Shopping destination to help bulb show take off

January's forced bulb show, the Springfields Horticultural Exhibition, will take advantage of the opening of Springfields Outlet Shopping & Festival Gardens

January forced bulb show the Springfields Horticultural Exhibition will be taking advantage of the opening of the £30 million Springfields Outlet Shopping & Festival Gardens in Spalding, Lincolnshire, from 2005. SHE’s organising committee wants to convert the event into a growers’ and gardeners’ show, enabling local growers to take advantage of the visitors who will be coming to the January 2005 sales at the shopping outlet, which opens in April 2004. The 12,600sq m Thornfield Properties shopping outlet will include a Blue Diamond garden centre. Two million visitors are expected annually. Springfield festival gardens will have £2.1 million invested in them before opening. Springfields Horticultural Society chief executive and SHE committee chairman David Norton said: “We’re using the 2004 show to revisit its past. Undoubtedly, the trade show has drifted away as the industry has contracted and become more focused on some key growers. Before, there was a significant number of smaller growers. Now there is a core set of growers. “What we haven’t lost are the skills and techniques of flower forcing. There is still a lot of interest from commercial and competition growers. In 2005, we’re looking at dovetailing with our neighbours on promotion and marketing, using the January sales to embrace the first spring flower show and the only forced flower show of the year. We want to broaden our base.” Norton expects visitor numbers of up to 14,000 in 2005, boosted by celebrity speakers and the retail outlet. The 2004 show is on 31 January and 1 February.

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