Saturday 16 September 2017

Tottington Show 9th September, 2017.

I don't think that many people know that the name of this show actually appears in the Wallace nd Grommit film The Curse of the Were Rabbit. There are about eight classes for gladioli and in normal years I would fill it but this year the weather and season combined to wipe out most entries and as I'd been in Spain during the week my flowers had got battered by the elements. I just managed these three poor quality, underflowered prims: an Anne Milton on the left, a Marie Sandham in the middle and a new seedling on the right. They didn't deserve much but got best exhibit and a medal. If I had been judging I don't think I would have awarded a medal for these. The other glads at the show all had the bottom two or three florets gone and looked a bit bedraggled by the weather.

 I just about managed to find six Sweet Peas from the bed and put in these which came second to a better six that had been staged without water and looked sad by the end of the show.

A gentleman called Derek Brooks, who sometimes writes about his garden in Garden News, is the main exhibitor in this show. Without him there would be no roses, no chrysanthemums and not so many other flowers.  How he gets everything in his car is a mystery. He had some nice chrysanthemums on display. Mine had gone over so I couldn't bring them.

Above is Gillette and maybe Yellow Billy Bell and below is Matlock, one of my favourites.

His vase of five contained two different sorts of Matlock.

There are two classes for PFs in the show. I put three entries in the vase of three and one in the single.
These three Crompton Classic got the best in general flowers, although they are hardly well matched. It's a variety that appeals a lot to general judges. 

I also put in a vase of two Lavender Schubert and an Unfinished Symphony.

My third vase had two Clara's Choice and a Heracles in it. 

In the single class I put in what I think was my best Crompton Princess of the year. I'm not too keen on this variety. It's a short grower and many of them seem to have too much petal for me. This one was big and round.

Friday 15 September 2017

Lancs and Cheshire Carnation Society Premier Show 2nd September 2017

Last year, this show had been very poorly supported and I was showing elsewhere at Liverpool on the day. I promised myself that I would try to support it this year. Then Liverpool Show fell through, which made it even easier to go to Atherton.

  As it turned out it was a repeat of the previous year with only myself and Keith Horton in the PFs and maybe three entrants in the Pinks. My intention had been to just go in one or two of the big classes, as I didn't have much but when I realised the situation at the venue, I split my blooms up to make more entries and at least give some semblance of a show. The crazy thing was that not only was there mountains of food, but the two judges travelled all the way down from the North-
East to do the judging and didn't have much of a job to do.

The one Heracles that I had wasn't very round.

This Lavender Schubert caused some confusion for the judges as I don't think they'd seen one before. At the moment it's classified as both self and a fancy which can't help matters. One of the judges thought it had sported from being self. In fact it's always like this.

The ever-reliable Crompton Classic gave me my white ground fancy.

Another that I've used a lot this year has been Clara's Choice. I don't think it has anything to do with Clara at all as it repeats fast like a Dutch variety. The late Brian Dean was of the same opinion. The stock came from him.

More consternation from the judges over this Unfinished Symphony below. It's a red ground fancy, classified as a pink ground fancy, another Schubert Sport. Mine got more and more red as the season progressed. The judge removed it from the Any Other Fancy class, put it in the red self class and judged it as a self.

To add to the judges' misery, I put in an Olivia, a commercial green variety which judges loathe with a passion. Compared to Elsie Kitchen, it has too much petal according to the arbiters of these things and after a similar one at Southport had been totally ignored it was hardly surprising that it only got a third from the judge.

Two Crompton Princess and a Winter Wonderland gave me my three whites.

Three Lavender Schuberts gave me another three selfs.

Best in Show went to these three Clara's Choice.

The Pinks saved the day and were probably of higher quality than my PFs.

It's a job to know what to do about this show. This year, I was unopposed in lots of classes at many venues. There is very little pleasure in receiving awards when you're the only exhibitor in those classes. I didn't have the luxury of choosing another show on the same day. 

Monday 28 August 2017

The BGS National at Poynton Show, 26th August 2107

This was one of those Nationals which was perfectly o.k. with lots of spike on the benches, but I personally did not think that the very top quality spikes were there this year. It was a great show for the public and there was much to see but there are some years and some glads that just leave you in awe of their glowing magnificence and maybe those were a bit thin on the ground. 

Trevor Fawcett won almost everything and deservedly so. Some of us had clearly suffered from the delayed emergence problem following the dry spring. People who would normally put in a hatful of entries were only able to bench three or four entries. To be honest, if we had been up to our full complement of spikes ,it would have been hard to fit everything in.

The show ran smoothly, thanks to all the hard work that Nigel put into its organisation. 

Here are four shots of some of the benches to give you an idea of the wow factor.

In a hotly contested three prims class, it was Peter Forrow who came out on top with these Little Jude and a Kathryn.

My main efforts were aimed at the seedlings classes and I was lucky enough to win the 4/500 Seedling class with this big white one.

I had hoped that I might do all right with this pink one in the prim seedlings class as it scores very highly on novelty. However, it didn't even get a card, that honour being reserved for rather more conventional seedlings. The winner did have some very sharp markings and looks to be an improvement on Shalimar. The photos of it are on the BGS Facebook page.

I didn't put much in the floret boxes, just this box of my new 200, Firelight. Peter and Nigel fought it out in the prim boxes. 

