Alternative show: The details

Gordon Brown and Peter Jenkinson get ready for the Beadnell Alternative Flower Show.
Gordon Brown and Peter Jenkinson get ready for the Beadnell Alternative Flower Show.

Gardeners whose fingers are less than green and who despair at the thought of the forthcoming show season may have found their niche.

If you’re the sort of person who envies the blemish-free vegetables and flowers usually seen at shows, or who believes they will never grow a prize-winning bloom or a carrot worthy of the show bench, then Beadnell might have the answer to your prayers.

Twenty-five years ago, the residents created an Alternative Flower Show, which awarded points for the worst produce, where weeds won cups and failures were celebrated.

The categories included the heaviest sponge cake, smallest carrot and the most mis-shapen vegetable.

The show, which ran for five years, was an instant hit with gardeners who usually compost their failures.

In the spirit of the event, extra points were awarded for cheating, the judge had no qualifications and the prizes were worthless.

And in August this year, Beadnell is resurrecting the event to raise funds for a festive lights display.

One of the show organisers said: “Beadnell is a beautiful village with lots of keen gardeners and visitors, but in a tourist area like ours the summer is the busiest time for everyone. We don’t have the time to arrange a traditional show like neighbouring villages.

“This was our light-hearted solution; the show attracted attention from all over the country and we supplied copies of the schedule and rules to many other communities for them to copy.

“This year we have been raising money to plant trees to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee.

“Neighbouring villages have beautiful Christmas light displays and we would like something similar. We were looking for something different to fetes and coffee mornings and remembered the Alternative Flower Show.

“The original families have grown up and a new generation are being challenged to produce a ‘super weed’, ‘the craft item you wish you’d never started’ or enter the spot-the-dog competition.”