THE grey of winter has been left well and truly behind by the explosion of colour that is the annual Harrogate Spring Flower Show.

The event, on the Great Yorkshire Showground, runs until April 27 and this year boasts more than 1,000 exhibitors from all over the country.

Themes in the show gardens this year range from a tropical courtyard with the call of the Caribbean, to a coastal retreat complete with driftwood decking.

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The imminent Yorkshire Grand Départ of the Tour de France, the 175th anniversary of the national charity, Perennial, and the 30th birthday of the Harrogate community learning group, Horticap, have also provided the inspiration for showpiece gardens.

The spring show hosts Britain’s biggest display of floral art and is celebrating the 55th anniversary of the National Association of Flower Arrangement Societies with a spectacular hat made from flowers and foliage capturing "fifty shades of green."

The hat, which measures nearly three feet across, has been designed and created especially for the show by Lucy Hutton Smith, from Richmond, who will also be giving floristry demonstrations during the event.

New for 2014 is a competition for “pocket gardens” showcasing community projects across the region, with tiny plots offering a window into their work for thousands of visitors to the show. 

Show Director Nick Smith said: “2014 is set to be an exciting year and we are delighted to get the UK gardening calendar off to such a great start with celebrations for a number of landmark events and anniversaries."

Tickets available on the gate every day: Thursday to Saturday £17; Sun £15. Under-16s free when accompanied by an adult. Car parking free. Visit