With summer in full swing, the start of the great British flower show season has started.
Last Saturday was Brighstone Summer Show, which attracted many exhibitors and visitors alike, despite a last-minute venue change caused by the gale-force winds.
With classes covering summer flowers, vegetables, flower-arranging, cooking, crafts and children’s classes, there is something for everyone. Village flower shows are an integral part of village life, and are often the first steps a keen amateur takes before moving up to more specialist shows.
I have spent many years encouraging new, would-be exhibitors, to have a go at their local village show, to get a feel for what it’s all about. It is not just about winning a rosette or even some token prize money. It’s the social interaction between like-minded people, all sharing their same love of gardening, sharing knowledge and, of course, the friendly banter and rivalry!
In modern life we all find ourselves struggling to find the time, and often the space, to grow the things we want to. Gardens are getting smaller and the provision of available allotments often lacking. However, it is amazing what people can achieve in a small space. Whether you are young or not so young, able-bodied or not so able, gardening is something that we can all enjoy and part of that enjoyment is to share our passion with others.
Many of the flowers, fruit and vegetables that we are growing for the shows are putting on a lot of growth at the moment, and it’s important to keep up with feeding and watering our plants. Courgettes, cucumbers, and beans should be picked regularly to encourage more fruit to come. Tomatoes need regular feeding with a tomato food. Roses that have finished blooming can be pruned back to encourage a second flush, and some perennials, such as geraniums, can also be given a haircut. Dahlias should be putting some lovely fresh growth now with plenty of buds forming.
Upcoming shows include Chillerton (July 29), Chale (August 5/6) and Freshwater (August 12).
Pictured: Liz Prior’s winning vase of Sweet Peas, beating yours truly!