Virtual success for this year’s spring flower show entrants

RJAHS horticultural secretary Rachelle Robinson reports on this year’s ‘virtual’ Spring Flower Show

EVEN though the Island is enjoying getting back to some normality following a year of Covid-19 restrictions, the RJAHS felt it was not possible to hold a ‘normal’ Spring Flower Show so a virtual show was held instead.

Following the success of the three virtual shows held in 2020, a schedule was put together with 192 classes to enter. Classes were held for daffodils, pot plants, cacti and succulents, cut flowers, fruit and vegetables plus adult and children’s photographic, floral arranging and cakes. As last year, exhibitors were asked to send a photo of their exhibit to me by email or post and with a total of 270 entries received, these were sorted into class order for judging. Judges were chosen to adjudicate the classes virtually and asked to pick a winner for each class. All the entries in the children’s were placed.

Johnny Walker from the UK, who judged the Spring Flower Show in 2019, was delighted to be able to judge virtually for us, albeit this was completely new to him. From the 84 entries received, he found his Cut Flower Best in Section winner in a beautiful vase of five stems of cyclamineus narcissi exhibited by Kate Le Ruez. Johnny’s Narcissi Best in Section went to a lovely container of Division 10 narcissi grown by Richard and Louise Noel.

Although Johnny said it was not the same as judging at the show and being able to touch, see and smell the exhibits, he enjoyed the task and is looking forward to coming to Jersey again to judge the Spring Flower Show in 2022.

Kate Le Ruez’s winning streak did not stop there as she also won the Camellia Best in Section with her lovely camellia, which was kindly judged by Maxine Fergusson, who is a member of the International Camellia Society. Maxine enjoyed judging the 16 entries put forward across the eight classes.

Kate also won the Fruit and Vegetable Best in Section, which was judged by Tom Robinson, with her three heads of purple sprouting broccoli. Sadly there were not many entries in the fruit and vegetable or other cut-flower classes for Tom to judge.

To top off Kate’s winnings, she was delighted to be awarded Reserve Best in Show for her beautiful five stems of cyclamineus narcissi, having the second-best score awarded by judges Johnny, Nigel, Maxine and Tom.

Nigel Bishop, also from the UK and a member of the Guild of Horticultural Judges, kindly judged the pot plant and cacti and succulent classes. With 34 and 26 entries respectively, Nigel found his winner of the pot plants was a lovely looking pot of foliage exhibited by Stephen Le Feuvre. Stephen’s amazing group of cacti also caught the judge’s eye and was awarded Cacti and Succulent Best in Section and then went on to win Best in Show, gaining the most points from the judges, for a very delighted Stephen, who has won all four virtual shows held over the past year – a fantastic achievement.

Alan Michel, who is a member of the Jersey Camcorder Club, was very pleased to judge the 21 entries received in the four photographic classes. The classes were split into adults and children and Jessica McGovern was thrilled to win the class for ‘a single bloom spring flower’ with her stunning picture of a hellebore. Alan also chose this picture as his winner for The Jersey Camcorder Club Shield for the Overall Best Photo, kindly donated by the club.

The other class winners were Linda Mollet (a group of spring flowers), Lucy Collard (children’s – a single spring flower bloom) and Olivia Harvey (children’s – group of spring flowers).

The children’s classes are always well supported with 49 and 16 entries received in the floral art and cake sections respectively. Jennifer Carnegie was delighted to be asked to judge these classes, which was not very easy with 18 and 17 fantastic entries in the painting and collage classes for ages seven to 11.

All the children who entered these classes were placed and Jennifer decided her Best in Section Floral Art winner was nine-year-old Flori Lofthouse with his beautiful painting of spring flowers. Flori won both the painting and collage classes in the age group.

Jennifer’s winner from the cake classes was three-year-old Charlie Wakeham for his wonderful looking ‘spring’ cupcakes. He was very happy to receive his rosette and certificate.

Ashleigh Eder (7) was very happy to win the Floral Art Best in Section for her great-looking fruit and vegetable Easter Bunny, which caught Jennifer’s eye.

Ashleigh’s younger sister, four-year-old Jessica, was so excited to be awarded the Denis Shaw Memorial Shield for the Most Humorous Fruit & Vegetable Creation for her Easter Bunny, which was judged by Linda Mollet, who is the daughter of the late Denis Shaw.

Jennifer also judged the adult floral-arranging and cake classes which had six and 11 entries respectively and from all the entries, her winner of the Best in Section Floral Arranging went to the very talented 80-year-old Phyliss Gouedart for her beautiful spring flower arrangement in a container. And new competitor Millie Purdom was absolutely delighted to win the Adult Cake Best in Section for her yummy ‘Spring’ cupcakes.

Well done to all the winners and exhibitors for entering their amazing exhibits into our first show of 2021 and the society is hoping that our next show – the Early Summer Flower Show – will be a ‘normal’ one.

It is being held on 26 and 27 June at the Royal Jersey Showground in Trinity.

Thank you also to all the judges who gave up their time to judge our show.

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