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Medwyn Williams

Hello. I'm Medwyn Williams – eleven times Gold medal winner at the Chelsea Flower Show, Past Chairman of the Royal Horticultural Society Fruit Vegetable and Herb Committee and President of the National Vegetable Society.

The Horticultural Show Handbook


The Horticultural Show Handbook is the bible for every vegetable judge but also, in my opinion, a must for every exhibitor because within it’s current 152 pages are suggestions to exhibitors regarding how every vegetable should be selected as well as how they should be prepared properly for showing.

Undoubtedly The Horticultural Show Handbook published by the Royal Horticultural Society is the bible for every vegetable judge and no judge, however good he may think he is, should attend a judging appointment without one. It is also in my opinion a must for every exhibitor because within it’s current 152 pages are suggestions to exhibitors regarding how every vegetable should be selected as well as how they should be prepared properly for showing. This way, if both exhibitor and judge learn the same rules and guidelines, any up and coming young novice should be able to place an exhibit on the table that will be within the parameters that the judge should be looking for.


The Handbook was first published in 1953 with a second edition in 1956, a third in 1972, a fourth in 1981 and a major review took place in 1990 which became the fifth edition. A number of judges however are unaware that the fifth edition was reprinted in 1993 to accommodate some anomalies that were printed as a loose leaf very soon after the 1990 edition. Check whether or not you have the reprinted edition, it will tell you on the second page “Reprinted 1993”


However if you do find out that your handbook is not current, don’t bother rushing out to buy one as they are completely sold out and the RHS are currently carrying another reprint. In order to take advantage of this reprint I was invited to a meeting at the RHS halls just before Christmas where we were able to carry out a tidying up operation and correct some small errors that had had occurred in the 1993 Reprint. I am informed that this Reprint will, be available any day now.

Further Revision

There has been a feeling however for some time that the handbook needs to be completely revised once more and the Horticultural Show Handbook Committee will have it’s first meeting on Tuesday 10th June this year. This will undoubtedly take some time to complete but we are aiming to have it ready at the earliest opportunity.

Thorough consultation on such an important matter is essential, if any grower feels that he or she has any changes that they would like to see, or any additions, or indeed any comment that anyone would like to make at all, I would be pleased to accept them and put them forward for discussion by the relevant committee. There will be two distinct sub committees, one for the vegetables and one for the fruit.

Next week I shall give you a list of all the changes that will be in the new Reprint concerning vegetables.

The World Potato Championship

I have just heard some marvellous news on the old grapevine for those of you who love to grow and show potatoes, plans are at an advanced stage to hold a brand new potato competition staged as part of the Ayr show up in Scotland on Thursday 28th August through to Saturday 30th. The class is for six distinct dishes of five potatoes and will be called the “The World Potato Championship”. Details are not yet completely finalised but I was told that the prize money for the winner would be in the region of £1,000, some competition indeed and one I”m sure that will be keenly fought over. The organisers are hoping that this sort of money will be sufficient to tempt some competition from Europe and arrangement are going to be made to accept and stage postal exhibits.

I just wonder if this sort of money will be enough to tempt even Bill Hughes from Swansea, the current UK champion to have another go at the big competitions. The judges have already been selected, they are Charles Maisey and Ron Macfarlane; I certainly don’t envy their task in what will certainly be a bumper entry class. As soon as I have the final details of this competition I will let you know.


Growing Parsnips

25th July 2007 I am often asked what is the best method of growing both long carrots and parsnips for the show

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