Newspaper and bubble wrap ensured another Best in Show for Morton growers Southfield Nurseries.
Though the chilly night-time temperatures meant Linda and Bryan Goodey had to protect their cacti and succulents with the emergency insulation material, the judges at Harrogate Flower Show were impressed.
“We were very pleased to get Best in Show,” said Linda, “though we didn’t expect it, but it was a real thrill.”
In fact, Linda only learned of their success when she arrived at the show one morning to remove the layers of paper and saw the trophy next to their exhibit.
She said: “It was just standing in front of the stand, which was still wrapped up from the night before, so it was a bit of a shock.
“We actually had Best in Show two years ago and prior to that it’s quite a long time since we had it, but it doesn’t matter. Every time is very special.”
The late spring weather meant Southfield Nurseries was able to exhibit two groups of plants that have normally finished flowering by the time of the Harrogate show.
The plants, Stenocactus and Thelocactus, with flowers in white, pinks and mauves in a variety of shades and flower forms, made the display stand out even more than usual, as well as being of interest to specialists and the general public.
Though Linda and Bryan couldn’t bring their trophy home, they were presented with a Best in Show award card, which they will frame and hang alongside their other certificates, including those from RHS Chelsea Flower Show.
The couple have gained a Best in Show or Premier Gold award each time they have exhibited at Chelsea, and that has been as many as 28 or 30 years.
They will exhibit again at Chelsea this year, but before then they have to be ready for the Malvern show today.
Linda said: “There is a lot to do because, apart from the shows, we have a shop on the internet and send plants out in the post, so it’s a busy time, and there is looking after the plants. We are quite relieved we have a quick turn around for Malvern though because it gives us longer to get ready for Chelsea.”