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A Midland Alpine Gardener's Diary

This entry: 20 April 2009 by Diane Clement

Midland Diary No 11 Portrait of an AGS show

The best laid plans ?
Some time ago, I planned to do a diary entry on the Midland Show, with some behind the scenes shots as well as views of the show plants.  Unfortunately, various things conspired against my plan - I was too busy staging plants and also doing several jobs to take many pictures and also by the time I got round to photographing plants, the sun was streaming through the side windows which made photography difficult.  I shall try and make the best of a bad job.

Preparation day

The AGS Midland Show 2009 took place on 18 April 2009 at Arden School in Solihull.  Preparations started many months in advance of the day with planning and booking, but the final preparations took place on the day before with the school made available for our setting up.  The school has a number of wheeled tables which are very useful as they are easy to move and set up.  We also hired about 50 trestle tables which have to be put up and carried into place

Preparation day

With a good number of helpers, the tables are soon in position and the helpers take a little break.

Gaps between tables are checked to comply with health and safety regulations.

The tables are covered with green cloths and also plastic covers to protect them.  Finally the class cards are laid out and exhibitors cards are allocated appropriate spacing depending on the type of class.

Comes the morn
The morning of 18 April 2009 started with a noticeable nip in the air.  The show hall opened at 7.30 a.m and by then the car park was already quite busy with exhibitors who had driven from all corners of the country. 

Comes the morn

Exhibitors reveal different packing styles and degrees of organisation.  

And soon the exhibitors are moving their plants into the show hall.

Outside on the grass, Robin White put down a delightful little display of Farrer winners - past, present and doubtless to come, to capture the olfactory senses of the exhibitors making their way into the hall

The benches fill up
The exhibitors bring in more and more plants and gradually the benches fill up. 

The benches fill up

At 9.45, the hall is closed for exhibitors and visitors and judging commences

Jim Almond on the left of the picture is Assistant Director and today he is in charge of the show.  He organises the judges into teams of three and pairs of stewards then go round and record all the information on cards which then is keyed into the computer.  A checker then checks all the results have been correctly recorded.

Visitors arrive
During the morning the visitors start to arrive.  The first face they see is the friendly one of Joan Beeston who takes the entrance money from non-AGS members, and sells the raffle tickets.

Visitors arrive

Also in the entrance hall is the AGS book stall, manned by Sue and Richard Clements and the AGS seed stall, manned by Colin Dolding and Brian Russ

A show is always a good opportunity to see what the nurseries have on offer and it's hard to resist buying a few plants from each stall. 

There is also the members' plant stall where bargains can often be found

Judging is over
Now the judges have finished their deliberations and the show is open to the public

Judging is over

Lunch is nearly ready

Meanwhile, in a distant corner of the school, preparations are taking place for the judges’ lunches.  Lorraine and Sonia are busy producing a 3 course dinner

all their work is finally appreciated as the judges tuck into their lunch

The show is in full swing
Meanwhile, visitors continue to visit the show.  This is what they see

The show is in full swing

As the Midland show is a mid-season show, there are classes for lewisias and daphnes

the benches are also colourful with rhododendrons and narcissus

After the show was over ...

After the prize giving, at the end of the afternoon, the benches are gradually cleared of plants and the tables are cleared away

After the show was over ?

The helpers from the local group breathe a sigh of relief that all went well and wend their way home for a well earned rest.

The exhibitors pack up their cars … set off for the motorway, and on the way home they start to think about the next show … 

I hope to see you there

I wanted this to be an overview of the show, without duplicating individual plant portraits which are available on other pages. To see high quality pictures of individual plants at the Midland show, please go to the Shows section here:

and More photos here
and here for plants in Sections B & C

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