The Scottish Pansy and Viola Association have been through some lean times of late. Ever mindful of our own situation not so many years ago I was very pleased to receive the following from Malcolm MacGregor in Ayrshire ...
"Following the sad and sudden death of our President Tom McLatchie, and the abrupt resignation of our secretary, we found ourselves a 4 man society. John Hamilton was elected President and for my sins I was elected secretary.
"Our initial problem was stock; only William Wallace of Beith and myself had any plants, but thanks to the kindness of a number of growers, particularly John Snocken, by our July meeting we were able to distribute at least some plants to our new members.
"The Ayr Flower Show was a remarkable success. John Snocken won the Scottish Championship and most of the Fancy Pansy classes (without crossing the border). William Wallace took the Ritchie Cup for Show Pansies and was the overall show winner. W. Grahamshaw of Dumfries won the John Watt Trophy for the premier bloom, an absolutely tremendous 'Betty Dale'. Kerr Ramsay of Stevenston took the display classes while J. Boyle of Dalmellington took the novice trophy. Thanks to the judges' leniency in accepting 'Pickering Blue' as an exhibition variety I won the Viola cup. The Society managed a reasonable display at three other shows and gained a few new members along the way, although I doubt that I shall ever see a picture frame with 6 garden pansies win a class for a board of 6 Fancy pansies ever again.
"William Wallace continues to breed good new varieties and was awarded a First Class certificate for his new Show Pansy 'Christina Kerr'. He also has promising seedlings of both Show Pansy and Exhibition Viola both of which he hopes will make the grade. Overall a great improvement and hopefully better times to come."
I have to than Malcolm for this contribution, and also for staging my blooms at the Ayr Show. By way of experiment I posted them, carefully packed the day before staging was due to take place. Malcolm did inform me that there were a number of casualties, mostly among the violas. However, I do think that it was a worthwhile exercise.
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