Alnwick Spring Show defies the weather to put on a great display

There was an amazing display of floral excellence at the Alnwick Spring Show on Saturday, April 14, considering the harsh weather did its level best to thwart gardeners across the entire country throughout March.

Sunday, 29th April 2018, 1:48 pm
Updated Sunday, 29th April 2018, 2:21 pm
The Alnwick Spring Show committee - from left, Coral Turnbull, chairman David Parker, Vera Murphy, Kathleen Turnbull, Geoff Watson, Elizabeth Davidson, Dave Bonser, Vera Parker, Gill Starkey and Valerie Colgan.

Wintry blizzards, dubbed the Beasts from the East, swept in from Siberia, dumping several feet of snow on Northumberland in particular, making the going tough for green-fingered enthusiasts preparing their delicate blooms for the annual showcase at Willowburn Sports and Leisure Centre.

Although entries were down on previous years and a few major growers from further afield were unable to attend because their flowers were just not ready, there were still many lovely exhibits for visitors to enjoy.

Show chairman David Parker said: “Shows have been cancelled all over the country and some top exhibitors simply have nothing to show.

“I have been and exhibitor for 50 years and I can’t remember a period as bad as this. We quite often have bursts of bad weather to contend with but this year, it has been continuous and very wet. Even at the Jersey show a fortnight ago, there were five or so classes with nothing in them.

“It has taken quite an effort from the committee members to get the show on this year.

“But I am delighted with the response, particularly in the Restricted Residence classes for people who live within 20 miles of Alnwick.”

David’s comments were echoed by Rae Beckwith, chairman of the Northern Group of the Daffodil Society, who judged the daffodil classes.

“This is a very good quality flower show and credit must go to the local growers who have been hit by the weather,” said the Royal Horticultural Society floral judge. “I was judging in Dundee last week and there were virtually no local flowers.

“It is the commitment of the dedicated group here that makes this area stand apart.”

Apart from the spring flowers at the show, there were also classes for cookery and art, and sections for children, which proved very popular.

Among the biggest winners were double-act Jeff and Margaret Smith, from South Broomhill, who were delighted with their haul of 22 prizes, including two trophies and 12 firsts. Margaret works nights and Jeff works during the day, so they are able to help each other tend their extensive garden.

Prizes were presented by county councillor Gordon Castle later in the afternoon and The Pottergate Pantry, based at Alnwick’s Pottergate Centre, provided refreshments, including some rather delicious-looking homemade cakes, during the day.

Other judges were Rita Braithwaite (floral art), Keith Eyre (tulips, other plants and children’s open) and Marion Dickinson and Jacquie Hurworth (cookery).



Floral Art Shield, best floral art exhibit: Linda Thompson. Foreman Trophy, best use of colour in floral art: Frances Cook. The Alnwick Spring Show Cup, best daffodil bloom: Jeff Smith. Daffodil Society Bronze Medal & Diploma, Championship Class: David Parker. RA Scamp voucher, best daffodil bloom: David Parker. Miniature and Choice Bulbs voucher, best miniature daffodil: Jeff Smith. The Duchess of Northumberland Tulip Championship Class: David Parker. Best exhibit in amateur classes 37 to 45: Monika Dempster. Best cookery exhibit: Pat Dodd. Most points in cookery classes 53 to 73: Pat Dodd. Most points in children’s cookery, age 10 & under: Sophie Colgan-McKnight. Most points in children’s cookery, age 11 to 16: Finlay Telfer.


Open (Nursery Rhymes): 1 Linda Thompson; 2 Elizabeth Davidson; 3 Judith Hall. Amateur (The Potting Shed): 1 Linda Thompson; 2 Angela Smith; 3 Frances Cook. Beginner (By Candlelight): 1 Annette Pollington. Junior (9-16 years, My Hobby): 1 Sylvie Hunter. Junior (8 and under, Springtime): 1 Jessica Fennell; 2 Leah Pattinson; 3 Verity Hunter.


