I was brought up in a village called Naphill in Buckinghamshire. My Mum still lives there and I visit her all the time. I try to arrange my visits so that I’m there when the the local Horticultural Society shows are on. I remember these so well from my childhood. I loved the earthy smell of the flowers and vegetables, the tables packed with home made cakes and jam, the tiny gardens on plates, and the hum of companionable conversation. It was a comforting, sociable experience.
Last year when my Mum and I walked around the show I was saddened by how few entries there were in many of the classes. You would think with all the interest in growing your own food that the number of entries in these shows would be increasing. But I guess busy lives mean people feel they don’t have the time to prepare their entries.
My family always enters something – Mum usually wins with her fabulous Victoria sponge and something hand made, and my aunt Thelma is always victorious in all the floral design classes. So, this year I decided to stop moaning and do something myself.
I went into the whole thing with the sole intention of swelling the numbers, supporting the organizers and spending a day doing something with my Mum that we’d both enjoy. However, I never do anything by halves and put a lot of time and effort into making my entries look as good as I could. I got up 6am on a Saturday for goodness sake, now that’s dedication!
I had a great time and won loads of prizes. It was totally satisfying. I felt I had done my bit to support the Naphill Horiticultural Society and I spent a relaxing afternoon talking to some of my ex-neighbours who I had not spoken to for years. I loved it and can thoroughly recommend it. Here is the photographic evidence of my successes:-
A vase of annuals - First prize
A vase of perennials - First prize
Beetroot - second prize - I'm nurturing some better specimens for the autumn show...
Rhubarb - first prize
Potatoes - a surprising first prize, I almost didn't put them in!
Collection of Herbs - A disappointing third prize - I'll do better next time...
Redcurrants - an annoying nothing as I misread the entry form and put one too few bunches in!
Last, but by no means least, my triumphant cheese and onion tart which at first was deemed by the judge as looking suspiciously perfect (luckily Janet who was walking round with judge assured her it was home made). First prize and best overall entry in the domestic category. Woo Hoo!
I also entered some fruit scones which got a third prize - they tasted great, but had collapsed so I didn't hold out much hope.
So come on people! Please support your local horticultural society, even if you just enter a few annuals or perennials from your garden it helps fill up the classes. You will meet people you never usually socialise with and maybe make a few new friends. It's a pleasant, relaxing way to spend a day and who doesn't occasionally long for simpler times in this age of high speed, high tech, result driven, stress filled days?
If anyone wants a copy of my super, award-winning cheese and onion tart please email me firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll be delighted to send you a copy.
If you need help with designining your garden please visit my Web site and get in touch.