Review of The Leeds Flower Show 2014


On Saturday 2nd and Sunday 3rd August 2014 at The Grammar School at Leeds we celebrated our 150th Anniversary of  Leeds Flower Show.   If like me you were not around at the time – here is a very brief history:

1864  As reported in Leeds Mercury on Wednesday 22 June 1864 the first exhibition of flowers and fruits was held in the Drill Room and Parade Ground which was built originally for the use of Leeds Volunteer Rifles. These facilities were provided to the public for enjoyment and to encourage a taste for the cultivation of plants and flowers and so Leeds Show was born.  It was a reported as ‘a beautiful show and a tremendous success with 2,500 visitors on the first day’ -  £72 was taken at the door ~  a lot of money is those days.  Apart from the two World War years ‘Leeds Flower Show’ has continued.   Some of you may well remember this, as I do on Soldier’s Field at Roundhay where we worked side by side with Leeds Leisure Services for many years.  The Show was held in huge marquees and attracted thousands of visitors over the two days.   For financial reasons this liaison had to end and we have ‘gone it alone’ ever since.

2014  To make this anniversary special a replica marquee was set out in the same way  as that first show back in 1864  with displays of plants, flowers, vegetables and fruits which were fashionable in that era – a snapshot of horticultural history.  This was beautifully done by Elizabeth Bidgood and a team of volunteers who worked hard over a year contacting specialised growers with knowledge of heritage plants – it turned out to be one if the highlights of the Show .

The 150th Anniversary held at The Grammar School at Leeds was housed in two large halls and theatre foyer, over 400 classes of Yorkshire’s very best, including flowers, floral art, vegetables, fruit, domestic  produce.  Displays of magnificent entries of pot plants, sweet peas, geraniums, lilies, begonias, roses filled the senses with delightful aroma and wonderful colour.  Live demonstrations of quilting, spinning, lace making were in action. How good to see that these old crafts are still popular.  Photography, art pottery, were on display.  Children had their chance to  compete in a handwriting competition, edible monsters and a Scarecrow made from recycled material.    Radio Leeds with Tim Crowther and Joe Maiden (Garden Guru) did their Sunday morning ‘Weekend in the Garden’ Show live from the Grammar School ~ the fans listening at home came flocking to see this and the gate takings went up.  We were fortunate to have a display from Leeds Model Railway ~  staging  old  Headingley  Leeds which proved an entertaining attraction.

We were fortunate to obtain sponsorship from Skoda U.K./D.M.Keith Ltd this year and four of their best selling cars were on display. An escape for the men while the ladies enjoyed the Floral Art demonstration and Cookery demonstration.  With lots of interesting Traders selling plants, garden ornaments, woodcraft, jewellery, Yorkshire cheeses and Dales ice cream.  We are 90% under cover and are renowned for the Schools’  wonderful  food serving hot breakfasts, cooked / or salad lunches  /afternoon teas all at reasonable prices .  Further details on www.

Pat Dixon. Hon General Secretary LHS

Anniversary of The Leeds Flower Show 1864 – 2014

The 2014 Show was a Special Event being the 150th year since the first Flower Show in 1864 which was held in The Drill Hall of The Leeds Volunteer Rifles – this was sited in Oxford Row at the side of the Town Hall.  Sadly the building was demolished in the 50’s.

We aimed to replicate that show on a smaller scale with a Marquee set out in the style of that first show and based on the reports that we have from the Leeds Mercury June 22nd 1864.

. ‘The first exhibition of flowers and fruit in connection with the Leeds Horticultural Society was held in the Drill Room and parade ground of the Leeds Volunteer Rifles.

…….The Society has but recently been organised by gentlemen who are anxious to provide for the public an enjoyment and to encourage a taste for the cultivation of plants and flowers………………..

The long article goes onto mention how the Drill Hall was dressed with garlands and foliage and seven platforms were erected, showing Geraniums Fuchsias, cut specimens of Roses and Pansies, Fruits, Vegetables,  Floral Devices and bouquets, Ferns and Orchids and Hothouse Plants mostly provided by the  Gardeners of  the Local Wealthy families such as John Hope Shaw, Frank Tetley and Lord Londesborough.

……the event was well attended with 2,500 visitors and the amount taken at the door was £72.00!

