As winners of the North Yorkshire stage of the Tour of Britain cycle race clasp their bouquets on the podium, their first thought might not be about where the flowers grew, but that is very important to the Helmsley florist who will create the arrangement
North Yorkshire will host stage four of the national Tour of Britain on Wednesday 7 September, and Wendy Abbott, who runs Twig and Twine in Helmsley, will make arrangements for the four winners, as well as decorations for the podium at the race finish at Duncombe Park, Helmsley.
“I like to work seasonally and locally, if I can, to give a local look to everything I do,” she said. “About 80 to 85 per cent of the flowers in the race arrangements will be local. That was important to me.”
She has several local sources for her flowers, including her own allotment.
During the first Covid-19 lockdown, she had difficulty getting hold of all the flowers she needed, so approached the Walled Garden in Helmsley.
“The garden was shut to the public,” she said, “but everything was still growing, so they agreed I could pick what I needed and give a donation to the Walled Garden. I’ll be picking some from the Walled Garden for the cycle race flowers.”
The florist, who has 25 years of experience, also uses several local providers, including one who grows and shows dahlias, a small-scale grower from Malton and roses from the garden of Carlton Lodge bed and breakfast.
After studying at Askham Bryan agricultural college in Bedale, she started Fiori florist in Northallerton in the late 1990s, selling it when she moved abroad for a while. She has been running Twig and Twine for three years, taking over from the previous owners, for whom she had worked.
She became a fan of cycle racing through the Tour de France while living in France.
“I love the Tour de France and the Tour de Yorkshire when that came through. It’s an exciting day, so I thought to do flowers for a cycle race would be really nice.
“I am very pro the race. It is fun and exciting. We get lots of visitors to Helmsley, but if they know the race is on they may spend longer here. I think it will be pretty busy. The way I look at it, the more people who come to town and see my shop the better, whether they buy anything or not. They might buy in the future.”
The race bouquets will be hand-tied bunches, made by gathering flowers and spiralling the stems until Wendy has created what she wants.
“I know roughly what flowers I want to use, but until I go to pick them it’s hard to say exactly,” she said. “I wouldn’t say I am an event florist. I love the shop and the one-to-one with the customers, but I am looking forward to this. I think it will be good fun.”
Stage four of the Tour of Britain on 7 September will begin in Redcar then pass through Whitby before heading into the North York Moors National Park. The final 30 kilometres will feature the demanding climbs of Carlton Bank and Newgate Bank – both two kilometres long – before descending to the finish at Duncombe Park.
Executive member for culture, leisure and sport, Cllr Simon Myers, said: “It’s great to see Wendy bringing this North Yorkshire flavour to the race with her arrangements, which will be seen around the world in TV coverage of the winners’ podium.
“I’m sure that unique North Yorkshire spirit will be reflected in towns and villages along the route as our traditional enthusiastic welcome for cycle racing helps to make this event special for all concerned, while showcasing the beauty of our county.”
Details of the estimated times of the racers’ arrival at points along the route have been published to help people to decide when and where they can watch the race and to plan their travel on the day.
We will implement rolling road closures, which means closures are likely to last no longer than 30 to 45 minutes to minimise disruption. See the full details of race timings and estimated road closures.
The 2022 Tour of Britain will start in Aberdeen on Sunday 4 September, and finish on the Isle of Wight on Sunday 11 September.
ITV4 will broadcast live flag-to-flag coverage of every stage and a nightly highlights show, allowing fans in the UK to watch wherever they are. The race will also be shown in more than 150 countries worldwide, thanks to the event's partnerships with Eurosport and the Global Cycling Network.