Sunday, May 10, 2009

Sunday's spotlight - Flowers, flowers everywhere

By guest blogger Pete.

Here in the U.K., last weekend was a bank holiday. In the southern part of the county of Lincolnshire - an area known as "South Holland" for reasons that will soon become clear - the landscape is hill-less and the soil fertile. It's one of the main areas for vegetable production in the country but it's also an area well know for the production of daffodil and tulip bulbs. It's a wonderful sight to see whole fields of daffodils and tulips in full bloom. Alas, it's a long time since I've seen fields of tulips in bloom but we did see some fields of daffodils in bloom three weeks or so ago.

For a number of years now the May Bank Holiday weekend has been the date for the well know Spalding Flower Parade, when various floats are drawn through the streets and end up at the large tulip gardens in town. The main ingredient for all the floats has been the petals from tulips. Just lately, however, the production of tulips has fallen off and it was thought that this year's parade would have to be cancelled. Fortunately an alternative source of tulip flower heads was found in the neighbouring county of Norfolk and more cash came from the County Council and other donors so the parade, although somewhat different from previous years, took place. I'm told the weather was typical for bank holidays but this didn't deter the crowds from turning up to witness the event.

For me, a more interesting feature that coincides with the May Bank Holiday and the Spalding parade is the churches flower festivals. A large number of village and town churches in the South Holland region hold their annual flower festivals at the same time as the Parade.

Pam and I paid our annual visit this year, taking with us Bill and Jane, two friends, for whom this was a first visit. They'd never seen such floral displays before. Each church visited is, literally, a mass of colour - the colour of the flowers - and the scent is indescribable. These church displays are done by experts - local folk who have been doing them for years.

Most churches adopt a different theme from each other so every church visited has something different to marvel at. So many and varied are the displays that it took us the whole day to visit just four of the many churches offering festivals. The photos for this blog are the first ones I've worked on - only a few so far - and were taken in the church at Pinchbeck. Try finding that village on a map. We also visited the villages of Donington, Surfleet and Gosberton. It's impossible to say which one was the best - they were all so very, very good.

Keep on smelling the flowers!

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