Welcome to this year’s Newsletter, and a hello from me, your new Director of Shows. While the majority of you know me there will be some who don’t and others who know my face but haven’t a clue who I am! If you’re in doubt, I’m the bearded, bespectacled, Scotsman occasionally accused of being grumpy….it’s a facade!
2016 wasn’t an easy season for our plants, a less than chilly winter confusing many but, overall, it was a successful show season.
Sadly another show, Southport, has gone from the calendar. The local group, like many others, has a membership not in the first flush of youth and have found it impossible to put in place a new Show Secretary and a full complement of volunteers. I fear this is not the last time we will be faced with this problem. You, the exhibiting population, have a vested interest in preventing further decline in the number of shows and I would urge you to get together with other exhibitors, and local group committees, in your area and try to create a team which could create a new show, or resurrect an old one. The problem is particularly acute in the West of England from Cheshire northwards where we now only have the Kendal and East Lancs Shows. The Shows team are here to help so don’t be shy. Don’t hesitate to contact me.
On a personal note re the above, I have agreed to be Secretary for the Summer Pershore Show this year to prevent it falling by the wayside. As I live 88 miles away this is not ideal and local involvement is essential if this show is to continue.
Polish those pots!
You should receive this newsletter with your Shows Handbook for 2017. It has been sent out to all known exhibitors, judges and anyone else who has requested one. If you hear of anyone who did not receive one who should have, tell them to let us know.
The demise of the Southport Show is discussed above.
As an experiment a new Pershore Early Show has been added to the calendar filling the early season gap between South Wales and Harlow Early Spring. This will take place in a proper building and not in the glasshouse which has been used for recent summer shows, which would not have been ideal on the 25th February! Jim and Chris McGregor have kindly agreed to act as Joint Show Secretaries for this year but we really do need local group support to make this a permanent feature.
After many years in one place the Loughborough Shows this year are moving to a new venue just the other side of the M1, Shepshed High School (but beware they intend to change the name of the school next summer just to confuse you further). The new venue is a very modern school building with ample parking and a large, brightly lit show hall which will delight the photographers among you.
Another bold experiment is the moving of the South West Show to RHS Rosemoor. It is hoped this will significantly increase attendance of non-members at the show, something which has been very successful at Harlow Carr.
By popular request the standard closing time for shows will be 3.30 with trophy presentations at 3.15. Note this does not apply to all shows, in particular Dublin, Ulster, South West and Harlow Carr where 4.00 will still be closing time.
In 2015 we only had artistic sections at the two Kent shows and Loughborough Autumn. This will be augmented this year by artistic sections at both the February and July Pershore Shows. On photography I await, with much interest, the results of the expanded Photographic Competition.
I know this comes up every year but please keep twisting arms, encouraging or blackmailing members to start showing. Make sure they come to a show and look at the Novice Section exhibits. Merely marvelling at 36cm pans in the Open section is not going to get them in the right frame of mind!
To widen our appeal and encourage new and young exhibitors you will see hardy Cactus and mini garden classes have been added to all shows in the Novice Section. The Novice Section mini garden class allows the use of accessories if desired. Cactus classes have also been added to the Open and Intermediate Sections at some shows.
Question: Have you ever been to a show where no one has muttered about the judging at all? Thought not! Still, spare a thought for that body of volunteers who undertake this not insignificant task. This is not an easy job and, when faced with a number of superbly grown plants which are difficult to separate on the grounds of condition and presentation to the guidelines in the Shows Handbook, it will become subjective rather than objective. At this point consistency may not be apparent week to week because, like it or not, this is when personal preferences and prejudices come in to play. Apply this to foliage classes, succulents and cushions and you can see it would be unreasonable to expect the same plant to win week after week.
That’s why the judges for each show, and indeed the groups of three judges, are rotated to ensure the full spread of knowledge and opinion is utilised. Remember, we don’t all know everything.
If you’d like to read a little more about the trials and tribulations of judging then go on to the website and read my report from the 2016 Newcastle Show and Robert Rolfe’s from the Kent Autumn Show. The difficulties will be apparent.
Does this mean you shouldn’t moan about the judging? Of course not it’s part of the fun of exhibiting.
More seriously if you spot something just plain wrong (judges are human after all), or simply can’t understand where the judges were coming from, then speak to me or the judging coordinator on duty that day.
The Society's website is a valuable repository for images of plants taken at our shows.
The Show Results Section (www.alpinegardensociety.net/shows/results/) contains complete results from all the shows over the last 12 years with pictures of many of the trophy winning plants.
The Show Reports Section (www.alpinegardensociety.net/shows/reports/) contains reports of all the shows back to 2005 as seen through the eyes of the official Show Reporter, with descriptions and pictures of many of the more unusual plants seen.
The Image Library (www.alpinegardensociety.net/agsimages/library/) contains all the digital images taken by the official show photographers back to 2007. This library can be searched on the website in many ways. For example, you can search for a particular plant or for pictures of all your own plants or for all the images from a particular show or a particular year. To access the full range of search criteria and to see full size images, you need to be a logged in AGS member.
More informal show reports and picture galleries of shows can be seen in the Members' Discussion Area (www.alpinegardensociety.net/discussion/atshows/). Any member can display pictures and make comments here, so please share your impressions and pictures of the shows with other members, either here or on Twitter or Facebook.
The annual league tables for prize points in each section appear on the website.
The winners of the sections in the 2016 Season were:
Giuseppi Cup (Open Section): Don Peace
Byng Cup (Intermediate Section): Pauline Carless came first by 1 point.
The Trophy itself was won by Lawrence Peet as Pauline
held it last year and it can't be won by the same exhibitor twice.
Clifford Crook Cup (Novice Section): David Morris
Nancy May Herbert Memorial Award (Open Section Artistic): Jean Morris
Intermediate Section Artistic: Not Awarded
DIRECTOR OF SHOWS:
Martin Rogerson, email: Martin.Rogerson@agsgroups.org
Jim Almond: email: Jim.Almond@agsgroups.org
Ray Drew: email: Ray.Drew@agsgroups.org
Geoff Mawson: email: Geoff.Mawson@agsgroups.org
Dave Riley: email: Dave.Riley@agsgroups.org
Rannveig Wallis: email: Rannveig.Wallis@agsgroups.org
Chris Lilley: email: Chris.Lilley@agsgroups.org
Jim McGregor: email: Jim.McGregor@agsgroups.org