Marshalls Seeds Win a Silver Gilt
At Hampton Court Flower Show!
Hampton Court Flower Show was a brilliant triumph for us this year. We were over the moon when we were awarded a Silver Gilt Medal!
The last couple of weeks before the show were a bit fraught wondering if plants were growing ok. Worrying if they were going to be at the right stage of development or if they were going to go over completely before the show date even arrived. The soft fruit was growing nicely and we were quietly confident that Stuart, who is very experienced and had the responsibility for all the fruit, was completely on target.
The biggest concern was the quick-growing vegetables as they can respond to fluctuations in weather quite quickly and we wanted to have some quite mature plants as well as smaller cut and come again size. Henry, (who grows all our vegetable plants) did three sowings of most varieties for us to try to ensure that we had some at the right stage. James and I visited the nursery regularly and were like a couple of mother hens clucking over the plants!
Anyway, the weekend of the show arrived. The stand was erected on Friday and the compost delivered. The fruit cage was built from second hand materials to show that you don’t need to spend a lot of money to make a serviceable structure. In fact the timber used was from a reclamation yard and was ceiling joists from a 100 year old house that had been demolished.
The plants and all the other paraphernalia we needed was delivered early on Sunday morning. ‘Organised chaos’ probably best describes the scene when James (who organised the vegetable growing) and I arrived. Umpteen lorries were all trying to unload their products as close to the Marquee as possible. Stuart was there with all his soft fruit, and some of these plants were in really big heavy pots which took a while to unload. All the vegetables arrived in another lorry just after James and I got there, so we unloaded as quickly as possible so others could get closer for their unloading.
Amid all this chaos there was nothing but helpfulness from everyone, there seemed to be very few people complaining and if someone had forgotten to bring a watering can or a sack barrow or some other piece of useful equipment, there was always someone else willing to help. There was a real atmosphere of camaraderie between everyone in the Growing Tastes Marquee.
We began our planting, Stuart and Simon (our Production Manager) organised the fruit cage and strawberry bed and James and I attended to the raised beds, we drafted in Jo our Marketing Manager to help us and before long we were all elbow deep in compost! We had a detailed planting plan to work to but it needed some tweaking - in fact it seemed as though most of the tweaking was happening in my bed! But it all came together in the end, but it was so HOT! I don’t think I’ve ever been so hot. All that kept us going was the thought of a large, cold beer when we went back to the hotel!
Monday was Press Day and the ‘Day of Judgement’ when we were all turfed out of the Marquee for the Judging to commence. The worst thing was waiting until the next morning before we found out if we had won anything!
Jo and I were the first to arrive in the morning and a very nerve-racking experience it was. In fact we felt almost queasy as we stood outside the entrance to the Marquee - not really wanting to be the first to enter! We took the bull by the horns and went in – and there, sitting on the corner of the stand was a SILVER GILT!!! We were ecstatic! The phones came out and as we were telling everyone the good news we became quite emotional! (Sad aren’t we)!!
The show itself was very good, we were constantly busy and we were so pleased that so many of our customers came just to say hello and have chat about their gardens. The drawback with being a mail order company is that there are very few ways in which we can meet our customers, so it was worth doing this show - even if we hadn’t won a medal – just for the chance to meet and speak with so many of you.
If any of you are going to the Gardening Show at Shepton Mallet in early September do come and say hello. While you are there dont forget to visit the Marshalls Seeds Gardening Pavilion where you will find and the National Giant Vegetable Competition.