HARROGATE Spring Flower Show is turning back the clocks to celebrate a century of staging one of the country’s most popular gardening events.

Organisers are appealing for visitors, both past and present, to send in their favourite flower show snaps for a special display to mark 100-years since the North of England Horticultural Society (NEHS) began its support for flower shows.

Harrogate Spring Flower Show takes place from April 23 to 26 at the Great Yorkshire Showground and now attracts up to 60,000 visitors, a far cry from its much smaller roots in table-top cut flower displays.

The Northern Echo:

A young visitor to the 1960 Harrogate Spring Flower Show Picture: North Yorkshire County Record Office

After being formed to support horticulture in the colder northern counties of England, the NEHS first supported a small show in 1920. Within a year it was holding an event of its own in the old Winter Gardens in Harrogate and soon concentrated all its efforts on one major show a year in the town.

In 1934 the Society staged its first flower show in Harrogate’s famous Valley Gardens, where it remained for the next 63 years until pressure for space and demand for expansion saw it move to its current venue at the Great Yorkshire Showground.

The Northern Echo:

Fiona Fisk, Floral Art Co-ordinator for Harrogate Flower Shows, recreates the 1953 launch of the first Flower Academy at the Sun Pavilion in Valley Gardens, Harrogate, by society florist Constance Spry. The Academy was the forerunner of what is now Britain's largest exhibition of floral art held each year at the Harrogate Spring Flower Show.

“The last century has seen some momentous changes and events taking place, much of which have been reflected in the history of the flower show and the generations of people who have taken part down the years,” said NEHS Show Director Nick Smith.

“As well as celebrating the amazing achievement of a century of growing and showing, we would like to pay tribute to the visitors and exhibitors who have made the event what it is today.”

He added: “I visited the show as a boy and there must be thousands of people with their own personal memories and photographs of the occasion. If we can capture just a fraction of that amazing heritage it should make for a fascinating visual history.

The Northern Echo:

A flower display created by Harrogate Parks Department for Harrogate Spring Flower Show Picture: North Yorkshire County Record Office

“No doubt it will show some interesting trends in fashion and plants across the decades, but the one thing that is unlikely to have changed much is the passion people share for gardening!”

To celebrate the landmark anniversary, the theme for this year’s spring flower show will be the Roaring 20s, taking visitors and exhibitors back to the days of jazz, Charlie Chaplin and the Charleston.

A major floral display will explore what was hot in the horticulture of the day, including an amazing flower fountain and a Jazz-era cocktail bar!

Details of how to send in photos of past Harrogate Spring Flower Shows can be found here or email info@flowershow.org.uk for more information.