The show got off to a flying start on the Friday with special guest Christine Walkden delighting visitors in the Garden Theatre with her gardening expertise and book signing session. With advance festival ticket sales up on last year, 22,000 visitors had flooded through the gates by Sunday afternoon.
Exhibitors were going for gold with a record number of large gold awards presented on Friday. All five festival show gardens won large gold, with judges commenting; “Rarely do we see a full offering of equally high entries, built to extremely high quality. It was an absolute joy and privilege to select the best from the best.” – Chris Arnold, official judge.
Best in Show was awarded to Sharp Paving Ltd for their garden ‘It’s All Water Under the Bridge’. Judges commented on the incredible thought and consideration that had gone in to planting and innovation of all designs.
St Mary’s Hospice worked round the clock to prepare their first ever show garden at the festival and were delighted to be presented with a large gold award. Their ‘Garden of Reflection’ marks their 25th anniversary and was created with the help of local landscape gardener, Fiona Thomas from Askam in Furness, to help raise awareness of the important work done by the charity in South Cumbria. £1000 was raised when Lord Cavendish had a go on the festival helter skelter, all in aid of St Mary’s Hospice!
Eleven large golds were awarded in the Horticultural Marquee with Charlie Clarke from Westdale Nursery winning The Lady Cavendish award. Best in Show (up to 15’ length) went to Philip Tivey & Son and Best in Show (over 15’ length) was awarded to Chrysanthemums Direct.
Jillian Rouse, festival manager comments; “The high praise from the judges was lovely to hear and we’re absolutely delighted with how magnificent the show gardens and Horticultural Marquee looked. It’s the first time all of the show gardens have all won large gold together here at Holker! Well done to all of the exhibitors and designers involved. “
Jillian continues “What a fantastic weekend it’s been. There was a wonderful atmosphere on the showground with smiles all round. The sun came out with glorious blue skies. Show gardens and exhibitor stands looked fantastic, and a record number of large gold awards were presented. Christine Walkden was a wonderful addition to Friday’s show and incredibly popular with the crowds. So many visitors commented on how lovely she is and such a great success in the Garden Theatre with every seat taken for her talk! After months of preparation it’s wonderful to see everyone having fun down on the showground. It’s definitely been a festival to remember!”
The Ilex Bar & BrasserieOpen for lunches - including a very special Sunday lunch -
This weekend’s damp weather didn’t affect the fiery fun at Holker with a full house for the chilli eating competitions hosted by Darth Naga. A packed Courtyard watched on as 10 competitors (on each day) took part in the lively competition. Saturday’s competition was the most entertaining yet with Darth commenting it was best one he had ever hosted - humorous contestants were encouraged by the lively crowd - with Jordan from Barrow taking centre stage. Joint winners took the trophy on Saturday and Ed Duffy was crowned Sunday’s winner after reaching around 250,000 scovilles.