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Exhibitors Newsletter, Spring 2012
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Exhibitors Newsletter, Spring 2012

You should receive this newsletter with your Shows Handbook for 2012.  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 a multitude of 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 2011 and good luck with your exhibiting in 2012.

                                                                                                       Ray Drew


In this issue

  • Dave Riley retires as assistant Director of  Shows
  • Show Sub-Committee Membership
  • Are you a new Exhibitor?
  • Bar to Silver Merit Medal
  • The North of England AGS Show
  • Summer North is back!
  • ….. and so is Loughborough autumn
  • Malvern Artistic  section
  • How to grow’ educational classes
  • Cactus – foliage or not?

Newsletter Copy

If you have any brief items that could be printed in future issues of this Newsletter, please let me have them, contacting me on the above e-mail address

Dave Riley retires as Assistant Director of Shows.

Sadly, Dave Riley has retired as Assistant Director of shows, retirement from work and family commitments mean that he cannot devote as much time as he feels necessary to carry out the role as he would like. Dave was mainly responsible for show finances/accounts and budgeting within the Shows department (can I ask that any queries now be directed to me). I would like to thank Dave for all his help in the past year.

Show 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 Show Sub-Committee during the current year are: Chair: Ray Drew; Ex-officio: Val Lee, Chris McGregor; Jim McGregor, Don Peace; Elected Members: Eric Jarrett, Geoff Mawson, J Walker; Judging Co-ordinators: Rannveig Wallis, Jim Almond, Jon Evans (Art).  Shows policy is also discussed at a meeting of Show Secretaries.

Are you a new Exhibitor?

….or 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 these 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.

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 30 minutes before judging is due to commence. 

Bar to Silver Merit Medal.

The ‘Silver Merit Medal’ system has now reached the point where a number of people have attained the maximum allowable first prize points within the intermediate section before having to move into the Open section. To clarify the situation, once an exhibitor has achieved 5 Silver bars, he/she ceases to qualify for entry into the Intermediate section with immediate effect. Jim McGregor, as shows record keeper will ensure the exhibitor is alerted to this.

The North of England AGS Show (Harrogate) Show

I know some contradictory information has been published about this show but sadly we have lost Harrogate again - this happened very suddenly after the bulletin had already gone to press. I was told that they had sent a letter with a deadline for response stating that they wanted more than just the one day event we supply as the marquee costs them a lot of money to have sitting idle; the organising powers-that-be insisted that we supply a 4 day display of plants or nothing at all. I already new they wanted more from us and had provisionally arranged an artistic display with demonstrations and bookstall/publicity for the Thursday and Friday, the show on Saturday as normal and potentially a 'local groups' day on the Sunday – their letter never arrived and the very short deadline expired presenting us with a fait accompli. I know many people will be disappointed but even with a little more time this was really an unrealistic request for us to meet this season. I will contact them with a view to a compromise.

Summer North is back!

As hoped for in last years Newsletter, Eric Rainford and his team have found a very suitable venue for this season's Summer Show North. I have seen pictures of the Chesney Centre which is situated conveniently close to Junction 32 on the M62 and it looks to have very good facilities. The venue has a separate show hall, plant sales area, display area and an open plan café area. There is parking at both the front and rear with ground floor access which is fully DDA compliant

….. and so is Loughborough Autumn.

After not too much badgering, I am very happy to report that Doreen and Eric Webster have agreed to revive the autumn show at the  Burleigh Community College (the same venue as the spring show). This was always a popular and well attended show and I am sure very many exhibitors will join me in thanking them and their team for its return. Because of this, Doreen and Eric have said that they no longer feel able to stage the early plant sale/non-competitive display day – two shows are enough!

Malvern Artistic Section.

There will be no artistic section at Malvern this season. The organising body couldn’t tell us what space was available so I have had to make a decision based on the facts to hand. This decision was not taken lightly but outside forces took over leaving us little room for manoeuvre.

'How to Grow' Educational Classes.

Just to remind any potential exhibitors in these classes that the information needs to be educational; it needs to be accurate and easily assimilated - bullet points of one or two paragraphs each to cover all aspects of cultivation are thought best, i.e :-

 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:-


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.

In terms of exhibiting and judging these classes it is also important to remember that equal weight is given to both the quality of the plant material as is to the educational quality of the information supplied.

Cactus – foliage or not???

This is one of those questions that occurs with regularity at AGS shows. I have my thoughts on the matter and have consulted a number of ‘experts’ in the field but I would like to give exhibitors their chance to express their views on the matter pending a final decision for next season. Either speak to me at a show or contact me using the details in the show schedule.

The 2011 League Tables

Trophies are awarded for the most first prize points won in the season by exhibitors in each Section.  Here I have listed the top few exhibitors for each Section, together with the number of firsts and first prize points they won.  The full lists are on the website.


Open Section        (Giuseppi Cup)


                                          firsts    pts

   1 Cecilia Coller               102   247

   2 Paul & Gill Ranson        70   181

   3 Ivor Betteridge               79    13

   4 Ian Kidman                     48   104

   5 Don Peace                     55    89

   6 Bob & Rannveig Wallis 36    88

   7 Lee & Julie Martin          32    59

   8 Ian Robertson                27    52

   9 George Young               30    50

10 Liam Byrne                     30    44


B Section and Open Section

                                   (Byng Cup)

                                          firsts    pts

(  1 Anne Vale                       70   121)

   2 Tony Hale                      66    96

   3 Jim Watson                    23    32

   4 Clive Dart                       14    22

   5 Georgina Instone          21    21

   6 Pamela Anderson          15    21

   7 Paul Street                      11    19

   8 Michael&Mandy McLoughlin 18    18

   9 Gavin Moore                  11    17

10 Jackie Street                  13    17


C Section and Open Section

                          (Clifford Crook Cup)

                                          firsts    pts

   1 John Fitzpatrick            39    47

   2 Audrey Dart                    13    21

   3 Tony Stanley                 11    17

   4 Julie Parrott                    10    12

   5 Jimmy Lott                        7     9

   6 Sam McDowell                 6     8

   7 Christine Boulby              7     7

   8 Michael Sullivan              6     6

   9 Andrew Ward                   4     6

10 Peter Perrin                      3     5


Artistic Open Section

                       (Ferns Art Trophy)

                                          firsts    pts

   1 Jon Evans                      43   133

   2 Kathleen Baker              39   118

   3 Jean Morris                    44    88

   4 Martin & Anna Sheader 12    49

   5 Peter Maguire                 15    31

   6 Howard & Sally Wills      7    19

   7 Rannveig Wallis              5    15

   8 Graham Nicholls             5    13

   9 Joan&Liam McCaughey  6    12

10 Peggy Dawe                     8     8

Further analysis of the Artistic Section results show that, within the Artistic Open Section, the most first prize points for photographs were obtained by Jon Evans and the most first prize points for paintings, drawings and needlework were obtained by Kathleen Baker.

In the Artistic B Section, the most first prize points for photographs were obtained by Ju Bramley and for paintings and drawings by Maeve Spotswood.

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