As usual Johns Church, Harborne was the venue for our Annual Show. We had taken the decision to hold the show a fortnight earlier than usual, hopefully to avoid the extreme heat of late July and so produce better blooms. The weather conspired to produce the most difficult conditions, cold, wet and windy. The result was marked and damaged blooms that usually would never get near the show bench.
I was very relieved to see the first 12 board placed on the bench, followed by baskets, pots and vases. A message that John and Ann Stringer had broken down on their way from Preston was a major blow. We missed their good exhibits, and they had to endure the frustration of not being able to bench the results of much labour (The good news is that they did put up a tremendous display at Southport a few weeks later). However, exhibits continued to be benched, so that by judging time it was clear that there would be a show for the visitors to see. I was encouraged by an increase in the number of members attending, It was a pleasure to meet people and put names to faces.
Once again our Chairman Fred Owen proved himself to be our premier exhibitor, with red cards in the majority of classes. His basket was judged the best exhibit, and he easily took the trophies for both Show and Fancy Pansies. In the viola classes, Stephen Leigh managed to force a draw with Fred. Ian Pickup from, Bristol staged some creditable exhibits, and most importantly some notable seedlings; the result of a dedicated breeding programme. George Soesan brought along some really good violetta blooms as well as pots of bedding varieties. Denis Fletcher travelled from Hertfordshire by train and bus carrying his precious blooms in a box. The centrefold shows his excellent bloom of 'Mina Walker' , thus he was a worthy winner of the Novice Trophy, and he will be warmly welcomed into the open classes next year. Our President and Judge, Tom Mantle, said that the exhibitors deserved congratulations for putting up such a display after such poor weather. And this sentiment was echoed by many of our visitors.
A well-stocked plant stall was managed by Ruth Barber, and Janette Warmer toiled hard in the kitchen to produce refreshments for all while our treasurer Gerald Barber beavered away in the background as usual. Our Show runs smoothly because of the effort these people put in, quietly and in the background so a large thankyou to one and all.
We are aiming to have next years Show in mid June (2001). I hope to meet even more members, and hope that one or two might be sufficiently inspired to exhibit.
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