Gardeners put on a ‘fantastic’ show despite challenging weather conditions
Against all the odds Saturday 15 July saw a ‘fantastic’ turn out for the St Mawes & District Flower and Produce Show. There were just under 200 entries, including children, so the committee were delighted.
Preparations kept the committee busy getting posters up, show guides distributed and cups polished and gleaming ready for this year’s winners. But the weeks before the show hadn’t been easy for growers and there were fears this year’s show might not see the usual standard and number of entries.
The growing season for flowers and vegetables had presented its own set of challenges. Gardeners had contended with weeks of drought and heat. Then, just before the show itself temperatures dropped and in came the wind and down came the rain.
Worried that the difficult conditions would lead to a drop in entries the committee sent out words of encouragement. They assured growers that everyone was in the same boat and – well, there was always Class 22 for rude or funny vegetables!
Show Secretary, Clare Roberts, and her team refused to be defeated: “I think we can all agree that this year proved particularly challenging to grow anything whether it was sweet peas, vegetables, or tomatoes. However, despite everything the weather gods can throw at us though the show will go on.”
Their worries came to nothing
The turnout was ‘fantastic’ in both the vegetable and flower sections whilst the photography was ‘extremely well supported and very competitive’.
The annual event is open to everyone and the judges look forward to seeing all the entries.
The children’s section this year included classes in fridge cake, posies, ladybirds (which proved to be very popular) and animals made of vegetables. The overall winner was the vegetable animal (0972)
Show winners are listed below and there’s a gallery of pictures at the end of this article:
Decorative Horticulture: Valerie Willis
Home Industries: Penny Mathews
Floral Art: Joanna Cecil
Roses: Angela Greenwell
Vegetables: Phil Salter
Photography: Nicky Rennie
Childrens’ Section: Sydney Rose
Best Exhibit in Show: Steve Chapman
Overall Show winner: Phil Salter
Other highlights included the raffle, cream teas and the plant stall.
There were thanks for the judges: Clarence Thomas (vegetables & flowers); Deborah Williams (Floral Art); Ann Long (Home Industries and Childrens’ sections); John Scorse (flavoured alcohol and cordials); Mark Osborne (Photography).
Thanks go to Judith Bayliss who runs the children’s section every year – even the teachers joined in this year!
There’s a special mention for Valerie and Brian Willis who together with Alison Robinson, grew, collected and sold many plants to raise funds for the Society as they do every year.
Also, thanks go to the sponsors H Tiddy Estate Agents, The Hotel Tresanton, King Harry Ferry, the Idle Rocks & St Mawes Hotel, and the Waterside Gallery.
A little bit of history
The history of the society and the show is sketchy. But this catalogue from October 1898 proves produce has been proudly put on show in St Mawes for at least 125 years. Things have moved on and the show isn’t quite so ‘grand’ as it used to be. Back in 1898 it was a two day show with afternoon and evening entertainment! And they don’t have poultry classes any more! But with just under 200 entries this year it is still as popular as ever. The committee is currently trying to compile a history of the Society so if any readers have old show guides or photographs they would be delighted to hear from you. Contact details at the end of this article.
Back to this century
The Society, affiliated to the RHS and the Cornwall Garden Society, now has over 80 members ranging from complete gardening novices to old hands. They try to ensure their annual programme of events appeals to everyone. The annual show is just one event in the society’s calendar. There’s a full programme of events planned for the rest of 2023 and into 2024. It includes lectures and garden and nursery visits. Some fixed and some to be confirmed.
September 14th. Hedgerow Foraging with Matt Vernon. Pendower Beach 1pm.
September 21st. Garden visit. Guided tour, Bodmin Nursery. Afternoon (time to be confirmed)
October 26th. New Members Evening. Talk. Speaker: Matt James (aka The City Gardener). “Maximising Your Planting”.
November 16th. Talk. Katharine Hersee (aka The Teatime Gardener).”Blitz Gardens in London”.
December 14th. Talk. Gary Long (Head Gardener at Trewithen). “Trees and shrubs for the small garden.”
January 25th. Talk. Ben Ruscombe-King, (aka The Endsleigh Gardener). The Garden at Endsleigh
February 22nd. Talk. Elizabeth Reeves. “Features and Focal Points in the Garden”.
March 21st. AGM & Quiz The Millenium Rooms. 17.45
April? Garden Visit. Bonython Estate Gardens (2024 dates not yet confirmed)
May 14th? (Date to be confirmed) Garden Visit. Guided tour Tregrehen Garden
June 20th?. (Date to be confirmed) Garden Visit. Visit to Camel Valley Vineyard to coincide with English Wine Week (15- 22nd June)
- The timing of the 2024 Flower Show will be discussed after this year’s Show
- Unless otherwise specified all talks will take place in the Mosaic Room, Hotel Tresanton and will start at 18.15 with entry from 17.45
- The New Members Evening includes a glass of wine
- All talks are free to members. Non-members are welcome at £5.00pp
If you are interested in knowing more or would like to join the St Mawes & District Garden Society the membership form is available from the Secretary Ruth Clarke. Give her a ring on 07900 884630 or drop her an email – firstname.lastname@example.org