The record number of visitors who walked through the doors of the Falmouth Spring Flower Show at the weekend were greeted by a sea of colour and the perfume of 1,000 plus blooms which filled the venue.
The show’s first day saw a record 1,647 people attend, with a steady stream of 500 plus Mothering Sunday visitors on Sunday. The 15 trade stands reported brisk business.
The two-day event was staged as usual at Gyllyngdune Gardens and The Princess Pavilion where the bandstand was crammed full of more than 600 potted daffodils which had been grown by Falmouth schoolchildren.
Elsewhere there were vases of flowering shrubs, row upon row of daffodils, ranks of red, white and pink camellias, and dinner plate size magnolia and rhododendron blossoms, showcasing the best of Cornwall’s spring flowers. Among the 650 individual exhibits were cacti, orchids, potted plants, bonsai, and photography, while the floral art and children’s classes included designs with Tall Ship’s themes in anticipation of the event this August.
The show was opened by Radio Cornwall’s Tracy Wilson who said: “Given the extreme weather we have experienced this winter it is remarkable how excellent the camellias are, and our Cornish-grown daffodils look as splendid as ever.
“I love the fun class arrangements of flowers to look like cup cakes – they seem deliciously edible.”
The winner of that class, which was open to anyone over 12, was Mabel Radmore, aged 13, who had added a heart shaped Mother’s Day card. She was among a number of junior newcomers to the show which included exhibits from Kennall Vale and Mylor Bridge schools. Joe Cooper, teaching assistant at Kennall Vale, said: “We don’t have a flower show in our village so this is a lovely thing for the children to take part in and show what they can do.”
New exhibitor Bella Mobley aged six, won a first for her miniature garden on a dinner plate. Her brother Louie, aged seven, won a commendation for his invite to a Tall Ship’s party. Both youngsters are pupils at Marlborough School.
The Ken Pound Challenge for the Charles Rowe Trophy and the second prize in that section were won by first timers from the Boot Up project, run by Falmouth University for children in care in local schools.
Ron Scamp, the show’s chairman, said: “We are delighted our children are doing this as they are the show’s exhibitors of the future.”
The more perennial exhibitors were rewarded by cups and medals such as the Daffodil Society Medal, the Carter Memorial Cup and the Pendennis Shield, all won by Terry Westwood for his daffodils.
Reg Sleeman, celebrating his 35th year as the show’s director, won the Duckham Trophy for his miniature daffodils; Walter Williams, the Mr CC Steele Orchid Cup; Elizabeth Doidge, the Phillpotts Trophy for floral art; Trebah Gardens, the Chamber of Commerce Silver Challenge Cup for the best display of flowering shrubs, and Ron Scamp, the Phillpott Cup for the best seedling daffodil.
Wendy Nicholson won all three top awards for her photography; Brett Smuda and his bonsai bagged the Silver Challenge Cup for the best non competitive display; Marion Trathen won both the Challenge Cup for Floral Art and the Champions Cup for her floral art exhibit while her husband Alan Trathen was awarded the Hazel Cox Memorial Cup for his succulents and cacti.
The Cormac gardeners won four top awards for their camellias, cacti, pot plants, cut plant and flower displays, and carried off a fifth award, the Royal Horticultural Society’s Banksian Medal, for gaining the most points in the show.
At the prize giving on Sunday, carried out by Falmouth’s mayor Geoffrey Evans, Mr Scamp said: “Cormac’s gardeners deserve a huge round of applause for their work in our town’s gardens. Their contribution, and that of their student gardeners and the volunteers who work with them, have helped us put on a really splendid show.”
The show’s special guest for the prize giving was Penny Gedye, nee Keeping, who, as a two-year-old Shirley Temple lookalike, had presented a bouquet to the mayor’s wife at the 1950 show. She presented the Charles Rowe Trophy to the Boot Up project winners, and the Maindorge Award to Christopher Pearce aged nine from Mount Hawke, for his miniature garden.
The first Falmouth Spring Flower Show was held in 1910 and in 1947 it was the only flower show to be held in Cornwall, due to extreme weather. It was reported that exhibits that year surpassed all expectations which is a sentiment echoed by this year’s show president, Oliver Carne.
He said: “Despite the weather my camellias this year have been excellent. I had hoped to exhibit a splendid magnolia bloom but two days before the final entries it was destroyed by a downpour. Other exhibitors were more fortunate and this has been a wonderful show.’’