Category Archives: News

Apple Days with Sparsholt’s Apple Collection

Sparsholt College holds a collection of Hampshire and Isle of Wight Apples.

Following the apple harvest in late September, we have planned to display the collection at various local sites during the autumn.

Here are the details:

30 September – ALFI – Alton Local Food Initiative (
Harvest Feast
10:00 am – 2:00 pm
Methodist Church Hall, Alton
Coffee and homemade cakes, soup using local ingredients and bread, apple tasting

1 October – Houghton Lodge ( Stockbridge

2 October – Oakley Garden Club for their October evening meeting @ 7.30pm

7 & 8 October – West Green House, Nr Hook (

15 October – Alresford Apple Festival (

21 & 22 October – Winchester City Mill – Apple Harvest Weekend (

Mr. Chris Bird, M.Hort (RHS) of Sparsholt College, Winchester, along with some of his former students, will be attending these events. Hopefully, the following local apples will be included in the display: Bramshott Rectory, Howgate Wonder and Sir John Thornycroft.

‘Heritage Apples’ are varieties not found in most shops and supermarkets. These are historic apples that were grown eighty or so years ago when the UK was full of orchards. Many orchards along with a large variety of apples have since disappeared.

Chris will also be able to provide skilled advice on Apple Identification.

Martin Burr

HIHS Summer Show Report

The recent heat wave had its effects on the roses and sweet peas being nurtured by exhibitors for the Hayling Island Horticultural Society’s Summer Show on Saturday 24th June, but nobody would have known.  The Community Centre hall, enhanced by the draped ceiling for following event, was filled with exciting colours and entrancing perfumes.  A good number of disabled visitors and their companions took advantage of the 1.30pm early entry and there were 50 tickets sold in the first half hour with yet again a record attendance of over 270.

The Royal National Rose Society Bronze Medal was won by Tony Ashford who exhibited the Most Outstanding Rose in all classes.  For the same perfect bloom he also won the Ken Trowell Trophy for the best rose in Open classes 2 – 6, whilst Mike Hill won the Brooks Cup for most prize money in Open Rose classes.  Judge Barry Moore stated that heat had been a great problem this year but “There were some exceedingly nice roses.”  He was looking for “size, form and centre.”

The Sweet Peas provided a feast for the eyes and judge, Dave Manston said that the display was surprising, considering the heat stress, and that the blooms were to the national standard, probably better than ones at the National Show the following weekend as they will have shorter stalks, being produced 10 days after the heat wave.

The Floral Art judge, Maureen Lawes, had a long task as there were 20 exhibits, covering the entire back wall of the hall.  She stated that the standard was high and she wrote a long comment for every exhibit.  The results were:  “Cascade” – Pauline Phillips; “I am Sailing” – Linda Jones; “Shades of Green” – Christina Jones; Judge’s Personal Choice Diploma – Linda Jones; Cherry’s Vase – Pauline Griffiths.  Christina Jones’ exhibit was an amusing depiction of “Ten green bottles hanging on the wall.”

The Handicrafts section was well entered.  Jan Holmes won first prizes for her man’s barbecue apron with pockets for beer and water and her sitting room caddy whilst Carole Burton won the knitted item class with a striking purple scarf and headband set.  Junior Toby Pyatt won the collage class with his candle holder and Ron Duffield won a first with his Hayling cherry wood turned bowl.

The Cookery classes were very well supported. Hazel Phillips won the Focaccia bread and Lemon Meringue Pie classes whilst Kay Hawkins won with her Coffee Sponge and Scones.  100 year-old Doreen Beavan won a third prize for her lemon meringue pie.  She still enters cookery and craft items after many years of supporting the society.  The Men Only class for a Cherry Cake was won by John Grant, entering something for the very first time.   Judge Ann Wright praised the very high standard and said that Peter Bolter’s winning Strawberry Jam was “simply sublime.”  The Gridley Printers Salver for most points in Cookery classes was won by Marilyn Naunton-Evans.

Show Manager Tim Speller produced a winning trug of produce and was delighted to be presented with the Yvonne Hughes Trophy for most points in members’ classes 37 – 42.  Chief Steward John Lark won a first for his unusual pomegranate plant in full bloom.

