The sun shone, the bands played and a prince arrived in a horse drawn carriage.
This set the scene for a show held within the impressive grounds of HM the Queens Norfolk retreat, Sandringham House, glimpses of which could be seen through the magnificent trees and across the lake.
The royal standard flies above the marquee to signal the arrival of TRH The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall.
While the tens of thousands of visitors to the 133rd Sandringham Flower Show enjoyed the glorious weather the exhibitors and stall holder were doing brisk business.
Key features of the show included the Royal Marquees where the floral and vegetable displays were wonderfully diverse and showed the creativity of local people.
The judges inspecting the outdoor show gardens that highlighted the skills of local landscape designers and contractors who had only a few days to complete their work.
Mathew Johnston from Bircham Trees & Landscaping Ltd wins a gold medal for his first ever show garden. His entry attracted an award from the show committee that will help him as he starts his horticultural career after completing his recent college training.
There were many trade stands at this year’s show selling a great display of quality plants, sundries and gardens ornaments to satisfy every style and size of garden. These ranged from alpines to apples, netting cloches and glasshouses to beautiful timber seats and statuary. The main trading areas were decoratively laid out and busy with customers all day long.
Other attractions included traction engines powering an old fairground ride, vintage machinery for mowing or cultivating and even the regional tortoise club who’s members bought along their tiny and giant tortoises. The main arena events gave displays to keep visitors amused, with marching bands, very agile dogs and even a daring motorbike display team followed by an impressive horse riding show. During the afternoon the good weather allowed the rare ‘Grace’ Spitfire to take to the skies and give an enthralling flying display over the show ground with some high level manoeuvres followed by low level fly pasts and rolls, the roar of the engine evoking memories and thrills for every visitor on the site.
Alan Mason and Chris Beardshaw gave an entertaining double act presentation on garden design
There was also an large marquee with seating for over four hundred people to sit and listen to a varied programme of talks and demonstrations throughout the day. Most of the performances were to a full house, including the Gardeners Question Time that I was invited to be on the panel with Chris Beardshaw, Nick Hamilton and Martyn Davey and chaired by Alan Mason.
The Sandringham Flower Show is often referred to as ‘the largest one day village show in the country’, this is probably correct, what is certain is that it provides visitors with a full day of gardening delights, the opportunity to talk to many knowledgeable growers and landscapers and listen to the bands playing the best of English music.
All this in one of the most wonderful settings for a summer show, there was even a cricket match on the Sandringham pitch. Britain at its best, I think.