Southport’s Summer Flower Show is Back at Last

Dahlias displayed as cupcakes at the Southport Flower Show
Dahlias displayed as cupcakes by The Dahlia Society’s Northern Committee

After a two-year hiatus, courtesy of the pandemic, the Southport Flower Show was back in style for its 91st year.  This northern show has something for everyone – even well-behaved dogs on leads are welcome. For those who couldn’t make it, here are some of my pictures:

Burgundy and silver leaf begonia leaves, Dibleys Nurseries stand, Southport
Dibleys Nurseries’ display of begonias with burgundy and silver leaves

Southport flower show poster 1936
Southport Flower Show Poster from 1936
Holden Clough's Southport Flower Show display
Holden Clough’s colourful display
Helter skelter with flowers, children and balloons
Bridge Inn Community Farm’s Helter skelter

The Southport Flower show is a great place for organisations to let us see what they do best. Bridge Inn Farm of Formby provides training in horticulture, agriculture and caring for animals for students who need extra help with learning. I loved their website’s description of how the art department ‘encourages students from all levels of ability to participate in a bewilderment of different media and approaches’.

In a world of bad news, it made my heart sing to read about their work which includes the EDDA community library, ‘rescued’ from closure due to Sefton Council’s budget cuts.

Helter skelter detail with rudbeckias
Yellow and brown orchid: Phalaenopsis 'Las Vegas'
Phalaenopsis ‘Las Vegas’
Phlox 'Olympus' with cream, green and purple foliage
Phlox ‘Olympus’ has variegated foliage, flushed with purple

A wide range of specialist nurseries and plant societies have interesting novelties on display as well as old and dependable favourites.

Billbergia 'Choco Mint' with chocolate and cream leaves
Billbergia ‘Choco Mint’ has unusual, blotchy leaves
Zantedeschia 'Captain Brunello' is a variable orange form with yellow and orange leaf markings
Zantedeschia ‘Captain Brunello’ has variable leaf markings
Hydrangea 'Limelight' with perennials
Hydrangea ‘Limelight’ with perennials

I enjoy seeing the plant combinations too.

Yellow and brown alstroemeria with grey petal tips
Alstroemeria with dark foliage and grey-tipped petals
Blooming Lovely design by Ann Coulton, Southport Flower Show
Blooming Lovely design by Ann Coulton

But my favourite part of the show is always the Floral Arts Marquee. I shared a teaser of this prize-winning design in my last post but thought a less impressionistic picture was merited.

Beneath the Waves: Shell with Celosia cristata by Kid Whitehead
Beneath the Waves: Shell with Celosia cristata by Kid Whitehead

I’m sure I’ll be tempted back to the Floral Arts section of the show in future posts, but here are a few details that caught my eye.

Arrangement of variegated foliage
Arrangement of variegated foliage by Lillian Bolland
Lavender rose in a floral design
Lavender rose
Dusky pink Gladiolus
Ornithogalum arabicum in an arrangement by Longton with Hutton Flower Club
Ornithogalum arabicum, Longton with Hutton Flower Club
Dyed Double Lisianthus 'Alissa Beau Bordeaux'
Lisianthus ‘Alissa Beau Bordeaux’

I was intrigued by this double Lisianthus (also known as Eustoma) with the burgundy-red veining. After some research, I found out that this is Lisianthus ‘Alissa Beau Bordeaux’ made using Lisianthus ‘Alissa White’ that has been organically dyed. I’m guessing that this is done by absorption: leaving the cut flowers to soak up water that has a dye added to it. I’ve never been keen on dyed flowers, but I loved this one when I saw it, giving me a quandary. Should the way a flower has been produced alter the pleasure we take in it?

Statue in flowers

Other attractions included the chance to shop for garden tools and ornaments; to see live birds of prey and farm animals; home-grown fruits, vegetables and flowers; baking and preserving competitions; music including Wigan’s ukulele band; and lots of very tempting food. If you’re there for Ladies’ Day, you can even marvel at hundreds of floral print dresses, modelled by showgoers.

So there you have it – inspirational, thought-provoking, good-spirited Southport Flower Show is over for another year. The organisers will be heaving a sigh of relief that it was so successful. It was good to see people out in the sunshine, enjoying themselves.

I hope you enjoyed it too!

33 Replies to “Southport’s Summer Flower Show is Back at Last”

  1. So many gorgeous flowers and great photos it’s hard to choose a favourite but I think it has to be the dahlia cupcakes, the arrangement is just stunning. I’ve been saying for several years that I would go to the flower show but I’d completely forgotten about it being back again this year until I read your previous post.

  2. All that and a ukulele band too? What wonders! I have so many favorites here that I would be guilty of gushing if I tried to name them all, but I am especially taken with “Helter Skelter.” A great name, and, it would appear, a great concept. Inspirational indeed! Of course I loved seeing the apple arrangement again — definitely worthy of another look!

    1. You could easily do a similar post on all the food if you were so inclined. I’m sure you’d find that part interesting, were a TARDIS to take you there for the afternoon.

      1. Oh, yes! Take me to the food! I’ve never lunched to a ukulele! On a different note (pun sort of intended), I’ve been hearing way too much about flooding in Mississippi. I hope your sweetheart is all right. It looks terrible.

        1. He asked me to assure you he’s ‘high and dry’ over here, but you’re right, it does look very bad in parts of the state. Thanks for your concern.

  3. Great photos as always. Although dyed the lisianthus looks natural, I suspect if the markings were any other colour: blue etc, I would hate it! Love the blotchy ‘choco mint’ billbergia though 😉

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