The Junior classes are always loved by visitors and they did not disappoint, with paintings, plants, papier mâché constructions and photographs.  The Miller Mug for most points was won by Toby Pyatt.

As always, I apologise for not mentioning all winners, but with 108 classes and 14 trophies and prizes, it’s difficult.

The plant stall was amazing and people walked away with great bargains; the tombola was very busy and the afternoon teas were as popular as ever.  The prizes were presented by County Councillor (and HIHS member) Lance Quantrill and the Schools Garden Challenge prizes by judge Jan Holmes on behalf of Hayling Lions Club.  Show Manager Tim Speller thanks all who put the show together for their effort.

Jan Mitchell
HIHS Publicity Officer

A selection of images:





Hampshire Garden Festival 2017

Press Release:

Date:  11th June 2017
Location: Bere Mill, Whitchurch

Website:  In support of the North Hampshire Medical Fund


The Hampshire Garden Festival, formerly known as the Test Valley Garden and Literary Festival encompasses all that is great about Hampshire. From Plants to Food, Practical Demonstrations to Talks, this year’s Festival will provide great entertainment and a fantastic day out for all ages. 

Bigger and better than ever before, the Festival will be held on Sunday, 11th June 2017 at the most beautiful of locations – Bere Mill on the banks of the iconic River Test at Whitchurch.

Plants and so much more

The Hampshire Garden Festival 2017 will include a wide range of interesting and quite wonderful offerings so whatever your interests, you are guaranteed a truly great day out for the whole family. There really is something for everyone. For keen gardeners there are wonderful plants to buy from an array of plant stalls manned by passionate plants people. The vastly experienced Helen Yemm will host a Gardeners’ Question Time where all your horticultural questions will be answered and lively debate will abound. There are talks and lectures on all forms of horticulture and gardening as well as wonderful displays of garden accessories, equipment and art which you can buy and take home to your own garden.

Gardeners’ Question Time

One of the highlights of the Hampshire Garden Festival will be a ‘Gardeners’ Question Time’.  Chaired by well known Daily Telegraph Gardening Correspondent Helen Yemm (Thorny Problems). Helen is a writer, lecturer and author of ‘Gardening in your Nightie’ – she is Sussex based and passionate about small gardens, having created a pint sized beautiful garden in East Sussex.    

Also on the panel are high profile and popular garden personalities that include Pippa Greenwood, the Hampshire based author, TV and radio personality, regular contributor to BBC2’s Gardeners’ World and BBC Radio 4 Gardeners’ Question Time.  Pippa is passionate about growing your own vegetables and herbs.

In addition we have Rosy Hardy of Hardy’s Cottage Garden Plants.  Winner of 21 RHS Chelsea Gold Medals, Rosy designed the Brewin Dolphin show garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show in 2016. She focused the design on the River Test and called the garden ‘Forever Freefolk’. Hardy’s Cottage Garden Plants will be exhibiting at the Festival.

 Demonstrations and workshops

At the Hampshire Garden Festival our aim is to inform and inspire you.  We have a range of free practical workshops and demonstrations that range from Willow Weaving to Hurdle Making, Butterfly Conservation to Tree Surgery.  And for budding foragers, we even have a Fungus Identification class!


Enjoy our wide range of food stalls taking in the widest selection of local Hampshire delights and tasteful wonders


11.30 Elizabeth Proudman – Jane Austen and the Landscape Garden

Elizabeth Proudman was Chairman of the Jane Austen Society and for many years has been a member of the Hampshire Gardens Trust and the Garden History Society.  She lectures widely on Jane Austen and gardens, and it is interesting how the two subjects can intertwine.

2.00 Johnny Messum – Placing Art and Sculpture in the Landscape

Johnny Messum is the founder/pioneer behind Messum’s Wiltshire, an inspirational and innovative Art Centre in Tisbury offering a unique environment for both artists and collectors that celebrates the creative endeavour. 

3.00 Gardener’s Question Time  – Details above.

Entertainment for the whole family

The Festival has always been a great family day out and kids love the array of fun activities. Come and enjoy the music and spirit of Hampshire at its very best. It will be a wonderland of fun for the kids who can enjoy activities by Zoolab, Sandykidz Art, Juggling Jake’s Circus Skills and Storytelling.  Music by Hampshire’s own band Head North.

