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GYS preview: Garden Show encourages visitors to have a go

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By Martin Fish, Garden writer, broadcaster and advisor

Next week sees the start of the Great Yorkshire Show. Although the show is recognized as the premier agricultural show in the UK, it also has its very own Garden Show that attracts a host of visitors and exhibitors over the three days.

More than 135,000 visitors are expected to visit what will be the 156th Great Yorkshire Show that runs from Tuesday to Thursday, July 8 to 10. Garden Show Steward Mike Prest said the 2014 event was focused on offering visitors more opportunities to roll up their sleeves and get involved. “

Our theme this year is ‘have-a-go’ and we want to make sure people really become involved and engaged in the Garden Show - from creating their own floral arrangements to tasting the fruit and vegetables produced in the popular ‘Meet the Growers’ section.”

For the first time, visitors are being offered the chance to take part in flower arranging classes organised by the National Association of Flower Arrangement Societies where they will be given flowers, a bowl and oasis, and offered tips and advice on how to create a stunning floral display.

Hundreds of schoolchildren from across the Yorkshire region have been growing fruit and vegetables in boxes provided by the Yorkshire Agricultural Society, and keeping diaries of their work. The top 15 boxes and all the diaries will be displayed at the Garden Show. Nigel Harrison and I will be judging the planted boxes and I’ll be awarding the Young Grower of the Year trophy to the winners at 1pm on Wednesday.

Throughout the three days, a host of gardening experts will be sharing their skills and offering advice to visitors on the Garden Show’s Main Stage. BBC Radio York will be hosting a Garden Forum each day where Nigel and I will answer as many gardening questions as possible.

There will also be a selection of gardening talks, including ‘trees for small gardens’ by Nigel and I’ll be talking about ‘growing and using herbs’. Hilary Dodson of the Northern Fruit Group will be offering tips on growing fruit and Ian Wood of Leeds and District Allotment Gardeners Federation will be discussing the history and future of allotments. Exhibitors include the National Dahlia Society, West Yorkshire Fuchsia Society, Garside Cacti and Derbyshire Bonsai will all be staging wonderful displays and battling it out for the Garden Show’s awards and prizes, including the prestigious Doncaster Cup.

This year HRH The Countess of Wessex will visit the event for the first time (Tuesday, July 8), and the following day, Wednesday, July 9, HRH The Princess Royal will be the guest of honour. I wonder if they’ll have a gardening question for us!? For more information, the latest news and advanced e-tickets for the Great Yorkshire Show (available on-line until Sunday, July 6) visit www.greatyorkshireshow.co.uk

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