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Looking back on 2021: Reviewing our Annual show!

Typically, the start of a new year would involve reviewing the previous year at our AGM. In the ongoing pandemic, we've postponed the AGM so here's a review of the 2021 show from chair, Edmund Smith.

It is fair to say that expectations about the show were mixed. The pandemic had meant that we had to take precautions and this involved the process of careful risk management. This was reflected in Stephen’s notice at the door of the pagoda, warning entrants to heed Anthony Fauci and wear a mask. It was all credit to the members that they followed this advice and masks were worn by everyone visiting the marquee.

The gardening year had been a mix of hot weather and heavy rain which mostly benefited the weeds. Some plants thrived, notably the soft fruit but onions were disappointing. Furthermore, there was a feeling that the show was taking place earlier in the year and on a Bank Holiday weekend so there would be fewer show exhibits. This didn’t materialise – we had broadly the same number of exhibits in 2019 which had been held in September.

In spite of these fears, there was a good range of exhibits with most classes having plenty of entries. It was a shame not to see any pears, heavy onions or sunflowers though. Here's a full-down of winners, as a reminder:

Special thanks go to:

  • David and Joe for the excellent catering arrangements. There was also great support from Bob and his family.

  • Colin Dewdney for constructing the prizes and for sponsoring the child’s greenhouse competition.

  • Meryl and Monica for organising the tombola which raised £170.

  • The members who did a spectacular clean-up operation in the afternoon.

  • The marquee assembly team.

  • Our photographer Chris.

There was been a positive interest shown by some members in the process of judging. If you’d like to know more, the bible for this is the Royal Horticultural Society’s “The Horticultural Show Hand Book”. Each class has a scoring system, generally of around 15/20 points which are awarded for condition, uniformity, size, shape and colour. Some classes have special additional characteristics (e.g. flowers should have a “freshness” and sweet corn needs to show mature grains ). The handbook is not expensive (£9) and is a good read!

A number of ideas came from the show for 2022:

  • We're considering adding extra classes to widen the range of produce we can celebrate – a class for chutneys and one for “a harvest basket” (a collection of 6 items of three fruits and three vegetables).

  • There also a suggestion that we should have a creative/photographic class, which incidentally was well received in 2020's virtual show.

Finally, look out for Chris Sutcliffe’s photographs. Those who attended can choose to be reminded of the afternoon. Those who didn’t attend can look at them and prepare for next year!

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