Fresh from RHS Hampton Court Palace, celebrity and royal florist Simon Lycett is bringing ‘floral fabulousness’ to historic York’s horticultural festival Bloom! on Friday 6 July.  Bloom! is a city-wide celebration marking the 250th anniversary of the Ancient Society of York Florists, the oldest horticultural society in the world, as well as a wider celebration of York’s horticultural heritage including pioneers such as James Backhouse & Son’s and George Russell, developer of the Russell Hybrid Lupin.  It runs from Thursday 5 to Sunday 8 July 2018.

Floral enthusiasts are in for a treat as Simon demonstrates the skills that have made him the go-to florist for luminaries such as Sir Elton John, David and Victoria Beckham, Thandie Newton, Cheryl Cole, Thierry Henry and Gary Neville, as well as members of the Royal Family at home and abroad, since he first became known for arranging the flowers for the 1993 smash-hit film 'Four Weddings And A Funeral' .  Simon’s demonstration #floralfabulousness will take place from 2.00pm-4.00pm at Bootham School, York.  Tickets cost £35. Refreshments included. Please book in advance.

“York’s Ancient Society of Florists was established to encourage and develop horticulture, and it is remarkable that they have been doing this in York for 250 years without interruption.  British flowers are part of our heritage, and the artisan growers that are now in incredibly high demand owe a huge debt of gratitude towards these enthusiasts who have kept this passion for growing alive.  It is fantastic to see this being celebrated in a city-wide festival which will spread the message far and wide, and I am honoured to be involved,” says Simon Lycett. 

Simon is also judging the great Bloom! window dressing competition, which is a fun opportunity for all businesses across York to take part in the festival and help add as much greenery, flowers and colour to the city. The winner will receive the title of ‘Best Bloom! Window’ and a generous £1,000 prize to boot, courtesy of competition sponsor, York Conservation Trust.

“We’re delighted that royal florist Simon Lycett will be at the festival, celebrating York’s horticultural heritage with us. This is an amazing opportunity for visitors and residents to watch the royal florist at work and witness his mastery and expertise,” says Steve Brown, Managing Director, Make It York, which is organising Bloom! supported by York Business Improvement District and dozens of local businesses and organisations.

As well as paying homage to York’s horticultural pioneers, Bloom! will highlight the abundance of organisations, charities, non-profit groups and residents’ associations who dedicate hours of their time to maintaining the gardens and green spaces across the city, and to encouraging others to follow suit and to ‘grow their own’.

More than 112 individual events are planned for the four days. These include large-scale, show-stopping installations, small floral displays, talks, workshops, trails, beer garden makeovers, hidden garden open days, children’s events and activities, exhibitions, a city-wide window dressing competition, a vegetarian street food market, a flower and produce market and a traditional flower show.  

For more information about Bloom!, including the window dressing competition, and the full programme of events go to 
Information is also available at


Notes to Editors
The festival Bloom! is taking place, 5–8 July, celebrating horticulture and flowers in York. York is home to the Ancient Society of York Florists – the oldest florists’ society in the world with records dating back to 1768, and this year it celebrates its 250th anniversary.

The society is unique in that it still retains the word ‘florist’ in its name, which refers back to the time when only florists’ flowers were accepted at horticultural shows and when florists grew flowers purely for their beauty, not to sell or arrange, but to exhibit.

The festival will shine a light on York’s little-known gardens and green spaces as well as celebrating local parks, county estates and gardens beyond the borders of York.

The festival is being organised by Make It York and supported by the York Business Improvement District as well as a variety of local businesses and organisations.

Media Contacts
For further information regarding Bloom! please contact: 
Jay Commins, Pyper York
Tel: 01904 500698 or 07810 546567

Lotte Inch, Festival Curator, on behalf of Make It York
BLOOM! York | 2018
Tel: 01904 848660

For any other Visit York media enquiries, please contact:
Kay Hyde, Head of PR & Corporate Communications
Tel: 01904 554451
Mob: 07506 048852

About Make It York 
Make It York’s purpose is to develop and promote the city and its surroundings – nationally and internationally - as a vibrant and attractive place to live, visit, study, work and do business.  The company’s remit covers leisure and business tourism, city centre management, festivals and events, business support and inward investment.

Visit York is a part of Make It York and is the leisure tourism brand 
Under the brand Visit York, Make It York’s aim is to market York as a must-see world-class destination to the leisure visitor and ensure investment to develop the quality of tourism in York.

Key tourism facts:
6.9 million visitors annually, £564 million total visitor spend, supporting 19,000 jobs

About York BID

  • The York Business Improvement District is:
  • A business led partnership which aims to deliver improvements to the centre of   York;
  • Voted in by businesses (in York’s case 76% majority)
  • Not local authority led; schemes and programmes are in addition to services provided by City of York Council
  • Funded by a modest levy which goes into a fund to be spent on improving the centre of York
  • Now one of 200 operational BIDs across the UK including Leeds and Sheffield.

Ten things you didn’t know about horticulture in York

  1. York based gardener George Russel (1857-1951) is widely celebrated within horticultural circles for cultivating the bright coloured Lupins.  The cultivation of these ‘Russell Lupins’ led to him being granted the highest honour from the Royal Horticultural Society, the Veitch Memorial Medal, in 1937.
  2. One of the best known stained glass windows in England – the Rose Window which depicts a combination of red and white roses – is located in the York Minster’s South Transept.
  3. York was home to the world renowned Backhouse & Sons Nurseries, once described as the Kew of the North and complete with a large rock garden and one of the earliest underground ferneries in the UK.
  4. The University of York Physics department courtyard is home to a tree grafted from Isaac Newton’s original apple tree.
  5. York’s Museum Gardens is home to more than 4,500 plants and trees having opened in 1830
  6. The Manor House is situated two miles south of York in the beautifully preserved village of Heslington. It is the home of George Smith, the internationally famous flower arrangement artist/horticulturalist.
  7. Sand Hutton, near York, is the base of the Government’s Plant Health Agency, FERA.
  8. York’s Askham Bryan College has one of the best horticulture departments in Britain.
  9. Treemendous York has plans to plant 50,000 trees in the greater York area.
  10. York was home to George Yeld (1845-1938) a pioneer gardener who hybridised daylilies from his gardens at St Peter’s School in York.