Mixed weekend for Norfolk Garden Show visitors

Richard ParrIt proved to be a bitter sweet weekend at the county showground where the Norfolk Spring Garden Show was staged.Continuous rainfall and cold winds on Saturday hit the expected visitor numbers.Richard Parr

It proved to be a bitter-sweet weekend at the county showground where the Norfolk Spring Garden Show was staged.

Continuous rainfall and cold winds on Saturday hit the expected visitor numbers.

But yesterday's blue skies and spring sunshine brought the crowds out and the assortment of gardening-related stalls and outdoor materials trade stands were doing much better.

Matthew Upson, director of the organising company Aztec, said that Saturday's rainfall and winds was the worst weather the company had experienced in nine years of staging the show.

"The show was just rained off on Saturday but it was amazing that people still came in and dressed accordingly in wellingtons and carrying umbrellas and even they were folding inside out.

"It must have been the wettest day of the year; it rained from seven in the morning until nine at night."

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But commenting on the better weather on Sunday, he said: "Many of the stallholders selling plants had sold out so our fortunes have changed overnight."

The show, on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, staged in association with the Eastern Daily Press, was a celebration of all things horti-cultural.

It aimed to help people make the most of their gardens by giving them inspiration from floral and landscape designers. People were also able to seek advice from gardening experts.

Mr Upson said that he had noticed just how many family groups were coming through the gates and that gardening was clearly becoming of greater interest to younger people.

David and Jennie Smele, of Mattishall, near Dereham, said they had been planning to visit the show on Saturday but the weather was too bad.

On Sunday, Mrs Smele said: "The atmosphere is very relaxed and laid back and there are some lovely, good quality plants."

Pamela Brookesmith, of The Avenues, Norwich, bought a bleeding heart plant, an old-fashioned lupin and some bedding plants.

"The plants are reasonably priced and it's a lovely event to wander around and pick up useful ideas," she said.

Jennifer Harrison, of Dereham, was carrying some pictures she had bought and was with her friend, Peter Hill, from Tacolneston. They both said they had enjoyed the show but felt there were slightly fewer stands this year.

Carleen Jermey, of Toftwood, near Dereham, who was visiting the show with her husband, Wayne, and daughters, Melissa, 12, and nine-year-old Alix said: "It is nice to get to try local produce and to find unique items on the stands and the plants are fantastic and very good quality.

"I normally buy some plants every year," she said.