Alnwick Show has a very long history

Liliums Star Gazer and Lovely Girl.
Liliums Star Gazer and Lovely Girl.

In terms of seniority, the now defunct Alnwick Show could be traced back to 1819 when a gooseberry show was organised in one of the town’s many public houses.

A complete set of minutes covering the 15 years up to 1834 explains how gardeners bringing big vegetables, quality flowers and fruits to the annual event over time, simply to go on display, gradually transformed the humble gooseberry show into Alnwick Horticultural and Botanical Society.

My first experience of organising and judging came in the 1960s and there followed two interesting decades as secretary of the now defunct Alnwick Flower Show.

The most romantic site we occupied in that period was Barneyside, a small field next to the castle.

The unromantic element was setting up tables inside the large marquee on a Friday afternoon and evening.

The land was not particularly level so wedges had to be fitted under the legs, and it was grazed by farm animals so we had to negotiate cow pats in the fading light.

Our highly-fragrant lilies Stargazer and Lovely Girl, also a long-flowering Sidalcea Loveliness would go well in a vase of perennials right now.