Elisabeth Bidgood,  retired chairman of the Leeds Horticultural Society, designed the layout and decor of the Marquee .She researched and grew plants which  replicated those mentioned in the reports.  She  enlisted the help of experts and  even had a donation of terracotta pots from Naylors – Yorkshire Flowerpots at Barnsley to give the plants an authentic appearance.The Marquee was a great success and drew much praise and attention.




Traders Invited to Apply for Stands at the Leeds Flower Show 2015

The Leeds Flower Show has been held nearly every year since the first Show in 1864 – it is run by the Leeds Horticultural Society Committee – a group of enthusiastic people who work hard to keep this marvellous tradition going each year.

We need the public to support the show and so the Trade Stands are a very important part.

Traders who are  interested in  applying for a trade stand at the Leeds Flower , Vegetable & Craft Show on the first weekend of   August 2015 at the Grammar School at Leeds may do so by using the contact form on this website.

We  welcome all applications but particularly from those with horticultural connections,  Nurseries,  Garden Centres, Plantsmen,  Specialist growers,  Garden tools accessories and equipment.

For more information please contact



Leeds Flower, Vegetable & Craft Show 2012 was held on Saturday 4th /Sunday 5th August at The Grammar School at Leeds.  After 12 months of planning, Friday 3rd August (setting up day) was here – the weather forecast was ‘cloudy with occasional showers ~ bright periods in the north’~ so once again we were thankful for our choice of venue – we are  90% under cover and the facilities at the school are excellent.


The three large halls – assembly, junior, gym and reception area were empty at 8.00am.  Volunteers were arriving and the tables were being delivered all 280 of them + 35 more for  outside.  Within an hour or so these were covered and draped and looking uniformly like an ‘army standing to attention ready for action’.

After our mandatory ‘health & safety talk’ we were ready to receive the entries.  The flower arrangers arrived carrying buckets, boxes, containers  – arrangements have to be done on site NAFAS rules, unless otherwise stated.  The Societies were there : Leeds & District Gardeners Federation Allotments, Yorkshire Fuchsia Society, The Northern Fruit Group, The National Vegetable Society, The Yorkshire Rosarians, Delphinium Society. These stalls are all manned by experts on hand to answer any questions.  Joe Maiden with Tim Crowther did the Weekend in the Garden – Radio Leeds show live from the school theatre – this was well attended and fascinating to see how they organise the show and handle questions fired at them no time for looking up answers on google.


The Craft, Art & Photography room was magnificent.  How many chances do you get to see a spinning wheel in action, lace workers creating expert work before your eyes, or Quilters ready to demonstrate their skills.  Wood carving – amazing results from a piece of recycled wood. The photography had many entries  – 4 classes plus a junior class attracted lots of people.

The Beekeepers were there with live bees and jars of light, medium, dark and soft set honey along with dry and sweet mead and honey cakes .  Maybe home baking is your thing – there were plenty of classes to choose from including, bread, scones, pies, sponge and fruit cakes, not forgetting homemade jams, marmalade and lemon curd.  Mustn’t forget the wine and beer section for the potential brewers amongst you  – it was all there white or red wine – sweet or dry. Beers, lager and stout.


Inside and outside were lots of different Traders selling plants, garden accessories, and jewellery for the ladies. What an attractive inviting site this was on entering.  More details of these can be seen on our website

Feeling hungry and ready for a sit down.  The school refectory were serving mouth watering food including cooked breakfasts, hot/cold lunches, cream teas – all at very reasonable prices,

Accompanied by music each day from the Concert Bands.  A gamble on theTombola maybe on the way in to eat – lots of prizes 5 tickets for  £1.Don’t go away without a Dales ice cream !   What a great day out.  We plan to be back again in 2013.  – The Chelsea of the North.



Hon. Gen Secretary




Archive : Tuesday 7th September

Autumn Show and Demonstration

The last show is often the best with an abundance of fruit and vegetables.

Autumn colours are lovely to see and flowers are usually having a last flush before the weather changes.

Look at the Schedule on your events card and I’m sure you will find something to bring along. It may also be 4 Cheese Scones.

Usual Raffle, tea and coffee.

(Meetings are held in St. Chad’s Centre, Otley Road, Far Headingley, Leeds. Meetings start at 8pm prompt.)

Extracts from – The Leeds Gardener Quarterly Bulletin – Editor Viv Caunt.

Contributors needed for our Quarterly Bulletin:

Write an article; send garden tips, puzzles, recipes, poems etc and send to:-

Presented by the Leeds Horticultural Society