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Page last updated at 13:48 GMT, Wednesday, 23 June 2010 14:48 UK
Memories bloom at Flore Festival
By Johnnie Amos
BBC Radio Northampton

Johnnie Amos speaking to Ruth Dashwood
Johnnie Amos speaking to organiser Ruth Dashwood

It was blue skies and bright and sunny weather for the 48th Flore Flower Festival.

Visitors from across Northamptonshire and the rest of the country descended upon the village, to view the various flowers on show.

Residents opened their gardens to members of the public and were on hand to offer gardening advice and tips.

The event is the first of its kind in the UK, and has only been pipped to post by Walpole St Peter in Norfolk.

BBC Radio Northampton's Johnnie Amos from the Green Welly show was live at the event...

Finally summer arrived and right on cue! It was the 48th Anniversary of the Flore Flower Festival.

In 1963 thousands of people from all over the country including five coach's came from London and 25 from other destinations around the UK.

On Sunday 20th June, BBC Radio Northamptonshire's Green Welly Show came live from the Old Bakery, which was also open for the National Garden Scheme.

I was able to recall with many of the villagers about those early days, right through to the present, on how the festival has changed. Unlike 48 years ago when the entire event was controlled by the Reverend and Mrs Yates, who's idea it was to bring this to Flore from Norfolk.

I also heard from Churchwarden Paul King and the church's long tradition with the festival including how it was able to raise enough money to re-hang the bells in the tower and about Chris Littlewood's dedicated 25 years as organiser for the Chapel, as well as opening her garden for the past 11 years.

The Assistant County Organiser for the National Garden Scheme, Ruth Dashwood has been in the job for 30 years and visits each garden that opens in her patch without complaint. She says its such a joy to see so many new gardens joining each year.

"Its a pleasure to meet new people that travel long distances to visit the gardens," said Ruth Dashwood.

Fifteen years ago, Flore decided to join the National Garden Scheme, which many will know because of the Yellow Book affectionately known as the Bible for Garden Lovers.

The NGS has national coverage and is therefore a very useful tool in marketing. The organisation takes a percentage of the takings and the remainder is split between the Parish Church of All Saints and the Chapel.

People return year after year and although the takings are no way near what they were in 1963, people still love and remember the village of Flore that began the Flower Festival.

It has an outstanding number of wonderful gardens and garden owners that are welcoming , knowledgeable, dedicated and enthusiastic. May it continue to flourish for may years into the future for all to enjoy.

I leave you on this note, Flore was named Flore by the Romans on account of the blossom of the indigenous Flore Plum - the village has certainly lived up to its name!

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24 May 10 |  London
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