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Arley celebrates 25th garden festival in style


GARDEN enthusiasts turned out in force for the 25th Arley Garden Festival last weekend.

Around 5,000 people joined the celebration of horticulture, which has blossomed since it was first held in 1994.

Event organiser Helen Begent said it had been a special occasion for visitors and staff alike.

“We have a great team here and some of them have worked on every festival since it first ran,” she said.

“It wouldn’t be possible without all the wonderful nurseries, traders and obviously visitors who support us every year.”

One of the most popular features of the show is the Schools’ Garden Competition, which sees local children create show gardens with a theme of their choice.

Judges decided this year’s best entry was Bollin Primary School’s ‘Rapunzel Tower Garden’, which was grown only from seeds that can be eaten.

Another winner was Mobberley-based Chique Afrique who were presented with the Lady Ashbrook Award in recognition of their stunning display of stone sculptures sourced from Zimbabwe.

“It’s an honour to receive an award like this, especially as there were so many stunning stands and displays at the festival this year,” said owner James Heathcock.

In the Floral Marquee numerous gold, silver-gilt and silver medals were awarded. Displays ranged from colourful cactus to super sweet peas.

Among the nine gold medal winners were Sally Melvin, Anne Evans and Marie Cunniff of Cheshire Area of NAFAS with their presentation called ‘A Garden Wedding’.

“Everywhere you looked there were beautiful displays of flowers and people buying lots of plants for their own gardens,” said Helen.

“It was great to see everything come together so well in our 25th year and even the weather was kind.”

Internationally-renowned garden designer Tom Stuart-Smith gave a special lecture to mark the occasion.

Internationally-renowned garden designer Tom Stuart-Smith with Lord Ashbrook


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Experienced journalist for more than 35 years. Managing Director of magazine publishing group with six in-house titles and on-line daily newspaper for Warrington. Experienced writer, photographer, PR consultant and media expert having written for local, regional and national newspapers. Specialties: PR, media, social networking, photographer, networking, advertising, sales, media crisis management. Patron Tim Parry Johnathan Ball Foundation for Peace. Trustee Warrington Disability Partnership. Former Chairman of Warrington Town FC.

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