The RHS Summer Fruit and Vegetable Show 2004
1st Oct 2004
Hampton Court Flower Show was the venue for the RHS Summer Fruit and Vegetables show held last Saturday and Sunday, the last two days of the show. Having been held for the past few years in a building at the Wisley gardens, there's do doubt that the home for any Summer Flower show is in a marquee where the dew and the smell of mown grass compliments the fruit and vegetables perfectly.
The weather over the past few weeks had certainly played havoc with some of the fruit classes. According to Jim Arbury, the fruit Superintendent at Wisley gardens, it had been a good season as regard to pollination with good crops all round, probably as a result of no late frosts. However the wet weather in June and the strong winds a few days prior to the show caused the gooseberries and cherries to split, the strawberries to rot and the high winds to snap laterals on raspberries. After saying that, the Wisley gardens still put up a superb display of soft fruit under the expert guidance of Jim.
Sherie and Emily Plumb
The best class for me in the vegetable section was the one for 6 vases of herbs, all eight entries had excellent quality, how refreshing it was to see Emily Plumb, a thirteen year old girl gaining her first card at a major show. Emily is the daughter of Sherie who once again came up trumps, particularly with her two collections, one of 4 kinds and the other 6 kinds both were awarded first prizes. However it was her potatoes that really impressed the judges, Sherie washed 50 potatoes to stage 7 plates and each one had a First prize card on it, not bad at all!
Of the three varieties, Winston Kestrel and Amour that she staged, it was Amour that was consistently the best shaped and more uniform potatoes. For this early show they were all grown in polybags directly outdoors during March and under cloches for the first few weeks. Her runner beans were also an eye opener winning the class as well as forming a dish in both collections. The seed were sown mid March and plastic was wrapped around the bottom of the plants to maintain growth and prevent wind damage. This proved to be a good move as the severe winds they experienced in the South played havoc with the plant near the top of the canes resulting in all her beans being harvested from the lower trusses.
Gerald Edwards and Colin Spires
Gerald Edwards, GNs Fruit contributor was a judge together with Colin Spires, the current chairman of the RHS Show Schedule committee which organised the show. Gerald also noticed that the fruit quality had definitely been affected by the recent bad weather and it was noticeable that the best fruit dishes came from either the Nottingham area or Devon where the weather had definitely been more stable over the few days prior to harvesting.