This year the traditional Flower Marquee will be once again be replaced with the Garden Life Marquee. To accommodate all the ‘bloomin marvelous’ displays, demonstrations and stands the marquee will be moving down towards the main entrance.
We will be honouring the Centenary of the end First World War, displaying The Royal British Legion’s iconic ‘Every One Remembered’ sculpture, as well as a display of handcrafted poppies made by the local community. The Royal British Legion, in partnership with the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, has developed Every One Remembered, a project to individually commemorate over 1 million Commonwealth Service men and women who were killed during the First World War. They would like to see each and every one of these men and women individually commemorated throughout the First World War centenary years. The charity will be outside the Garden Life Marquee during all three days so pop along and find out more about this incredible project. Necleus Arts will also form part of #kentremembers and visitors will be able to help ‘Knit a Poppy’ for the display.
New in 2017 was the addition of the Kent Beekeepers Association. In fact there are four beekeeping associations in Kent, namely the Kent Beekeepers Association with thirteen branches across the county and three independent associations – Dover, Medway and Thanet. It is a mixture of members from across Kent who attend the three day Show and put on interesting educational demonstrations and displays.
There are lots of different types of bee in the UK – around 250 species in fact with 24 species of bumblebees, approximately 225 species of solitary bee and just a single honeybee species. The Bee and Honey area is set in a lovely green part of the Showground next to Murrain Wood, experts are on hand every day to explain the truth and dispel the myths about these wonderful creatures.
We all take honey for granted as a product and many of us know that honey is made by bees – but do we really know the journey from flower to jar? The Kent Bee-keepers will have a permanent display to explain the wonderful way in which nature works together to achieve this feat.
Visitors can taste the different honey available and learn about why there is such a wide variety of colours and flavours. Honey can be made from all pollinating flora, rapeseed makes a lovely honey popular with children whilst adults tend to prefer a wild flower honey which has a stronger taste.
There is a wide selection of jarred honey or honeycombs to buy with an opportunity to taste them beforehand. Visitors will also be able to see the entries in the Honey Show along with the judges marks and comments. Honey Cosmetics will be available to buy, with the producer on hand to explain the wonderful properties and advantages of this natural product.
One of the biggest draws to the area is the ‘Observation Hives, where visitors are able to see a working colony where 98% are workers, approximately 200 are drones and one Queen Bee. Next to the Observation Hive will be The Bumble Bee Trust and information about the short haired Bumble Bee.
The marquee will house the traditional Floral Art Competitions. The area bursts with colour and smells and the light airy space is a perfect backdrop for the stunning and colourful entries, hosted and organised by Kent NAFAS who invite members to enter the showcase event.
The Kent Area of NAFAS has 40 clubs across the county who meet on a regular basis for flower arranging demonstrations, talks, workshops, competitions, visits to places of floral interest and social events. New members and visitors are welcome at all skill levels, even if you only want to sit and watch. As well as the 36 adult clubs, Kent also has 4 junior clubs which pave the way for flower arrangers of the future. The National Association of Flower Arrangement Societies (NAFAS) began in 1959, when local flower arranging clubs decided to join together to share experiences. Today there are 78,000 members within 1,315 Clubs, across 21 Areas in the U.K.
The aim of the area is to encourage the love of flowers and plants and to demonstrate their decorative and creative value; to encourage the preservation of rare and endangered species of flowers, plants and all things connected. There are a number of trophies and awards that are competed for in the Floral Art section including the Lady Falmouth Rose Bowl for the best Floral Arrangement by a Club or Society. The theme this year is ‘Kent Our County’ with all the competitions taking inspiration from our green and bountiful landscape and being ‘the Garden of England’.
The Flower Show features a number of top nurseries specialising in award winning plants including Japanese Maples, Bonsai and Fly Traps. The exhibitors create spectacular backdrops to highlight the plants best attributes. The marquee also features a wonderful Tea Room and the Garden Life Stage. There will be a number of talks and demonstrations throughout the 3 days.
The area also boasts Show Gardens, this year Hadlow College and Optivo will go head to head for the best Show Garden. The Kent Federation of Horticultural Societies Summer Show will be featured in the marquee next to Garden Life. The classes will include the traditional display of five potatoes, vegetables or fruit, other classes include photography, handicraft, cut flowers and baking. Jars of preserves will include, jam, honey, marmalade or chutney.
The area will also host competitions for sweet peas and roses, decorative classes, pot plants, pelargoniums and fuchsias. The membership comes from all over the county and are very proud of the wonderful produce they grow and produce. The Summer Show hosted at the Kent County Show is one of the highlights of the competition year and their members really enjoy talking to the public and giving tips on growing fruit, vegetables and flowers.