It is very noticeable that the days are getting shorter and the time that can be spent in the garden is now curtailed. The weather is even more variable and the leaves have started to change colour and fall. The RCHS Autumn Show marks the end of the Show season and overall the 2017 season has been very successful. There has been a very pleasing number of new members who have “put their toes in to the water” and entered successive Shows. In fact in the novice section of the Dahlias there was intense competition and it is hoped that these novices will now feel enabled to enter other categories with confidence. All their exhibits were of a high standard.

Many of the Dahlia growers were worried that the rain and the wind would prevent them from entering this year however, there were some magnificent examples on show with regard to shape and colour. The visitors certainly enjoyed looking at them and at least one visitor has been inspired to grow Dahlias as a result of what they have seen.

The General Floral and Pot Plant category also provided more colour to the Great Barn and showed the great variety of plants that the members grow in their gardens, and on their patios while nurturing the more exotic on many a window sill.

The Deputy Mayor Cllr John Morgan, who presented our prizes, turned out to be very knowledgeable about Cacti and Succulents as he grown them since he was a schoolboy and like many of our visitors he is still fascinated by them. The Cacti and Succulents on display came in all sizes and wonderful shapes. If you were inspired by the display then remember that as a member of the RCHS you are automatically a member of the Cacti and Succulent Section. You will be warmly welcomed and the next meeting is on the 18th September at the Manor Farm Hall – it is the building in the St Martins Approach car park – so no problems with parking!

There was an abundance of Fruit and Vegetables on show. Apples and Pears seemed to have done well this year. On display, but not in the competition, were three tomatoes “Horn of Andes” – looking like a small pepper and it was interesting to learn about the story behind these tomatoes.

The number of members entering the Photographic Section has grown and this is often a category that attracts the new members. The topics are chosen to appeal to the widest audience and age is no barrier in these days of digital cameras. The Domestic class along with Floral Art and Handicrafts were down in numbers but not in quality. The skills involved with the Floral Art and Handicrafts were mentioned by many visitors. Numbers do fluctuate between the Shows so hopefully once the nights draw in our members will be hard at work with paint brushes, knitting needles and sewing.

The introduction of the Surplus produce table has been a great success thanks to the generosity of our members. On sale this Show were examples of jam making, cooking apples, hanging basket frames, handmade shopping bags and a whole variety of cuttings and plants. This initiative will continue next year and all the proceeds from the sale go towards the costs incurred by the RCHS.

The success of a more traditional source of income, the Refreshment Stall and the Raffle are always guaranteed to please our members and visitors. Again the generosity of our members who bake the cakes for us and our members who spend the afternoon making vast quantities of tea and coffee and selling the food is much appreciated. The quality of the cakes is known and commented on – even to the point of customers wanting to buy whole cakes! The RCHS is always appreciative of the time given by our volunteers who man the raffle for the whole afternoon with such great humour.

Our thanks must also go to the Deputy Mayor, Cllr. John Morgan who, accompanied by Cllr Pauline Bianco, toured the Show and presented the prizes. They were very complimentary and appreciative of the efforts by everyone associated with the work of the RCHS.

Although it is the end of the Show Season it is not the end for what the society will be doing for its members for example the talks, Quiz Supper and Christmas workshop. So here are some reminders: the next talk is on September 19th in St Lawrence Church – note that it is the Church not the Hall. All other talks will be in the Hall as usual. The speaker is Howard Drury on “40 years of Gardening Tips”. Howard is a TV researcher and presenter on “Gardening Times”. Then on October 17th, Andrew Mikolajski with be speaking on “Plants for shady areas”. The last of the talks takes place on 21st November when Patricia Thirion and Janet Honour will be talking about “Creating a Chelsea Garden”. Doors for these talks open at 7.30pm for 8pm start. The Supper Quiz Night is on Saturday, 28th October in the St Lawrence Hall tickets are now available £10 each. Please contact Graham (01895 674261).

The final event will be a Christmas decoration workshop on December 12th. Places will be limited so please watch out for the details on the web site. Finally many thanks to all our members without whom there would not be a Society.