Early June seems a long time away as I write, but in front of me I have the photographs that Ian Pickup took, and these remind me of just what a colourful spectacle was produced this year. The move to early June had the required effect of producing better quality blooms and plants, and we shall aim to have the 2002 show on the corresponding weekend.
We have been trying for several years to increase the number of exhibitors and visitors to the show, and little by little we have achieved both. Changes to the schedule have been designed to encourage new exhibitors and also to give the more experienced some fresh challenge. Thus the new trophy class this year called for 3 vases, one each of Fancy Pansies, Show Pansies and Exhibition Violas, 5 blooms of a single variety per vase. We have to thank Ian Pickup for this as the idea sprung from him on a Bristol - Bridgnorth telephone conversation. It produced two exhibits this year, one of which took best in show, but more important is that it produeced a determination in others to have a go next year. This can only be a good thing which will lead to a raising of standards. Tim Grace came down from Yorkshire to judge, and his first impressions were that it had been a very long time since he had seen so many exhibits, and of a generally good quality. As usual our Chairman Fred Owen brought blooms and plants that meant he was showing in almost every class. This really does help to make the show, and quite deservedly did Fred oncle again take home the Robb Trophy for the overall winner of the show. However, he does not have it all his own way! Since winning the novice trophy a couple of years ago Ian Pickup has increased both the number and quality of his exhibits. This year it was a great pleasure to see him awarded the society's bronze medal, and I am sure that he will very soon add a silver to that. His breeding programme is also producing some colour breaks that are much needed in the Fancy Pansies, and this year for the first time that I can remember there were crowds of novelties in the seedling class. Tim Grace was asked to judge these and award certificates, another thing that has not happened in my memory. In the "good old days" such a task would have been done by a panel fo judges. But for the present we have to rely upon the experience of Tim, and we must thank him for agreeing to take on the task
It was a pleasure to see two members contesting the novice classes, with George Soesan of Coventry taking the trophy by just one point from John Towning of Nottingham. Both gentlemen produced exhibits worthy of the open classes, and I am sure that they both enjoyed the experience. Denis Fletcher travelled up once again from Cheshunt. As last year's novice winner he had to show in the larger classes and put up some creditable blooms. Stephen Leigh added a number of exhibits to the show, all of which go along to give our visitors something to look at and discuss.
Exhibitors and visitors both say each year that this is one of the most friendly flower shows in existence. I am really pleased that we are able to maintain this at the same time as working ever harder to improve the quality of exhibits. There are a number of things that go into making the show what it is. The exhibits of course are easy to see, but the work that is put in by various members is vital in making the whole thing work. Jannette Warmer always produces wonderful refreshments with apparent ease, while husband John is busy with the video camera. Our video records are a most important part of the society records, a valuable archive for the future. Ever minded of the need to maintain the sound financial base of the society, Ruth and Gerald Barber dod a grand job with the sales and raffle.
I always enjoy the show as an opportunity to meet and talk, as well as to see what goes onto the benches. If you have not been before, do try to get to next year's show. I am sure you will find the journey worthwhile.
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