Our first show was in June 2005, where we managed a one-day trial effort that brought in 2,000 visitors; we developed this to a 2 day show for 2007, continuing in 2009, 2011 and 2013; all years were successful, in spite of being washed out on the Sunday afternoon in 2011.
Every year we have run a Gala Evening on the Friday night, an immensely enjoyable evening that has developed to the stage where we had to turn people away in 2011 as we had reached what we felt was maximum numbers that we could handle and at the same time ensure a good party.
We have changed the format over the years – we no longer run an Art Show but we have developed areas such as talks on gardening, cookery, and flower arranging, and in 2013 we hosted the Final of Southern Sinfonia’s “Older Musician of the Year” competition. We have brought the trade stands into the main garden making them more accessible to visitors and we have brought in entertainment for the children – “Sharky and George” were great fun in 2013. Around all of this the Gardens themseleves have developed so that there is always something new to see.
For 2014 we have changed to a Festival of Gardening which we intend to run annually; the musical side this year will be “A Night at the Opera”, to be held on the Saturday night.