Oh my goodness, the weather gods just conspire to toy with the Harrogate Spring Flower Show yet again. Last year and the year before, spring was so early, the bulbs and their prize blooms had come, gone, left wilted leaves and frazzled the flowers. plus it was bloomin' freezing, so ice cream sales were at an all-time low too. There was talk of the show being held earlier, but glaciers are quicker to move than committees when it comes to making decisions and not everyone believes in global warming, so the mid-April date was retained.
The 'Arctic' winter and late spring this year has held back the daffodils and tulips, the mainstay of the show perfect timing for the organisers, if truth be told. The horticulturists headed for Harrogate last night to set out their stalls, stroke the petals of their prized flowers and get ready for their own victory dance. It's a competitive world, flower-showing, with some cunning tricks played, ranging from hidden wires up daffodil stems to keep them straight to a refined version of Mr Sheen to keep petals shiny, though that does make them smell suspiciously of polish.
But overnight, temperatures plummeted and the blooms, lovingly displayed on green baize shelves in the huge halls, froze in their vases. My in-laws arrived shortly after 7am to find their fellow daffodil and tulip growers ferrying their flowers outside to thaw them out in the sunshine. With judging just two hours away they had to work fast, little mini hairdryers for the well-prepared, heavy breathing with hot breath for those without a socket. It was a close thing, but most made it. The show went on.
We arrived completely oblivious to all the fuss, we were of course delighted that mother-in-law Wendy had scooped an armful of prizes, including a couple of firsts, but personally I was on the look-out for good coffee and nik-naks I knew I'd never be able to live without. We left with an armful of useful garden-related products including a windchime which plays in an attractive minor key and should complement the thrum of the traffic from the nearby main road.
And we found good-ish coffee, served from the back of a camper van.