ags logo
Exhibitors' Newsletter, Spring 2011
[ Full list of Exhibitors Newsletters ]
[ Printable Version in separate window ]

Exhibitors' Newsletter, Spring 2011

You should receive this newsletter with your Shows Handbook for 2011. It has been sent out to all known exhibitors and judges and to anyone else who has requested one.

Are you a new member of the Alpine Garden Society?

If you have joined the Society in the last year, but have not yet exhibited at a show, we have also sent you a copy of the Shows Handbook in the hope that you might be tempted to become an exhibitor. If you would like to obtain a copy in future years, you need to let us know.

All members should have received a list of Show Dates in the Shows leaflet sent out with the December bulletin. If you know of anyone who might be tempted to exhibit at our shows, phone or e-mail the AGS Centre and they will be glad to send a Handbook out to the member concerned.

Use of the members’ discussion area on the website is still growing. It is quite easy to upload the occasional show picture to this part of the website. A larger collection of pictures of a show can still be e-mailed to me for display as part of the more detailed show photo-galleries. There are well over 4000 pictures of plants at our shows in this section of the website.

The Society website is at:

My thanks to everyone who contributed to the success of the shows during 2010 and good luck with your exhibiting in 2011.

                                                                               Ray Drew

In this issue:

Jim McGregor retires as D of S

New Show Department set-up

Show Sub-Committee Membership

New Exhibitors

Loss of Summer North

New venue for East Cheshire and Summer Show Mid-West

The North of England AGS Show

Artistic Section changes

Malvern Artistic section

How to grow’ educational classes

Geographical classes

Conference Show

Aggregate tables for 2010

Jim McGregor retires as Director of Shows.

Jim became Director of Shows back in November 2000 and since that time we have seen at least 8 changes of venue, the instigation of the Caerleon show, from a Non-competitive display to a full blown AGS show, several changes of Show secretaries, along with accompanying helpers and sadly the loss of many a good exhibitor. In his time as Director of Shows, Jim has revolutionised the IT function of the department from a paper driven set-up to a modern, automated system. All of this went on in the background but was non-the-less essential to cope with the time constraints of modern day living. He still found time to exhibit, gaining several Farrer medals (3 in one season!) and Certificates of merit along the way. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Jim for all his hard work and obvious commitment to the society as a whole and hope to see more of his plants on the bench in the coming years.

New Show Department set up

Jim became an impossible act to follow and as such the Jobs of the Director of Shows have been rationalised between a number of different people. I, Ray Drew, have taken on overall responsibility for the running of the department. Dave Riley is now Assistant Director of Shows, with the responsibility for show finances/accounts and budgeting. Don Peace is now responsible for production of the show schedule, he will be liaising with local Show Secretaries to arrange dates/ venues/ class scheduling etc. Jim McGregor hasn’t escaped completely as he is still very much in charge of the IT side of the show department, looking after show results and maintenance of the society’s website. The new title of Judging Coordinator, previously Assistant Director of Shows is held by Rannveig Wallis, Geoff Mawson, Jim Almond with the arrival of Jon Evans now officially co-ordinating the artistic division of the department.

Shows Sub-Committee Membership

Most major decisions about the running of AGS National shows are made by the Shows Sub-Committee. If you want to make suggestions to this committee, the members of the Shows Sub-Committee during the current year are: Chair:Ray Drew; Ex-officio:Val Lee, Chris McGregor; Assistant Director of Shows: Dave Riley; Judging Co-ordinators: Geoff Mawson, Rannveig Wallis, Jim Almond, Jon Evans (Art); Elected Members: Dave Mountfort + potentially 2 others, to be decided at the first main committee meeting of 2011. Shows policy is also discussed at a meeting of Show Secretaries.

New Exhibitors

Do you know anyone that might be persuaded to become an exhibitor? We rely on our exhibitors to maintain the high standard at our shows and a steady supply of new exhibitors is required to keep standards up. Most new exhibitors are brought along to a show by an existing exhibitor and even if they don't bring any plants this year, point out the Novice section to them and encourage them to think about having a go next year. We should all keep an eye open at the shows for anyone who looks new and see if they need help in finding their way through the process of staging their plants.

After several years decline, the number of new exhibitors showing in the Novice section has increased steadily, probably as a result of a relaxation in the rules for making entries – Novice section exhibitors can just bring their plants along on the morning of the show but please inform the local show secretaries of large entries as soon as possible and in all cases, entries must be staged and registered as early as possible to allow printing and placing of entry cards at least 15 minutes before judging is due to commence. 

Loss of Summer North

Due to circumstances largely out of our control, Summer Show North will not be held in 2011. It was certainly not due to the lack of effort on the part of the local team, Eric Rainford and Liz Barber, to find a more suitable venue and they plan to make a flying start in 2011 in their search for a planned revival in 2012

New venues:     East Cheshire
Summer Show Mid-West (formerly Pershore)

The East Cheshire and Pershore Shows have both moved to new venues for the coming show season – details in the Shows Handbook.

The North of England AGS Show (Harrogate) Show

The AGS presence at the Harrogate show will be missed this year. Easter falls late in 2011, which has pushed the Harrogate show to an earlier date, this date had already been selected as the date for the AGS International Conference. This is hopefully just an alteration for 2011

Artistic Section Changes

Due to the fact that we are staging an International conference and extending the exhibition days at Malvern in 2011, several changes need to be noted to the Artistic Section Show schedule.

