The inaugural Ascot Spring Garden Show, held 13 to 15 April 2018, has been widely welcomed by the horticultural industry, gardening media, exhibitors and the green fingered public as a blooming success.
The six professional show gardens won wide acclaim from the gardening community, the leaders of regional garden centres and horticultural organisations including the Horticultural Exhibitors’ Association (HEA), the National Garden Scheme (NGS), Association of Professional Landscapers (APL), gardening charities Perennial and Greenfingers and The Crown Estate.
Amongst the professional show gardens, Pip Probert of Outer Spaces won the ‘People’s Choice Award’ for her ‘Yardley Flower Garden’ designed for and sponsored by Yardley, London.
The public also welcomed the Young Gardeners of the Year Competition featuring six gardens, designed and staged by students of competing horticultural colleges. Expert garden industry judges praised all six college teams for their gardens, noting their ingenuity and innovation – each with a subtle nod to the venue’s horse racing heritage – and voted Capel Manor College’s student garden the ‘Best in Show’.
The show’s many trade exhibitors offered an array of top-quality garden buildings, greenhouses, sculpture, statuary, handmade terracotta pots, garden tools and equipment. Exhibitors in all categories reported a roaring trade.
Alastair Warwick, chief operating officer, Ascot Racecourse, added: “Company-wide we are delighted with the blooming success of the inaugural Ascot Spring Garden Show. To see the event spring to life on our famous lawns after two years of planning and development was a fantastic moment in the racecourse’s history. This is the first event we have launched on this scale that is not horse racing and we are hugely grateful to all those involved in making the show such a resounding success.
“Customer feedback has been incredibly positive so far and our exhibitor feedback demonstrates that we delivered an event that offers the gardening community the inspiration, advice and guidance they want at a key planning time of year. Thanks must also go to the Crown Estate for supporting the show, right from the seed of an idea to its execution, and Thames Hospice who welcomed visitors warmly on arrival and did a fantastic job of manning the plant crèche. Their work in the region is outstanding and I am pleased to say we contributed £3,144 from ticket sales with the charity taking a further £3,900 from their retail shop and plant crèche which takes the collective total to more than £7,000 – a significant amount that will support their work across the community.
“I very much look forward to next year’s show where we will use all exhibitor, customer and industry feedback to shape and build on the success of this year’s event.”
Stephen Bennett, consultant to the show and former shows director at the Royal Horticultural Society, concluded: “The first Ascot Spring Garden Show was a blinder. Superb, blooming show gardens, excellent standards of horticulture in the Plant Village, a fabulous range of top-quality garden products and services, a popular Talks Theatre and the ‘Young Gardeners of the Year’ competition supported by the Prince’s Foundation. Held in association with the Crown Estate and the Gardens of Windsor Great Park, this is a show that is here to stay for the long term. It has already set industry standards for comfort, shopping and enjoyment and the space, grace and style of the superbly equipped Ascot Racecourse makes this the most enjoyable garden show in the UK.”
Save the date: Friday 12 to Sunday 14 April 2019