As we pick out the plants in the sweltering heat of the weekend we will often wonder "why are we doing this?". As we travel to the show in the van with the windows down trying to get some breeze and the radio on to take our mind off the endless queue of traffic we will think "why are we doing this?". As we unload the van and start setting up the display in the dusty, hot marquee with the flowers almost wilting in front of us we say "Why are we doing this?", and then it comes.... judgement day.... the day of reckoning.... and even after all these many years the nerves still kick in, the stomach twists with anticipation and dread - will the judges like it? Have the flowers stood up to the heat? And then finally it comes the fateful A4 piece of card..... G O L D !!!! YES we did it!! and then we know.... This is why we do it!!
On Wednesday 24th July 2019 we were once again exhibiting at the annual Sandringham Flower Show, held on the Royal Estate which sees the patronage and a visit from HRH Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall. This year was on record, the hottest the UK had experienced and was likened to the summer of '76... which being the year I was born meant nothing to me and as we spend most of our time in a hot greenhouse during the summer months it was not much different to any other day of the week, the only difference is I don't normally have to wear formal dress in such hot temperatures, but as one is meeting Royalty it is what one must do!
So with all the plants picked and cut flowers ready we were able to set up our display, temperatures on setting up day outside the marquee were recorded in the early thirties, but inside it felt alot hotter in the hot canvas tent!
Our display was similar to earlier ones we have done which have always been well received, the hardest task this year was the endless heat, you could almost see the flowers wilting before your eyes as we tried to arrange them into the display and some had to be rejected completely because they had turned too far before we were able to use them. The display itself was a selection of cut carnation blooms, mostly Perpetual Flowering varieties with a couple of bowls of cut garden pinks Doris, always a reliable variety.
Our exhibit was on display in the Royal Marquee, to exhibit in here it is by invitation only so an honor indeed and one we have managed to maintain since 2006 when we were first invited - though that first year didn't go quite as smoothly as planned when our eldest son, Edward who was then only 18 months, and just learning to toddle around, who we had left asleep at the back of the display, suddenly appeared from the corner pushing his buggy straight at His Royal Highness, security intervened and the child hastily grabbed by David before anything untoward happened, but it did make quiet a conversation starter with His Royal Highness. Subsequent years the two younger children, Edward now 14 and Daniel 10 have been better behaved, though this year only Daniel was able to attend due to school commitments for Edward.
Of particular interest on the display this year was our new variety that is being launched this Autumn Capricho, a lovely mint sorbet green colour and rather surprisingly the same colour as the Duchess of Cornwall's dress which was remarked upon. Another new variety that we were able to show off on the display was Borja a delightful orange red flower.
Amongst other plants that caught the Prince's eye was our selection of scented leaf pelargoniums that we had taken to sell, it seems he also enjoys the scent from some of these varieties. Other plants that caught his eye were our selection of garden pinks, the more scented the better as he will often wear a bloom for a button hole.
Despite the incredibly hot weather the show itself was very successful and once again we were very privileged to meet His Royal Highness and the Duchess of Cornwall, to receive another Gold medal for our collection and more photos for the archives.
Thanks for reading