AGM & Members Weekend – Harrogate 2017

Many thanks to our Yorkshire group for the wonderful 2017 AGM, based in Harrogate, with some excellent garden visits and talks.  Particular thanks go to Richard Laurence, Cathryn Denby, Dean Lockwood, Simon Crawford and Ruth Wood.

Plus many thanks to Pat Cooke from Floral Tours for organising the event.

The weekend kicked off with a very successful Plant Exchange, thanks to the incredible work of members and coordinators, and Lloyd Kenyon for pulling it all together. Despite the interesting additional factor of being on the first floor, plants came up safely in the lift from the car park loaded on some rather magnificent luggage trolleys! Plants in an array of trays and boxes made a fantastic display of over 1200 plants, many of which are rare and unusual enough to be considered for inclusion in the Plant Guardian scheme.

Also on Friday, members enjoyed a guided talk by Paul Cook, Curator of Harlow Carr on a beautiful sunny day.  Of particular note were the fabulous tulips, the stream and the colourful glasshouse.

That evening, members enjoyed a three-course buffet dinner followed by a talk from John Grimshaw about establishing his Yorkshire garden with his fabulous collection of plants.

Saturday morning started with a comprehensive talk from Robin Graham of Drointon Nurseries about being a Collection Holder in a commercial nursery and asking the question “Is there a conflict of interest?” To which the answer is overwhelmingly, no. He then went on to talk about types and classifications of Primula auricula. Drointon put on a charming and colourful display of their auriculas, using the traditional auricula theatre.

IMG_6740For the formal AGM there was a presentation from Chairman, Mike Buffin; followed by a presentation of the accounts by CEO Sarah Quarterman.  Next was a conservation update from Plant Conservation Officer, Sophie Leguil,  highlighting the  Collections review, the recent Collection Holders  conference and Plant Guardian updates,  followed a Q&A session.

The first visit on Saturday took members to a small nursery near York with a garden developed over time by Vanessa Cook, who at one time was the Chairman of the Yorkshire Group. The nursery provided ample opportunities for purchasing unusual plants and the garden was a patchwork of colours and borders.  Plus the cake was superb.

The second visit was to the private garden of George Smith MBE the famous flower arranger. He welcomed members personally, provided tea and biscuits and there was ample time to explore the 3 acre garden hidden within walls close to the University of York.  With a tremendous canopy of trees providing foliage, colour and form it was clear that there was an artist’s eye at work.  The planting was a combination of woodland and herbaceous with meandering paths between trees and ponds.

Saturday evening brought a talk from Martin Walker, former head gardener of York Gate Gardens and on Sunday morning, some members went on to enjoy a visit there, while others departed for the journey home.



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