A BRIGHT array of tulips from all around the country and as far as Sweden lit up this year’s annual show.
The Wakefield and North of England Tulip Society saw 39 colourful exhibitions of the flower at their 177th fair, despite fears the weather would affect the blooms.
The dry winter, followed by a wet spring, with hailstones and gales, resulted in small buds for local growers, but exhibitors from Suffolk, Edinburgh, Exeter and Halmstad in Sweden brought vibrant success to the show.
Judy Baker, from Hitcham, Suffolk, won 12 out of the 23 awards with her display of English Florists’ Tulips at Primrose Hall, in Horbury.
Teresa Clements, honorary secretary of the society, said: “Judy’s success was richly deserved and we were so glad she had succeeded against all the odds and managed to fill the show bench with beautiful old English tulips and make the show such a fine spectacle.”
The tulip society, which is Britain’s last remaining tulip society, was also awarded a Premier Gold Award at the Harrogate Spring Flower Show last month.
They were applauded for their display of flowers and archive material that is part of their new, project Tulips, Old Flames and Feathers.
The Lottery funded project aims to present their long history through displays, talks and an online archive of sound recordings and information.
The display also won a Silver Gilt medal at the RHS Tulip Day in London last month.
Mrs Clements said: “We were absolutely delighted all our hard work paid off. Visitors made some lovely comments about the stand and enjoyed looking at the photographs and learning about English Florists’ tulips and the people who used to grow them.”
The society has also launched a new version of their handbook from Charlesworth Press in Flanshaw.
It includes photographs of tulips and a timeline of significant events since it was started by miners in Wakefield in the late 1800s.
Growing tulips was originally a pastime reserved for the wealthy, but the miners, wanting to be in the fresh air after long shifts underground, took up the hobby.
Miners would hold their shows in pubs and each tulip would be displayed in a brown beer bottle, as they were easily available – a tradition continued today by the society.
Their new archive project and timeline in the new book is set to illustrate the long history in Wakefield through members’ memories.
For information visit www.tulipsociety.co.uk