Thursday, 27 April 2017

Harrogate Flower Show

A coronet of fresh and fragrant flowers

A sunny day, a birthday voucher for Sally, a day out at the Harrogate Flower Show. Who knew that the world of flowers could be so competitive and cut-throat? Thousands, clearly, judging from our visit to the 2017 Harrogate Flower Show.
Away before me to sweet beds of flowers;
Love thoughts lie rich when canopied with bowers
Occupying a section of the show ground for the Great Yorkshire Show, the event featured plenty to see (and smell and experience) in the way of garden designs, plants, flower arrangements and creative interpretations. Northern colleges produced weird car bonnet floral displays. There was an awesome section called HortCouture which presented fabulously unique costumes in flower and nature designs. New Zealander Jenny Gillies’s creations were stunning. A night at the Oscars was celebrated with platforms inspired by particular films. Historical themes were interpreted, specific challenges were offered, fashion designers were celebrated. Food and drink were easy to come by and, being in Yorkshire, typically eclectic. We enjoyed champagne with sausage rolls and pie. The comments of the judges were left for people to see and it was fascinating to hear visitors argue with each other about what the judges had written. I went with few expectations really, just a pleasant day out, and came away with the sense that flower shows are gladitatorial and epic.

These flowers are like the pleasures of the world

“Here’s a few flowers” says Belarius in Cymbeline planning a forest burial for a dead boy that he has known only for a short time. As ever in Shakespeare there are depths and complications with this flowery event. We know that the boy is a girl and that she isn’t dead but drugged with a potion that simulates death. We also know that she is the sister of Belarius’s two sons, reared in the forest wild. We also know that Belarius effectively kidnapped the boys so he is nobody’s father, just a good man who made a drastic decision and has now become a solid and beloved (adoptive, woodland) father. And to tighten the spring even further, in comes the two boys to add another body to the grave, a headless corpse of someone that, given the chance, would have raped the boy/girl. But now he’s (literally) lost his head. “Here’s a few flowers” – a simple line but concealing a world of passion and drama. “Harrogate Flower Show” – a simple-sounding event but containing battles and creations and inventions and judgements and tears and laughter. Who knew? (I do, now.)