Gala Evening

A Gala Evening will be held at Bere Mill on Saturday, 10th June – Guest Speaker will be celebrated actor and broadcaster Nigel Havers who will be interviewed by writer and former BBC and ITV Presenter and Journalist Philip Geddes.  This will be followed by a reception at which we will serve Coates & Seely award wining Britagne from the Test Valley and canapés by Becka.   Details and tickets are available by email at or by calling 01256 314759.

From Alan Titchmarsh

The Hampshire Garden Festival encompasses all that is good about Hampshire. It is a county rich in culture, history, art and literature. A landscape of beautiful countryside and, of course, gardens. Plants and flowers provide that vital connection with nature and our gardens are a refuge for wildlife and an escape from the hectic world we live in. But gardens are about those who create and tend them and I have always found that gardeners are people with real heart. They are people who care. Caring about nature and caring about each other is what really counts and that is why the Hampshire Garden Festival is such a wonderful event. A Festival organised to support a very worthy cause that really does make a difference, the North Hampshire Medical Fund.   

 From the North Hampshire Medical Fund

The North Hampshire Medical Fund is very grateful to the Hampshire Garden Festival for their fantastic support. On behalf of the patients, staff and all of the board of Trustees say a very big thank you for amazing work supporting the charity. All the money raised goes towards the much needed hospital equipment which benefits the patients of Hampshire. Visit:

About Bere Mill

The Hampshire Garden Festival will be held at the beautiful Bere Mill on the banks of the iconic River Test at Whitchurch. This 18th century water mill is surrounded by contemporary gardens, water meadows and a farm which, worked on traditional lines, produces rare breed beef and lamb. A renowned stretch of the Upper Test, famous for its trout fly fishing, runs through the garden. The Saxon mill was the original paper mill for Portals, the company which first supplied paper bank notes to the Bank of England in 1718.  Since 1993 it has been the family home of Rupert and Elizabeth Nabarro. The garden is open for the National Garden Scheme and for visits by gardening parties and groups.

 Ticket prices

£9 per adult ticket
£4 for children between 5 and 16
£20 family ticket (2 adults and 2 children)
Children under 5 FREE
A donation from ticket prices will be made to the National Garden Scheme

Media Contact:

Telephone: Terry Winters – 07798 666222



The Hampshire Garden Festival website can be reached at

Guide to Vegetable Show Varieties

Whilst the majority of vegetable varieties available, if grown well and properly presented, would be a valuable addition to the many shows staged across the country. There are varieties and cultivars, which due to their attributes, are regularly seen on the show bench and do particularly well in competition.

To assist those new to growing for showing, the following are amongst the most reliable and successful currently available.

This is not an exhaustive list of all vegetables but seeks to example those most regularly listed in show schedules and seen on the show bench.

Most are available through commercial seed houses whilst some will have to be sourced from specialist seed suppliers and breeders accessed through the horticultural press and/or the internet.


Beans, broad                                     Imperial Green Longpod, Bunyards Exhibition & Giant Exhibition Longpod  

Beans, dwarf french                        Hawkesbury Wonder, The Prince & Safari Kenya Bean

Beans, runner                                   Stenner, Liberty (Lovejoy) & Benchmaster

Beans, climbing French                   Cobra, Algarve & Fasold

Beetroot, globe                                 Pablo, Red Ace & Cardeal

Beetroot, long                                   Cheltenham Greentop, Regar & Long Black

Cabbage                                              Green Ramco, Stonehead & Brigadier

Carrots, long                                      New Red Intermediate & St. Valery

Carrots, stump rooted                     Sweet Candle, Nandor, Trevor & Norwich

Cauliflower                                        Raleigh, Mayflower, Skywalker & Boris

Celery                                                 Morning Star, Evening Star & Starburst

Courgettes                                         Venus, Defender & Ambassador

Cucumbers                                        Carmen (frame), Marketmore (outdoor) & Socrates (mini)

Garlic                                                   Solent Wight & Giant Elephant

Leeks, blanch                                     Pendle Improved & Welsh Seedling

Leeks, pot                                           Cumbrian, Yorkshire Green/Blue & Betty Black

Lettuce                                                Webb’s Wonderful, Rosedale, Lakeland & Lobjoits (cos)

Marrow                                               Table Dainty, Bush Baby, Badger Cross & Blyton Belle

