2013 Spring Show at Ardingly this weekend

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Spring will be amply apparent at the South of England Showground in Ardingly at this year’s Spring Garden & Leisure Show on Sunday and bank holiday Monday.

BBC gardening expert, ‘Britain in Bloom’ judge and self-confessed plant-aholic Jean Griffin will again chair the ‘Ask the Garden Experts’ panel in the Gardening Theatre.

Tom Brown, head gardener at Parham House, Martin Duncan, head gardener at Arundel Castle, Isobel McKinley, Kitchen Garden horticulturalist at Arundel Castle and Peter Holman, chair of London in Bloom and South East England in Bloom will be put through their paces as they are quizzed by the audience.

Thousands of visitors are expected at the two-day garden and leisure event with gardening delights on offer from simple, successful spring planting to new trends in design and technology.

The Spring Garden & Leisure Show is the first big show of the year organised by the South of England Agricultural Society, a charity working to promote the agricultural industry and to advance education in agriculture, horticulture and forestry.

Clare Hastings, chairman of the Spring Show Committee said: “There is something for all the family at the Spring Show and it is a great way to shake off the winter blues and come and get excited about life in the countryside and all its splendour.

“As well as gaining top tips from expert horticulturalists and garden designers there will be many opportunities to get up close and personal to a variety of fur and feathered friends.

“The Access the Countryside exhibition will feature cattle, sheep and pig workshops as well as the famous Mini Sheep Show team with live sheep on stage and a fluffy duck trail for children which will take them on a fun journey around the show.”

Poultry, the society’s chosen theme for 2013, will have its own special exhibition in the new Poultry Theatre where vet and poultry expert Martin Smith and agricultural consultant Andrew Marshall will hold free talks about Healthy Hens/Happy Hens throughout the two days.

There will be chickens on sale and a class for young poultry keepers to enter their own feathered friends.

For all dog lovers, the region’s top breeders and over 700 dogs will compete for a place at Crufts in the Open Dog Show which forms an integral part of the show and has received commendation from the Kennel Club, in particular, for the way it offers help and advice to members of the general public.

Four-legged attractions continue with the Alpaca Show – one of the largest of its kind in Europe.

The fascinating long-haired camelids from South America are a hit with children and visitor can watch their ‘fibre’ being woven into hats, scarves and ponchos in the Spinners and Weavers Marquee.

The Food Hall offers the usual selection of delicacies including cheeses, chutneys, freshly baked breads, pies and pasties.

There will also be goods and crafts from country clothing, gifts and DIY to home wares, wellies and handbags.

Also back will be the Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance crew who will offer an insight into how they work and give visitors the opportunity to look over a fully equipped helicopter.

The show opens 9am and closes 5pm daily. Admission: adults £10; children £5; senior citizens/students £9; and family tickets just £23, plus free parking.

For full show details and online advance ticket discounts visit {http://www.seas.org.uk/spring-show |www.springgardenshow.co.uk|} or telephone 01444 892700