The full schedule will be used not only at the London Show, but also at the International Conference and Malvern Shows. Artistic Sections at other Shows DO NOT use those Classes marked ‘(Lon, Malv & Conf only)'.

Exhibitors should read the schedule carefully.

·         International Conference Show

At the International Conference Show, artistic entries may be staged on Thursday 14th April between 6.30pm and 7.30pm, or Friday morning between 8am and 12.30pm. Judging will take place at lunchtime on Friday 15th April. Entries may not be removed until after lunch (2pm) on Sunday 17th April. 

·         Malvern Show

There will be an Artistic Section at the Malvern Show for the first time. This will judged on the morning of Thursday 12th May, and will be open to visitors to the show from Thursday 12th until Sunday 15th May. Precise details of staging times, and closing time, have not yet been finalised; please contact Jon Evans for more details.

·         South West Show

Please Note: There is an Artistic section at the South West Show – this was a printing error on the ‘Shows 2011’ leaflet.

In 2011, for the first time, the South West Show will include Class 208 for 3 close-up photos of alpine plants.

·         Summer South Show

Summer South will have the Intermediate Photographic Section, Intermediate Section only; two new classes 238 and 239 appear only there.

238 3 colour photographs of an alpine plant, as Class 200 (Summer South only)

239 close-up photograph of an alpine plant as Class 208 (Summer South only)

·         Dublin and Ulster will not include classes 205 or 216.

Jon Evans is happy to arrange to transport entries for exhibitors between the various English shows; please contact him if you wish him to do so. In addition, Jon is the person to contact if you have any questions or suggestions about the schedule, or about judging of the artistic section.

'How to Grow' Educational Classes.

This class was introduced as an experiment last season; firstly to see how it was received by exhibitors and secondly, to let judges discuss they way in which it needed to be judged. The initial entries formed the basis for working out what was required in terms of information, this varied from several A4 sized entries to a bare minimum of a paragraph for each entry – the quality of plant material was, as expected, very good. It has been decided that the information would be most easily assimilated if it was presented in the form of bullet points of one or two paragraphs each to cover all aspects of cultivation, for example:- Location (i.e. alpine house, frame, open garden etc.) Compost; Watering/feeding; Ventilation/shading; known pests/disease and any other relevant detail in brief. As an example, I have copied the notes from an excellent entry from last year:-


 Location. Terracotta pots plunged in alpine house, very limited success possible in frame.

Ventilation. Maximum possible except in fog, driving rain/snow. Supplemented with electric fans.

Shading. Full light autumn to spring. Light shading in summer.

Compost. Well drained. Typically 60% 1-3mm grit, 20% JI2, 10%, Seramis, 10% vermiculite.

Watering. Via plunge, do not over water between summer and early winter as leads to fungal rot.

Feeding. Occasional potash to promote flowering. Avoid nitrogen which produces lush foliage.

Diseases. Botrytis if damp or poorly ventilated.

Pests. Vine weevil, red spider and aphids can be problems but I have not found them to be.

Geographical classes – the ‘Spirit’ of the class

On a number of occasions over the past few seasons, this class has split the judges, not based on the quality of the plants but on the definition of what is expected. We have seen a number of excellent plants which are welcome at AGS shows but have not fitted in with the ‘spirit’ of this class. As a guide, this class is for plants that would be seen in the wild 'as the norm' i.e. excluding highly selected forms, for example: - double flowered, highly variegated foliage and certainly no man-made hybrids.

Conference Show (plants) – things to know.

·         The plant show is for one day only on the Saturday of the Conference.

·         Conference delegates who wish to exhibit plants can place their plants in the Show Hall when they arrive at the Conference. (The Show Hall will be kept cool to maintain the condition of the plants during Friday.)

·         Plants can be staged properly 5.30pm to 7.00pm on Friday, 7.30am to 8.30am on Saturday.

·         After the Show closes at 4.00pm on Saturday, plants belonging to Conference delegates can be left on display on side tables until the conference closes on Sunday. (The Show Hall will again be kept cool, apart from Saturday evening during dinner)

·         Exhibitors who only wish to come on the day of the show can stage their plants on Saturday Morning at the times above.

·         Special one-day Conference rate for Exhibitors, Saturday only

Exhibitors coming with plants on the Saturday only and who wish to attend the lectures will be eligible for a special one-day Conference delegate rate avilable for the Saturday only. This can be booked by contacting the AGS Centre.

Newsletter Copy

If you have any brief items that could be printed in future issues of this Newsletter, please let me have them. I am looking for someone to act as coordinator and would welcome any offers, if interested, please contact me on the above e-mail address. 

The 2010 League Tables

Trophies are awarded for the most first prize points won in the season by exhibitors in each Section. The various League tables for 2010 can be found in the Show Results Section of the website.


The Show Department


Ray Drew, Tel: 01268 454152 (after 4.00pm)


Dave Riley, ‘Tel: 015395 67473



Rannveig Wallis, Tel: 01267 275205
Geoff Mawson, Tel: 01246 415097
Jim Almond, Tel: 01743 242271


Jon Evans, Tel: 01252 724416


Don Peace,


Jim McGregor, Tel: 01905 830279


[ Full list of Exhibitors Newsletters ]
[ Printable Version in separate window ]