Three yellow daffodils: 1 Jeff Smith; 2 Gill Starkey; 3 Ron Thompson. Three daffodils, orange or red corona: 1 Jeff Smith; 2 Geoff Watson; 3 Ron Thompson. One white daffodil: 1 Ron Thompson; 2 Kerry Summers; 3 Jeff Smith. One double daffodil: 1 Jeff Smith; 2 Penny Hewitt; 3 George Batey. Three multi-headed daffodils: 1 George Gray; 2 Ron Thompson; 3 Gill Starkey. Three miniature daffodils: 1 Ron Thompson; 2 Pottergate Centre; 3 George Batey. One tulip: 1 Geoff Watson; 2 Penny Hewitt; 3 Dave Bonser. Two tulips, any type: 1 Dave Bonser; 2 Margaret Smith. Three tulips, any type: 1 Kathleen Turnbull; 2 George Batey; 3 Dave Bonser.


Three vases each of three daffodils: 1 David Parker; 2 Jeff Smith; 3 Ron Thompson. Three vases each of one daffodil: 1 Jeff Smith; 2 Ron Thompson. Six vases each of one daffodil: 1 Jeff Smith; 2 David Parker; 3 Keith Blundell. Palette of seven single daffodils: 1 Jeff Smith; 2 David Parker; 3 Ron Thompson. Cultivar, division one: 1 David Parker; 2 Jeff Smith; 3 Ron Thompson. Cultivar, division two: 1 Jeff Smith; 2 David Parker; 3 Penny Hewitt. Cultivar, division three: 1 Jeff Smith; 2 David Parker; 3 Ron Thompson. Cultivar, division four (double): 1 David Parker; 2 Penny Hewitt; 3 Jeff Smith. Cultivar, from divisions 5/6: 1 Gill Starkey; 2 Ron Thompson; 3 Keith Blundell. Cultivar, from divisions 7/8: 1 Ron Thompson; 2 David Parker; 3 Keith Blundell. Cultivar, from division 11: 1 Ron Thompson; 2 George Gray; 3 Dave Bonser. Bowl of miniature daffodils: 1 Vera Murphy. Basket of daffodils: 1 David Parker. Three miniature daffodils, divisions 1/2/3: 1 David Parker; 2 Jeff Smith; 3 Gill Starkey. Three miniature daffodils, divisions 4-13: 1 Keith Blundell.


Three vases each of three tulips: 1 David Parker; 2 Margaret Smith; 3 Jennie Corrigan. Palette of seven tulips: 1 Margaret Smith; 2 David Parker. Three tulips in one vase: 1 David Parker; 2 Geoff Watson; 3 Jennie Corrigan. One red or pink tulip: 1 Geoff Watson; 2 David Parker; 3 Margaret Smith. One yellow or white tulip: 1 Margaret Smith; 2 Jennie Corrigan. One tulip any other colour: 1 Margaret Smith; 2 David Parker; 3 Jennie Corrigan. Bowl or pan of 5 miniature tulips: 1 Margaret Smith; 2 David Parker; 3 Coral Turnbull.


Spring flowers in a basket: 1 Romaine Barclay-Kim; 2 Pottergate Centre. Spring flowers in a bowl: 1 Kathleen Turnbull; 2 Gill Starkey; 3 Pottergate Centre. Bowl of floating flowers: 1 Romaine Barclay-Kim; 2 Valerie Colgan; 3 Claire Colgan. Vase of flowers from a shrub: 1 Geoff Watson; 2 Romaine Barclay-Kim; 3 Vera Murphy. Amaryllis: 1 Gill Starkey; 2 Martin Murphy; 3 Vera Murphy. Flowering pot plant: 1 Monika Dempster; 2 Gill Starkey.


Rock plant in flower: 1 Keith Blundell; 2 Valerie Colgan; 3 Coral Turnbull. Sempervivum: 1 Gill Starkey; 2 Martin Murphy; 3 Dave Bonser. Primula: 1 Gill Starkey; 2 Dave Bonser; 3 Martin Murphy.


