Prison inmates, charity volunteers and a former shopkeeper were among the winners at a prestigious flower show.
Dozens of awards were handed out to green-fingered gardeners and florists at the Southport Flowers show as it came to a close yesterday.
One of the more surprising winners were the inmates from HMP Kirkham who won a gold medal and Challenge Trophy display for the best public sector display.
While, charity Galloway’s Society for the Blind was the silver gilt winner for its sensory garden.
Sara Barrow, who ran the award-winning gift shop Sara’s in Clitheroe for 20 years and the Carmen Rose Tearooms in Ribchester for three years before embarking on a career in floristry, won a clutch of prizes for her last minute entries.
Sara, from Goosnargh who now runs Flowers with Passion, said: “I entered at the last minute – in fact I called them on the day of the deadline for entries and asked them if there was still space for me in three of the categories I had been thinking of entering. When they said they did, I said to put me down for them all. It was only when I realised I also had two weddings the same week as the show that I knew how busy I was going to be.
“But I’m absolutely thrilled to win – it’s been mad, but that’s how my life is really!”
Sara won trophies for her blue, yellow and green City Scape design and her Rainforest display using 70 stems of bamboo in the contemporary floral design category as well as coming in second place for a necklace made of orchids and succulents in the floristy competition.
Ian McElhone, of Ian McElhone Landscape Gardens, Fulwood, was a large gold medal winner in the show garden section, as was Robert, Lucy, and Jan Showering from Barton, near Halsall, who were winners of the large gold medal, overall garden winners and runners up for best exhibit in show. Margaret Robinson, of Robinson Seeds & Plants in Forton, was also a gold medal winner in the grand floral marquee contest.
Ray Roukin, general manager of Southport Flower Show said: “The quality of show gardens and displays this year has been outstanding and it has been a big medal haul for Lancashire gardeners.”