Tulip society’s 180th will be a dazzling show

Pictured: Judging at the Wakefield and North of England Tulip Society annual show
Pictured: Judging at the Wakefield and North of England Tulip Society annual show

The Wakefield and North of England Tulip Society’s 180th show will take place this weekend.

The annual event, which showcases English and Dutch tulips, will take place at Primrose Hall, in Horbury on Saturday, May 9.

Staging takes place from 10am and judging will start at noon. It will be open to the public from 2.30pm to 4pm.

Teresa Clements, society secretary, said: “The society is famous for showing tulips in beer bottles, which often causes visitors some amusement. Occasionally growers have to reassure them that there is water in the bottle, not beer.

“The show promises to offer a dazzling display of colourful tulips shown in the traditional way.”

The society, which dates back to 1836, is one of the old-est florist societies in existence.

During the 19th century there were at least 200 tulip societies across the country, but since 1936 the Wakefield and North of England TulipSociety has been the last one remaining in Britain.

Growing tulips was originally a pastime reserved for the rich but the hobby was taken up by miners who would host shows in local pubs, with each tulip displayed in a beer bottle – a tradition which continues today.

Mrs Clements added: “There are three kinds of English florists’ tulips: breeders, which have plain coloured petals, and flames and feathers, whose petals have striking patterns caused by infection with tulip breaking virus. These patterned flowers are the most highly prized.

“The number of entries in the show varies from year to year depending on the weather. Last year there were 38 exhibitors, an excellent number considering the earliness of the season.

“Collectively they managed to stage a total of 400 English florists’ tulips but there weren’t as many Dutch tulips as there had been in 2013.”

The society will also host a smaller second show on Sunday, May 24, at Wrenthorpe Village Hall.

Visit www.tulipsociety.co.uk for details.