Rose and Sweet Pea Show 2018

A stunning display of roses, and sweet peas greeted the many visitors to the show on Saturday 16th June, but even before entering the hall the unique fragrance of sweet peas filled the air.  Growing conditions leading up to the show had been generally good but the high winds that had accompanied storm ‘Hector’ on Thursday had caused some concern particularly as sweet pea blooms are easily damaged in such conditions.

The judges of the exhibits were very complimentary about the standard and quality of the exhibits which, overall, were about the same in number as last year although it was pleasing to see a noticeable increase in the sweet pea exhibits. The wide variety of exhibits and excellent displays of floral art provided a lovely layout that filled the hall, producing a beautiful and colourful display. 

Within the floral art classes, the winning entry in the ‘Song Title’ class was an impressive interpretation of ‘Somewhere over the rainbow’ comprising three yellow centred pink Gerberas mounted vertically over a bed of  pink roses, pink coloured chrysanthemum and purple Lysanthus with hosta leaves around the base.  The best exhibit in the ‘Everything’s coming up roses’ class was an arrangement of apricot roses interwoven with golden Eunonymus foliage and yellow and bronze Alstroemerias.  The first place in the petite class, ’You’ve been Framed’ was an intricate working diagonally symmetrical  blue/white Violas and Feverfew making up two diagonally opposite corners of a picture frame with the other two corners formed from geranium leaves.  The judge commented on the amount of time that it must have taken to create the arrangement and was awarded the best floral art exhibit at the show.

Within the rose classes, the quality of the exhibits was excellent, particularly taking account of the recent weather. Of particular note were the exhibits of a single rose made up as a buttonhole, and the group of three large pink roses, the winner of which also took the prize for the best rose exhibit. The entries in the sweet pea classes were also of an excellent quality and the display of three vases of five stems was simply stunning.

The sweet pea entries were all of a very high standard and for the first time for several years there were multiple entries in each of the sweet pea classes.  Varieties of sweet pea that stole the show included ‘White Supreme’, ‘Anniversary’, ‘Gwendoline’, ‘Just Julia’, ‘Sophisticated Lady’ and ‘Gary Kirkman’.  Altogether the exhibits made a stunning and wonderfully fragrant display.

The vegetable classes included some fine examples of potatoes, broad beans, peas, rhubarb, cabbage and gooseberries, but it was the class for ten strawberries that attracted the most entries with the winning exhibit being the variety ‘Cambridge Favourite’.

The pansy and viola classes each attracted several entries with the five blooms displayed on a palette.  The vase of mixed flowers class was won by a beautiful collection of flowers including Delphiniums, Loosestrife, Arum Lilies, Peonies and Scabious. The mixed foliage class with exhibits comprising stems of many different shrubs with leaves of different sizes, shapes and colours gave a magnificent display with a high standard of entry, the winner was particularly difficult to select but was the exhibit with probably the widest variety of foliage.  Three spikes of Bottlebrush took the first place in the three stems of flowering shrub class, and three stems of a delicate blue Clematis won its class. 

The classes of pot plants produced great variety of size and shape including several beautiful orchids, many interesting succulents and a delightful bonsai, but a superb Oxalis Purpureum took the prize of best pot plant in the show.  The class of five hosta leaves attracted great interest, the judge marvelled at the quality and range of hostas that were on display. The Alstroemeria and Penstemon classes also attracted several entries.

Report by Paul Sedgwick