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Another big year for Southport u3a at the Southport Flower Show

18 April 2024

Southport u3a Chair Chris talks about their plans to return to the Southport Flower Show for a third year, creating a show garden that showcases how garden design has changed over the last 100 years.

An illustration of a Japanese style garden - with a little path leading under a small decorative bridge, small rocks, bamboo growing

An artist impression of the Japanese section of their design, created by Gail Whitfield and Bev Bush.

Following on from two successful years at Southport Flower Show, with us winning a medal and golden cup for our show garden in 2022 and returning in 2023 with a garden in the Societies tent, Southport u3a will be back in 2024. 

It's the Flower Show's 100th anniversary and we will be celebrating with a special show garden.

This year’s Show Garden team met with four design concepts. With lots of paper, pencils and coffee, the team created two strong and very different designs. Sadly we could only build one. We voted - and chose a garden design that charts the history of gardening over the last 100 years.

This will be a large 17 metre curved garden which emulates the path of a garden since 1924 to present day, depicting five gardens linked by a path.

Celebrating the 100 years of the Flower Show, the garden tracks the fashions in show garden design at Southport Flower Show across the years. Trends have gone full circle, from formal Victorian Gardens to the structural modern form – this semi circular garden tracks the path of change.

The left hand formal Victorian Garden is mirrored by the modern garden on the right of the curve with a nod to the repetition of design.

The path leads through five differing linked gardens across the 100 years: Victorian, Post War utilitarian garden, 1960s rockery, 1980s Japanese-themed garden to present day modern structured garden.

Planning the Build

A team of 50 members have offered their services for growing, digging, planting, moving stone, and building pagodas, building bridges, brick paths, moving materials, meeting and greeting – and of course making tea.

We have just two weeks to build the five linked gardens, ensuring the quality of the build and the planting is spot on. Most of the material to build the garden we have sourced from local sponsors or from our members gardens.

We have also applied for a u3a grant which will hopefully support us with u3a feather flags, buntings and sashes to let everyone know that u3a is the place to be.

The Application

Our detailed drawing and outline of the garden and its objectives have been submitted and accepted.

Part of the application is an artist impression, which will appear in the programme; Gail Whitfield and Bev Bush have created this glorious drawing of the Japanese section for us.

Please do come by and see us, our Photography Group will be there every day so have your photo taken by the garden and say hello.

It is going to be a busy summer. Please do come by and see us, have your photo taken by the garden and say hello.

u3a Discount Code

The Southport Flower Show is taking place between 15-18 August 2024.

Discount for all u3a Members. Southport Flower Show are offering all u3a Members £10 off gate tickets if they buy before 31 July. Just use the promo code 'u3a' when purchasing an any day ticket online and the cost will be £19 instead of £29, plus free coach parking. Please arrange in advance. For tickets and more information, go to

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