On Friday we went to Shrewsbury Flower Show. It was for work, really, I’d got a couple of press tickets, and we thought it’d be fun to go along and have a look. We went to Chelsea a few years back, when Graham was working as a gardener, and that was fun, though a different thing. There are no show gardens at Shrewsbury, but there was certainly plenty to see…

The main tent, the Quarry Marquee, was packed with exhibitors showing off all sorts of plants, from weird and wonderful carnivorous insect eaters to cacti of all shapes and sizes and gladioli in a gazillion different colours arranged in carefully constructed fan-shaped displays. There was a miniature half-timbered house, a cottage garden complete with deckchair and straw hat – as if somebody had just that minute got up from reading a book in the sunshine and popped indoors – and a whole wall of fuchsias.

Outdoors, meanwhile, happy visitors were browsing the myriad plant and other merchandise stalls, admiring dogs made entirely of succulents, while kids were watching a man cleaning his teeth with a clothes brush, or were taking a ride on a train provided by the Ffestiniog Railway. Quite a few people had come dressed in period costume for a competition arranged to commemorate the First World War. We, though, were in search of the beer tent followed by a fine hog roast and chips…

Best bit of the show for us, though, was the local producers marquee – from the scarecrows outside to the wonderful, multi-coloured display of homemade wine which put me in mind of medicines on an apothecary’s shelves, and the baskets packed with luscious-looking and beautifully, artfully arrangedfruit and veg. Clearly, we weren’t the only ones enjoying them as this tent was packed. Absolutely the highlight was the weird and wonderful giant and misshapen vegetables, not to mention the exhibits of vegetable characters created by children, from three blind potato mice to aubergine penguins. That’s the sort of madness that restores your faith in the human race!




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