Garden daffodils in a jam jar (4 and under): 1 Joshua Greaves; 2 Sophie Colgan-McKnight; 3 Verity Hunter. Flower picture made with potato prints (8 and under): 1 Lucie Lambert; 2 Amelia Gaines; 3 William Holland. Garden in a seed tray (8 and under): 1 Jake Davidson; 2 Maria Moore; 3 Jessica Fennell. Painted face on a boiled egg: 1 James Gaines; 2 Olivia Temple; 3 Goergia Fennell. Spring flowers in a jam jar (9 to 12 years): 1 Sylvie Hunter. Rosette awarded to the winner of each Children’s Open Class.


Spray of three different foliages made in flower paste: 1 Elizabeth Davidson; 2 Caroline Cumming; 3 Barbara Graham.


Bottle of fruit liqueur: 1 Joan Moses; 2 Gill Starkey; 3 Coral Turnbull. Victoria sandwich cake: 1 Barbara Graham; 2 Pat Dodd; 3 Joan Moses. Carrot cake: 1 Pat Dodd; 2 Judith Hall; 3 Penny Hewitt. Lemon drizzle cake: 1 Mary Reed; 2 Judith Head; 3 Joan Moses. Date and walnut cake: 1 Pat Dodd; 2 Penny Hewitt; 3 Ann Hunter. Gingerbread: 1 Brenda Gaines; 2 Pat Dodd; 3 Margaret Batey. Shortbread: 1 Maysie Hardy; 2 Joan Moses; 3 Pat Dodd. Cherry cake: 1 Pat Dodd; 2 Hilary Drury; 3 Margaret Batey. Chocolate cake: 1 Liz Young; 2 Pat Dodd; 3 Joan Moses. Decorated cup cakes: 1 Pat Dodd; 2 Debra Simpson. Macaroons: 1 Pat Dodd. Eccles cakes: 1 Coral Turnbull. Apple tart: 1 Mary Reed; 2 Pat Dodd; 3 Helen O’Neil. Drop scones: 1 Judith Head; 2 Pat Dodd; 3 Hilary Drury. Fruit scones: 1 Valerie Colgan; 2 Liz Young; 3 Pat Dodd. Savoury scones: 1 Liz Young; 2 Pat Dodd; 3 Maysie Hardy. Savoury quiche: 1 Coral Turnbull; 2 Pat Dodd; 3 Helen O’Neil. Wholemeal loaf: 1 Hilary Drury; 2 Steve Anderson. Onion peel dyed eggs: 1 Valerie Colgan; 2 Coral Turnbull; 3 Romaine Barclay-Kim. Traditional fancy dyed eggs: 1 Judith Head; 2 Liz Young; 3 Mary Reed. Marmalade: 1 Liz Young; 2 Gill Starkey; 3 Judith Head. Lemon curd: 1 Hilary Drury; 2 Liz Young; 3 Pat Dodd. Chutney: 1 Ann Hunter; 2 Hilary Drury; 3 Joan Moses. Individual dessert in a glass: 1 Pat Dodd.


Oven fruit scones: 1 Sophie Colgan-McKnight. Melting moments: 1 Sophie Colgan-McKnight; 2 Amelia Black. Decorated cup cakes: 1 Harriet Gaines; 2 Verity Hunter; 3 Joshua Greaves. Mini pizza: 1 Sophie Colgan-McKnight; 2 Isabelle Rennie; 3 Archie Nelms.


Chocolate cake: 1 Finlay Telfer; 2 Daniel Hardy; 3 Olivia Temple. Fudge: 1 Finlay Telfer; 2 Daniel Hardy. Individual dessert in a container: 1 Finlay Telfer; 2 Daniel Hardy; 3 Olivia Temple. Ginger snaps: 1 Finlay Telfer; 2 Olivia Temple; 3 Daniel Hardy. Rosette awarded to winner of each children’s cookery class.