The day dawned grey and overcast with intermittent fine drizzle; the previous weekend there had been snow (again) and the following weekend has been the coldest, wettest Easter I can remember in years.  There were local road closures following a devastating fire at a neighbouring property.  All this added up to the most inauspicious start imaginable to our plant fair.  Thankfully the drizzle stopped before the gates opened, and it stayed dry until evening.  So we were very lucky with the weather.  Despite the unpropitious start there was a queue of people at the gates and 907 people had come through by the end of the day. YES! Over 900!  The best ever by an astonishing margin of 25%.  Mike has worked overtime on publicity and, my word, it really paid off, and the result for the Group, taking into account pitch fees and sundries on the day, amounted to just over £720.  As Mike put it so succinctly, it was our best-ever plant fair.  If we work at it we might even top the 1000 next year!

As I chatted to people waiting at the gate, it was clear that we have a great reputation, with some regular visitors looking out for the publicity and making sure to get there promptly.  Not surprisingly, therefore, it was not long before people were seen going out carrying several bags, and a few minutes later waving their entrance ticket to come back for more.  This year we had four additional pitches in an unused part of Mike’s nursery area and this enabled people to visit all the stalls via a circular tour of the site.  This undoubtedly worked very well, and with 20 nurseries on parade it gave the punters plenty of ground to cover.  There was a remarkably good selection of plants available, despite the appalling growing conditions.  It was a tribute to all the nurseries that they could offer such an amazing range of attractive plants.  They went away generally happy with their sales, with some reporting ‘best ever’ results.  I suspect some of the customers had a ‘best ever’ haul!!

Most of the day the place was buzzing, and I must thank everyone who came to help and provided plants for us to sell.  It was all very busy and very rewarding. Here’s to 2019!

Roy Stickland

Photos courtesy of Mike Werkmeister

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