It was almost as if the Gods were smiling on Lanark Community Development Trust last weekend.
For the group’s inaugural Spring Flowerfest was blessed with glorious sunshine which attracted more than 1700 people last Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
It was officially opened at noon on May 11 by Lady Susan Haughey, Lord Lieutenant of Lanarkshire, and Lanark-born Chelsea Pensioner Walter Swan – who enjoyed his day so much he’s already offered to come back in 2019!
For trustee Dr Jamie Hill, who is in charge of the Trust’s arts and events, it was a great opening event.
He said: “We had a spring festival of sorts in the past but it had petered out.
“Given our position at the top of the Clyde Valley, all our garden centres and the fact we have a beautiful community park in the shape of Castlebank, we thought it would be a good idea to stage a flower festival.
“We wanted to celebrate the area’s horticultural heritage and bring people into Lanark from across the Clyde Valley.”
The plan worked with the first Spring Flowerfest being declared a huge success.
It also proved very much a community effort with lots of local groups and businesses pitching in to support it.
Jamie said: “Borders Biscuits sponsored the event – we couldn’t have done it without the firm’s support.
“GP Plantscape, Gouldings Garden Centre and Lesley Strachan Flowers also supported us, as did South Lanarkshire Council.
“And we had a host of entertainment thanks to local groups, including the U3A Circle Dancing, McKenna School of Irish Dance, Lanark and Carluke Choral Union, Move Dance School and LAMS.
“Lanark traders provided catering and there was a marquee with more than 30 crafters for retail therapy.
“It was a great community effort and we’d like to thank everyone for their support.”
One of the most contested events was undoubtedly the primary and nursery school container gardens which, like the rest of the weekend, had a Royal Wedding theme.
Jamie said: “All of the entries were fantastic; they did a great job in a very short period of time. It bodes well for our horticultural heritage in years to come.
“Perhaps in 2118, they’ll be at the 100th Flowerfest with their great grandchildren!”
Spring Flowerfest will certainly be back next year.
Jamie added: “It was a lovely weekend and we were delighted 1700 adults paid at the gates, with lots of children attending for free.
“It’s a great platform to build from and having a theme worked really well.
“But we have plans for even better next year!”
Cozieglen Nursery won the patio garden contest.
In the primary schools contest, Robert Owen was first, followed by Underbank and New Lanark and in the nursery event, Clyde Valley Kindergarten came out top, with St Nicholas Playgroup and Robert Owen nursery in second and third place.
Sylvia Russell, chairwoman of Lanark Community Development Trust, said: “We were delighted to have so many people taking part in our garden exhibitions this year. With lots of fantastic Royal Wedding-inspired designs, it was hard to choose just one winner in each category.
“It was great to see so many visitors enjoying Castlebank Park and I hope it will encourage locals to visit the community horticultural centre, gardens, park trail and Lanark Loch.
“We would like to say a special thanks to Lanark in Bloom for keeping the town looking its best throughout the year.”