Harrogate BID (Business Improvement District) has today launched its ‘Floral Summer of Celebration’, which it hopes will help the spa town blossom in the regional heat of this year’s ‘In Bloom’ competition.

In addition to Harrogate’s much photographed flower beds, and BID-funded barrier baskets, hanging baskets and shop planters, the organisation has created a town centre trail which tells the story of Harrogate town centre via seven floral displays.

It has also created a fascinating indoor exhibition, including a film from 1959 called Harrogate; A Guide To Britain’s Resort, which features the first Harrogate Flower Shower, held in the Sun Pavilion within the Valley Gardens.

In addition, a host of town centre businesses are hoping for their own slice of floral fame by entering a shop window competition – all elements of which are designed to catch the eye of the In Bloom judges as they tour the town over the coming weeks.

Each of the seven displays – a number of which are sponsored by town centre businesses – tell a different story linked to Harrogate’s history, including its retail offering, spa heritage and fabled tea rooms.

They are:

  • Get Your Heels On, Victoria Shopping Centre Piazza, sponsored by LK Bennet
  • Rabbit Patch, corner of Princes Square and Albert Street, sponsored by Nurture
  • Afternoon Tea, Library Gardens
  • In the Garden, West Park United Reformed Church, sponsored by The Autumn Flower Show
  • …And Relax, The Cenotaph, sponsored by Cold Bath Brewing
  • Cocktail Time, Montpellier Hill
  • The Show Goes On, Harrogate Bus Station, Station Parade

Whilst an explanation of each display can be downloaded by the LoyalFree app or by scanning a QR code at each display, the exhibition, located in Victoria Shopping Centre, has a miniature version of all seven, plus numerous exhibits, interesting information and classic deck chairs for viewing the 18-minute film from 63 years ago.

Harrogate BID’s Floral Summer of Celebration is the brainchild of BID Project Lead, Jo Caswell, who has worked on the project for more than six months to deliver it.

Harrogate BID Manager Matthew Chapman said: “Harrogate is renowned as a horticultural haven, and for the next month we are helping the town centre flex its floral muscles.

“Our Floral Summer of Celebration is all about shouting about our fame for hosting nationally-acclaimed flower shows, the fantastic Valley Gardens, and wonderful flower displays.

“In previous years, Harrogate has achieved national and international floral fame in the In Bloom competitions, and we are determined to reclaim our rightful place as the floral capital of not only the north, but the whole country.

“For the last three years, we have funded just short of 200 brightly-coloured barrier baskets and large planters outside town centre shops and businesses, whilst over the last two years, we have worked with Harrogate in Bloom and Harrogate Borough Council in facilitating hanging baskets outside town centre shops and businesses.”

Jo Caswell, Harrogate BID Project Lead, said: “We are really excited to officially unveil our Floral Summer of Celebration. The trail will take followers to different parts of the town, helping visitors get a real flavour of what Harrogate has to offer.

“And once they have completed the trail, they can then visit the exhibition and watch the fantastic film loaned from the Yorkshire Film Archive, which will also really appeal to residents.

“What could be better than coming into town, following a floral trail, seeing the numerous colourful window displays, then visiting different shops and bars you passed on the way?

“One of our remits is to increase footfall in the town centre, and I believe our Floral Summer of Celebration will help us achieve that.”

Harrogate BID’s Floral Summer of Celebration runs until Friday, August 12.