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York Racecourse is proud to be supporting the Bloom! Festival in York City Centre, as it gets underway on Thursday 5 July through to Sunday 8 July.

The event celebrates the 250 year anniversary of The Ancient Society of York Florists, the world’s oldest horticultural society; so it is apt that one of the floral displays in the city centre has been created by York Racecourse’s Head Gardener, Zac Rafferty, who has a Master’s Degree in Horticulture from the RHS.

The team of three gardeners based at the Knavesmire have created a stunning display that comprised of over 250 plants of near a dozen varieties with Crocosmia, Salvia, Begonia, Cordyline, Nicotiana, Osteospernum, Fucshia, Calibrachoa, Pelargonium, Gypsophilia and Verbena all featured. Sitting atop the floral display is a 1.5m high equine model of a racehorse created by local design house WeLoveThis. A feature that makes it clear to visitors that the display originates from the Knavesmire, a sporting venue even older than the Society of Florists, with racing first staged there in 1731.

Zac and his team, which includes former flat jockey, John Murray, are responsible for all the floral displays at York Racecourse and have been the proud recipients of a Yorkshire in Bloom Gold Award for each of the last five seasons. Regular visitors to York Racecourse will be familiar with the more than sixty hanging baskets, extensive flower beds and white rose bushes that adorn the venue, as well as recognising that there is enough hedging to surround a World Cup Football Pitch. What they may not appreciate is that most of the flowers that go in those baskets, as well as some 45,000 bedding plants are all home grown from seed or seedling at the Middlethorpe Nursery owned by York Racecourse. The two greenhouses, recently installed pair of huge polytunnels and countless cold frames help the team create the stunning displays that border such areas as the Parade Ring, Presentation Podium or at the foot of the Frankel Statue.

The Bloom! display in Parliament Street will be in place until Sunday 8 July however the flowers at the track itself can be enjoyed on the remaining eleven racedays, starting on Friday 13 July