Thursday, September 28, 2006
The fun part at flower shows is getting them there...
With the end of summer, we have also pretty much reached the end of the horticultural show here in the Scottish Borders - much to my wife Ally’s disappointment.
Each year she eagerly looks forward to the start of the season, which always commences at the Border Union Show in Kelso, on the last weekend of July each year.
That show is followed by about a dozen others spread across the Borders, from those with lots of entries which fill big town halls right down to small village events with only a handful of entries in each class.
Each horticultural society show traditionally has a number of classes with trophies for growing vegetables and flowers, home baking, craft work and floral art.
Floral arrangements jostle for space with examples of lemon drizzle cake, while hand-carved shepherd’s crooks rub shoulders with huge potatoes and carrots.
It is the floral art competitions that Ally enjoys. During the week building up to a particular show, our dining room starts to take on the appearance of a florist’s shop, with buckets of blooms of all shapes, sizes and colours.
Of course, you can use your own home-grown flowers if you want and Ally usually incoporates a little of these in each of her exhibits. But everyone also relies on the more exotic blossoms only available from a florist.
Some of the exhibits on show are quite stunning and for an event just last week, Ally worked on into the wee, small hours to get hers just right.
She has been very successful. Last year was her first year showing and she won two cups for most points in floral art at two shows. However, she has surpassed herself this year with winning the trophy for most points at something like seven out of the eight events she has taken part in.
Ally always says the fun is in the taking part, not the winning. However, I always like to see her get presented with a trophy just as recognition of the hard work she puts in. Ally does not always exhibit at the biggest of the shows, this year opting for many of the small village ones where entries are badly needed to keep the events thriving.
Of course, at a lot of these horticultural society events the competition, while perhaps not that big, is intensely fierce. Especially among the old chaps who grow the vegetables. You have never seen onions, carrots, leeks and potatoes as big or as perfect as the ones these men nurture through the summer in their gardens.
For my part, I know nothing about flower arranging. However, my role at these events is to safely transport my wife and her creations to the shows without anything getting damaged on the way.
I also double up as Mr. ‘Step n’ Fetch It’ when it comes to finding and collecting water, boxes, tape, scissors, etc, etc, etc. I don’t mind because I get a big kick out of seeing my wife do something which she enjoys so much.
And that’s the secret isn’t it? Find something you can be passionate about. It does not matter if you win or lose, as long as you give it your best shot. To have an interest or hobby or interest like that is great fun.
It does not matter what it is. Floral art or kung fu, quilting or making model boats. Mind you, I don’t think I’ll be swapping my boxing gloves for florist’s overalls any time soon!
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