line between us and the one who came first, as last year we won and they came second.”
Meanwhile, the display that was crowned the best was a show of streptacarpus and foliage begovas from Dibleys in Ruthin, North Wales.
Owner Rex Dibley has been displaying at the show for 42 years, and said he was “chuffed”.
He said: “Behind the display is a picture of the mountains in South Africa because that’s where the streptacarpus come from.
"We do all the major shows and have quite a few cups now. It gradually started as a hobby and it grew from there.”
Outside the Quarry Marquee were displays from schools, including a train made up of carriages created by 13 different schools and a large clock face created by students at Shrewsbury Academy.
Mark Jones, teacher at the school, said students from Year 7 to Year 11 had been working on the clock, which was celebrating 100 years since women got the vote.
WATCH: Behind-the-scenes video
Mr Jones said: “We run a gardening club at school and the Year 11 students designed the display and students of all ages spent hours creating it.
“We looked at female achievements throughout the last century, to mark the theme of Times Gone By.
"Each person on the clock represents a different decade in the last 100 years, and it all links in with the Suffragette movement. The students loved it, it was only finished on Thursday.”
Sara Lord, from Shrewsbury, was looking at a floral display made by schoolchildren with her two children Harrison, 12, and Auckland, nine.
The 37-year-old teaching assistant said: “We pretty much come every year, it’s a nice day out and there’s a bit of variety for all to enjoy. My son loves the food area and I like the craft. We normally come and stay for the whole day as there’s plenty to do.”
Harrison added: “I like to see the famous people, last year we saw John Torode.”
In the middle of the Quarry Marquee was a display of clocks from Newgate Clocks, based in Oswestry.
Chloe Read, one of Newgate’s directors, said: “We were asked to do a display this year as a one-off as this year’s theme is Times Gone By.
“Some of the clocks displayed have come from all over the world - America, Paris, Spain, our designs have moved on a lot since these.”
One floral display getting a lot of attention looked like a tropical rainforest, topped with mist and water.
Business Every Picture Tells a Story was awarded a large gold medal for its display of bromeliads.
Owner Dan Billington, from Liverpool, said the flowers are from the Americas.
He said: “The idea was to make it look like they are in their natural habitat.”
Various bands and choirs performed in the bandstand, including The Band of the Yorkshire Volunteers, Biddulph Male Voice Choir, The Band of the Yorkshire Regiment, and The Band of the Prince of Wales’s Division.
Debbie Walklet, from Horton, was sat watching the band with her mother Margaret Wheeler, 87, warming up with a cup of tea after a burst of rain.
Mrs Walklet, 57, said this is the first time her and her mother had been to the show.
The sales assistant said: “The weather has been brilliant for weeks, so we didn’t think it would rain for the show, but you have to make the most of it.
“The flowers are all beautiful, there are some really beautiful displays there.
“We’re planning to do some shopping at the end of the day so we don’t have to carry it around with us.”
The first day was set to finish with the traditional fireworks display at 9.45pm. The flower show will enter its second and final day on Saturday.