The floret boxes made a good display.

It was good to see more than one basket in the two classes for them. Trevor won this section as well.

There were a few examples of
Kathryn here and there, exhibited by Karen Bell, Peter Forrow and myself. Theprim below sone of my newer ones, Mira, exhibited by Nigel.

I have two peachy creations which have been seen recently. This is Panier and the other one is Sophie B which is earlier and smaller. The venerable judges were not even a little bit impressed.

I was pleased to see a number of my babies in this prim colour class: there was a Bounty, a numbered seedling, Kathryn, Mira, Lesley Swinnerton and maybe one more.

As long as I can hang on to one of the seedling cups each year, I shall be very happy.

Monday 21 August 2017

The BGS Northern Show, Hartlepool 19th August.

After Southport I had a day's rest before going up to Hartlepool to judge the Northern Show on the Saturday. The 150 mile drive is proving a little tiring these days. I might even catch the train next year. I arrived about 7.30 pm. I went to the show hall to see old and new friends. My first conversation was with Bill Bonas, an excellent carnation grower. Unfortunately, as has been the case this year, there wasn't a huge amount of opposition for Bill to go up against but we had a good chat as he had almost finishing vasing his flowers. I noticed that, in his larger vases of six or so, he 'scotched' every stem. This is an old technique that I was taught by Brian Dean. It involves positioning each stem where you want it and then wedging two other pieces of stem either side of the stem at vase level so the stems can't move out of place. When the judge picks up the vase (unfortunately these days it's sometimes IF the judge picks up the vase) nothing can move out of place.  It takes more time, but Bill has that kind of attention to detail which has led him to beating Ivor in the Gold Cup at Harrogate, a feat few would even attempt. A thoroughly nice bloke, especially when you consider that at Harrogate last year I accidentally poured water over his carnations. We are still speaking which is a measure of his character.

Anyway, I then met up with all the usual 'suspects' - Nigel, Brian Bland, Phil Orley, Malcolm Read, Tom and Tracey Leck, John Davies, Peter Forrow and so on. Of course I didn't look at their flowers but just had a chat.

I slept badly at the hotel, as the seagulls started at 3.20 am and seemed keen to keep me awake. I had breakfast in Morrisons with Nigel's wife and daughter, Alison and Nina who just happened to appear in the queue with me, and then I made my way to the show. It was a very good show in terms of entries - some classes had more than a dozen entries so I had my work cut out to do them all justice. Brian Bland was my steward and John Davies came along to learn the ropes. I suspect that the Southern Show, which is held on the same day, had far fewer exhibits as there are less exhibitors down south.

It's a little bit disconcerting when glads that you have bred appear on the bench. I'm always overly harsh on ones that I've bred: I've seen other judges not be like this and don't know what they have for a conscience. I was at pains to point out to John the faults in those bred by me and a little relieved that none of them actually won a class. Lots of seconds and thirds. There was Kathryn, Panier, Leslie Swinnerton, Sally's Orange II, Diane Phibben (named after my lovely cousin), Seedling 002 which Peter Forrow has kept going, Bonzo, Mira and a few others. I think I have named 50 different prims now so I'm trying to breed 200s and 300s this year and next and maybe for much longer than that.

The class for three prims took some sorting  

As did the single 400 with Babsbill winning.

There were a couple of entries of this Panier in the single prim class. I wrongly identified this as Sophie B, another one of mine but the latter is earlier and more peachy and Nigel rightly said it was not Sophie B. Eventually I remembered what it was.

This prim, Leslie Swinnerton is named after the owner of the care home where my mother-in-law, Peggy Roseby, spent her last years.

The second time I have seen my Mira on the bench: there was one at Huddersfield as well. Quite nice form.  Mira is one of the Albanian students in my English class.

These three Kathryn exhibited by Peter Forrow were not as good as the ones he won with previously which appeared in the BGS Annual a couple of years ago.

Bonzo which I hope will be a 500 smokey, was named after a late friend of mine Dennis 'Bonzo' Roberts.

This is an old garden prim in  bright orange which was actually shown on TV years ago in a programme called The Flying Gardener. Named after my daughter, this is Sally's Orange II.

A good entry in the two floret box classes. Best overall was Murmansk, a lovely white Russian glad.

Only one or two classes had low entries, largely in the different colour classes.

Grand Champion and best 400 was Cream Perfection. The other winners can be seen in photos on the BGS website. the honours were well spread across the exhibitors but Peter Forrow had the lion's share of the firsts. 

So the judging was over. Deals were done over exchanges of plants and requests for the same. Then it was the long drive back home. I had to stop for a power  nap not far down the A19 but then it was all plain sailing. That's my judging done for this year so I can relax and enjoy the remaining shows. Next up is the National where i won't have as much as last year but I hope to have some novelties for people to look at. Poynton have asked me to enter the PF Carnations section so I hope I can do that justice for them. The forecast here is rain all week so I may well be getting the bags over some of my spikes to stop them from being spoiled. As I have other things on on Thursday afternoon  it's going to be a mad rush to cut the glads on Thursday morning  and on Friday I'll dress them before I get them over to the show. I was thinking today that most winners are made at home in the way that people look after them before the show. 

Here is the best floret box: Mirmansk, all the way from Russia.


My apologies for getting John Davies and John Jones mixed up in an earlier version of this.