was a diverse show with entries in a wide range of classes, showing
how versatile our gardeners are. We expect dahlias to be the most dramatic
exhibits at this time of year and they lived up to expectations. There
was a variety of traditional colours but the almost black varieties
shown by Gill Jones and Debbie Anscombe attracted comment too. Michael
Figg won the Dahlia Members’ cup and was the only entrant in the
Dahlia Championship cup with three cultivars.
Fuchsias also figured strongly with a new class for fuchsia blooms floating
in a bowl proving very popular. The special class for cuttings of fuchsia
Paul Pini purchased at the Spring Show was won by Martin Higgins. This
did not seem as popular as last year’s Celia Smedley. Last year’s
plants had obviously done well as there were plenty of Celia Smedley
blooms to be seen in the single flower classes. Ann Higgins won the
Harry Tester cup for a flowering pot plant with a perfect white orchid
while Christine Naested won first prize in the foliage plant class with
a really frilly heuchera.
It wouldn’t be an autumn show without pumpkins. Ian Cooper’s
had the largest circumference – even if the weather this year
had produced a rather wrinkled skin. The squash category is proving
very popular, with 11 entries but once again Chris Gurr’s Italian
Marina di Chioggia caught the judge’s eye over all those ordinary
Other vegetables did not disappoint. Alan Smith’s collection,
including some outstanding carrots and leeks, won him the Massey-Dawson
cup while Tim Richardson’s long parsnips contributed to his success
for the Helena Hall cup. Along with the more traditional vegetables,
chillies are now a regular feature of the autumn show, along with peppers
and aubergines. All of these were shown both as plants and individual
It was great to see two new entrants, even better to see them winning
prizes. Andrea Fall won a number of categories and her plate of cherry
tomatoes was judged Best Vegetable while Alex Armstrong’s enormous
raspberries were awarded Best Fruit.
Michael Elliott won the LHS Runner Bean Race with his five beans making
the longest line. Visitors were admiring the length of the beans in
this class, but commenting less favourably on whether or not they would
like to eat them! Andrew Harding won the Ron Pickett trophy for the
most points over the year in the trug class, his entry this time was
a large trug packed with flowers and veg – from roses to beetroots.
The chocolate Victoria sponge class produced plenty of entries –
is this the Bake Off effect? Tne judge said it was a difficult decision
but the very flat top and delicious filling gave first prize and Best
in Show to Jocasta Fearn. Only one entry for the lemon tart but Glenise
Buck’s elegant creation drew a lot of comments. There were few
handicraft entries – maybe everyone is too busy gardening in the
summer. Maureen Manly’s elegant knitted snood was awarded Best
The special flower arranging class to link with the Arts Festival, for
a design based on Peter Voigt’s violin shop, was won by Barbara
Hoy. She produced an ingenious design incorporating a violin, a bow
and packets of violin strings. Clare Wilson’s All Hallows Eve
display included a pumpkin with flashing lights.
The children’s colourful piñatas were admired and their
photographs of a garden ‘B’. Most chose butterflies apart
from Florence Fearn-Hughes, who had a bee. ‘Endangered species’
ranged from a red squirrel to a black and white lemur!
The judges commented on the high quality of the exhibits while the visitors
did the same for the cakes in the tea room!