Over the past two months Harveys annual floral competition has been taking place amongst our Tied Estate. 14 of our Houses have taken part this year and fantastic displays have been illustrated by all.
This year’s judges consist of Jim Buttress- Holder of the RHS Victoria medal of honour, Julia Prescott – Harveys Director and keen gardener, and Dany Nicholas – Harveys family member and Photographer.
Julia Prescott had this to say about the competition this year:
“At 8am on a rather overcast (but dryish) morning the judges were met by Geoffrey Denne (Tied Estate Manager) – who had volunteered his chauffeur services for the day. We knew it was going to be a long day as 14 pubs had entered the competition and we needed to get round them all. Its rare that I go into a pub and don’t have a drink of some description but there just was not enough time on this occasion, although thank you for all of the offers that we received in this respect.
We were very lucky to have Jim Buttess from the RHS as one of our judges. His horticultural knowledge is exceptional and he is delighted to give advice and answer questions on all aspects in this field. We were pleased that previous entrants had ‘cottoned onto this’ and asked Jim about particular concerns that they had. Did you know that calendula (marigolds) planted next to runner beans will keep blackfly at bay, because they are more attracted to the flowers on the marigolds? There were other tips – garlic and cosmos come to mind, and you can ask Jim next year if you enter the competition!
Another judge this year was Dany Nicholas who is an adept photographer and has used her skill to provide the pictures now available to view. Dany and I as Harvey family members are very proud of our pubs. As for me, I am a keen gardener and have quite a large garden which my husband and I manage -he does most of the digging and weeding though!
Considering how dreadful and unseasonal the weather has been of late, we were very impressed with the standard of floral displays both front and back, and the innovative use of very small and sometimes awkward spaces – to create a pleasant and welcoming vista for customers to enjoy their food and drinks. We hear about ‘curb appeal’ when buying houses, but it’s an equally important saying for pubs to attract customers.
We appreciated the hard work that had gone into attracting wildlife, growing own flowers and vegetables, and creating sanctuaries and oasis’s of calm.
As always, this is a very difficult competition to judge with there being very little difference in points scored between the best and the runners up. Those who won their categories we judged had made the most welcoming environment to attract customers and keep them there and had made best use of the space available. Although none of the winners can sit on their laurels (excuse the pun!) for next year, as all of the entrants were of a high calibre whose displays have improved year on year.
Judging this competition is difficult due to the high standard of the entries, but an absolute delight and one of the nicest jobs. I would like to thank all of the participants and encourage more to join in next year– we would love to see entries from 75% of our pubs – though we would definitely have to go to 2 days or visit with a torch as we didn’t finish until 8pm.”
The winners are to be announced next week, in the meantime please view our gallery of the wonderful displays up for judging.