Alas! with swift and silent pace,

Impatient time rolls on the year;

The Seasons change, and Nature’s face

Now sweetly smiles, now frowns severe.

‘Twas Spring, ’twas Summer, all was gay,

Now Autumn bends a cloudy brow;

The flowers of Spring are swept away,

And Summer fruits desert the bough.

Samuel Johnson.

By Gordon the Gardener

The Yorkshire in Bloom annual awards were held this week at the Riley-Smith Hall in Tadcaster and yours truly was there to celebrate the achievements of green-fingered folk across Kirklees and beyond.

The hall was full of excitement and enthusiasm amongst the large numbers of people. There were several entries from our part of the county.

One thing that was clearly evident by the awards was the huge contribution that gardener volunteers make to the community over the whole of Yorkshire.

Proceedings were marshalled on stage by the very engaging Roger Burnett and Sue Wood. Presenting the awards was Nick Smith of the Northern Horticultural Society.

A short film was screened showing the benefits of trees and hedgerows. They provide us with clean air and have a cooling effect in summer and a warming effect in winter and help prevent flooding.

After this the awards began.

There were awards galore for some bloomin’ amazing gardeners from our area including:

  • Huddersfield Irish Centre who gained a Gold for their garden;
  • Roberttown had great success and was chosen as Overall Best Village in Yorkshire. The judges said the village was a pure delight; 
  • The Old Colonial pub in Mirfield got a Silver Gilt for the array of colour.
  • Brighouse Railway Station gained Platinum for their wide range of plants. Judges said it was clear they worked with the town and with local businesses helping them by providing colourful plants alongside their premises.

Jim Peel of Huddersfield Irish Centre (above) and below celebrations for Roberttown

Roberttown in Bloom entered the regional award for only a second time. In the first year of entering in summer 2022, the group received a gold award for their entry, and Best Newcomer in 2022.

In this year’s awards this same small group received three awards. Firstly, gold for the Summer 2023 entry, then category winner of Best Large Village followed by the prestigious accolade of Overall Best Village in Yorkshire 2023.

Mirfield won Gold in the large town section and Mirfield Heritage site gained an Outstanding award. Also Outstanding were St Mary’s Neighbourhood and St Paul’s Lock down by the canal.

Schools in Mirfield were in the mix as well with Crossley Fields Junior getting a Silver and Church House Pre-School a getting a Gold for all their enthusiasm.

Yorkshire in Bloom are doing great work in promoting Yorkshire with horticulture. Congratulations to everyone involved. Let’s get Kirklees blooming!

If that were not enough Gordon the Gardener was at the Harrogate Autumn Flower Show held again at Newby Hall. It was a great show – boasting a record-breaking onion!

In 1987 the world record onion was 8lb 13.5oz, by 1990 it was 10lb. Back then one weighing 15lb was thought impossible.

But then in 2023 Gareth Griffin from Guernsey came up with one tipping the scales at 19lb 7lb! This made national headlines, a fun story to deflect the usual diet of doom and gloom.

All types of plants were exhibited. I came across Frankie Charlton from Sunderland (below) getting his Chrysanthemums ready.

And now for a bit of seasonal advice as we slide deeper into autumn.

It’s as well to be ahead of the game when thinking of spring flowering plants. It’s a good move to plant wallflowers and violas early whilst there is a bit of heat left in the land and warmth in the sun. Plants will get off to a better start than when the soil has grown cold. 

Try and bring in to a frost-free greenhouse your tender plants before the frosts arrive. It won’t be long before they are with us. The golden date I always use is October 10. After that there can be a cold snap.

I admit I lost some fuchsias last year because I didn’t anticipate the -7C frost we got. In 2021 some fuchsias I left out in the open survived the winter. I was lulled into a false sense of security and thought winter 2022-23 would be the same – big mistake!

As I said last month it is time to plant spring flowering bulbs. Daffodils can be planted now until December.

But wait until mid-November to put in tulips, when the ground is cooler. This is to avoid fungi which can attack them if planted earlier. Put them in twice the depth of the bulb preferably in reasonably drained land.

READ MORE: Gordon the Gardener writes every month for Huddersfield Hub – catch up on his previous blogs HERE

Finally, I was sad to see the fate of the world-famous Sycamore Gap tree in Northumberland.

I hate to see any tree cut down. We all have to be vigilant in spotting any signs. Can the roar of a chainsaw be heard in the distance or movement that leads to suspicions?

It was a shocking to hear of the tree felled in such a remote and beautiful place. It was healthy tree and the Sycamore is tough.

However, there is a chance it may sprout a new leader and grow on. Let us all hope so.