An Assington garden centre and florist has scooped gold at the Suffolk Show at the first attempt.
Assington Plant Centre and Jules’ Florist, based at Assington Barn, was invited to exhibit at the annual county show last week for the first time, with owners Julie and Richard Ivory, who live in Elm Tree Lane in Leavenheath, shocked to come home with a gold medal in the flower show category.
It was actually the first time Mrs Ivory had exhibited at a flower show of any kind.
“I was not expecting it on my first time,” said Mrs Ivory.
“My husband aims high but I usually aim quite low. I said ‘as it’s our first time, let’s learn as we don’t know what the judges are expecting’.”
The couple specialise in planting any type of container, from old watering cans to mop buckets.
“Anything we can get our hands on that is old and that is different from a pot,” added Mrs Ivory.
The couple sometimes refurbish the containers, with the best ones forming the basis for their exhibit at the show.
This centred on a rural cottage garden courtyard. Their plants included geraniums, pertunias, pelargoniums and pogonia, also borrowing some larger plants.
They also had a selection of alpine plants, which Mrs Ivory explained were better suited to shallow containers and more gravel-based soil.
Despite it being hard work, the couple have already been invited back next year – an invitation they are looking to take up.
While Mr Ivory, 59, first started working in the industry 15 years ago, his wife only began two years ago after leaving behind the daily commute to London, where she worked for an investment bank.
She retrained as a florist, influenced by her husband. The couple have been married for 40 years.
Mrs Ivory, 59, said: “This is totally different. There is pressure, but it’s a different kind of pressure because it’s your own business.
“It’s as if you take pleasure out of the pressure. It’s just great being out and about.”