The Hergest Croft Gardens Spring Fair in Kington is a long-established entry in the calendars of garden enthusiasts the length and breadth of Herefordshire and beyond.
This year’s event, on Bank Holiday Monday (6th May, 10am-5.30pm), signals the end of an era as it’ll be the last with founders Elizabeth and Lawrence Banks at the helm as the couple prepare to step down from their duties.
They do so with the Fair at the top of its game and set to attract more than 40 plant and craft stalls from a wide range of local specialist nurseries this year.
The Marches Makers Festival, a group of artists, crafters and makers based around Kington, will also be exhibiting local sculpture.
‘The Fair’s grown a lot,’ said Lawrence. ‘When we first started we had about 15 stands. Now there are over 40.’
The couple set-up the Fair in 1996 and although stepping down this year, they will continue their support of the event.
‘The first Fair was held to mark the 100th anniversary of the starting of the garden,’ said Elizabeth, a former President of the RHS (Royal Horticultural Society), while Lawrence was Treasurer of the same Society.
‘It was a very early Fair. One of the first in the area.
‘It’s for garden enthusiasts but it also appeals to a much broader spectrum now.
‘We will miss it, of course. It’s our baby.’
She says the Early May Bank Holiday is the best time to see the garden in its radiant beauty.
‘The Garden should be at its Spring peak during the Fair with the Rhododendron out and hopefully the Pocket Handkerchief tree, too.’
The Fair actively encourages families and those with dogs.
Aside from the garden, there will also be an auction with proceeds going to St Michael’s Hospice in Hereford which the Fair has supported in the past.
‘The auction has, over the years, provided a good deal of support for all charities we’ve supported, of which St Michael’s Hospice has been the most frequent beneficiary,’ added Lawrence.
Many of the auction items will be available online on Thursday, 18th April for commission bids thanks to Brightwells Auctioneers, before continuing on the day at the Fair.
Items will be listed on the St Michael’s Hospice website at st-michaels-hospice.org.uk with further details available from the Hospice’s Community Fundraising Manager, Paddy Nugent, on 01432 851 000.
The Spring Fair signals the start of the Hospice’s Open Gardens season for 2019.
A full list of the Gardens can also be found on the Hospice website.