Onions, exhibition                            Kelsae & Showmaster

Onions, 250g & under                      Toughball, Tasco & Vento

Parsnips                                              Gladiator, Panorama, Palace & Victor

Peas                                                     Show Perfection, Alderman & Hurst Greenshaft

Peppers, chilli                                    Joe’s Long, Giant Jalapeno, Scotch Bonnet & Apache

Peppers, sweet                                 Ace, Lany, Diablo & Ariane

Potatoes, white                                 Winston, Nadine, Casablanca & Harmony

Potatoes, coloured                           Kestrel, Amour, Maxine, Bonnie & Bluebell

Radish                                                 Scarlet Globe, Robin, Sparkler & Bacchus

Rhubarb                                              Raspberry Red, Victoria & Stockbridge Arrow          

Shallots, exhibition                           Hative de Niort, Ambition & Aristocrat

Shallots, under 30mm                      Hative de Niort, Jemor & Aristocrat

Swede                                                  Helenor, Tweed & Marian

Sweet Corn                                         Swift, Lark & Ovation

Tomatoes                                            Cappricia, Zenith, Shirley & Meccano

Tomatoes, cherry/small fruited     Sungold (cherry), Apero (plum), Sweet Million (mini) & Sakura Red (cherry)

Tomatoes, beefsteak                        Marmande, Country Taste & Big Daddy


Barry Newman FNVS

3rd Review November 2016

Guide to the 2016 RHS Show Handbook

Barry Newman FNVS, spoke at the Federation Day on 25th February about the changes between the 2008 & 2016 RHS Show Handbook.

He has kindly provided notes from his talk – reproduced here:

The Judging of Vegetables

Major differences between the 2008 and 2016 versions of the RHS Show Handbook

 Page 90 Constitution of Dishes

  • Now contains suggested numbers for smaller shows.
  • Gives an explanation on pointing plus a combined list of specimen numbers and point’s values for ease of reference.
  • Gives the specimen numbers required for collections and single dishes which are now the same.

Page 91, 92 & 93 Vegetable listing index

  • Please note reference to ‘miscellaneous’ vegetables (fruiting, leaf, root and salad) is now dealt with on pages 126 & 127.
  • Additional vegetables have been added, these will be dealt with later in these notes.
  • Please be aware that the *reference to stalks not being required for Cabbages and Cauliflowers in collections has been removed. Stalks are required in collections.

Page 94

  • Artichokes, Chinese have been added as additional separate vegetable with a point’s value of 12 and a number requirement of 9.

Page 97

  • Beans, shelling, other than broad (eg. Borlotti and similar types) have been added as a separate vegetable with a point’s value of 15 and a number requirement of 9 pods.
  • Under Advice to Judges Beetroot, cylindrical, there is now reference to not cutting specimens to determine internal condition. This is repeated for Beetroot, globe and long.

Page 100

  • Calabrese now includes romanesco and other types still with a point’s value of 15 and a number requirement of two heads.
  • There is additional advice under Carrots, long pointed. To aid differentiation between these and Carrots, stump rooted.

Page 101

  • Information regarding differentiation is also contained under Carrots, stump rooted.
  • Cauliflowers, coloured now enjoy their own entry with a point’s value of 20 and a number requirement of 2 heads.

Page 102

  • Celeriac receives additional ‘merit’ advice.

Page 104

  • Chicory, Chicons is expanded to include Radicchio and other forced heads.

Page 105

  • Cucumbers, mini or small have been added with a points value of 15 and a number requirement of 6.

Page 106

  • Cucumbers, gherkins and pickling types have been added with a point’s value of 15 and a number requirement of 9.
  • Dandelion, blanched has been removed.
  • Endive is expanded to include Chicory, sugarloaf type.

Page 107

  • Flower sprout, Petit Posy has been added with a point’s value of 15 and a number requirement of 15.
  • Garlic, elephant or giant has been added with a point’s value of 15 and a number requirement of 3 bulbs.
  • Garlic has been reduced in point’s value from 15 to 12.

Page 108

  • Both Herb entries are now prefixed with the word ‘culinary’ and the advice to judges has been strengthened to stress that foliage is the predominant factor.

Page 109

  • The merits of Kohlrabi have been revised.
  • An addition to Leeks, blanched or intermediate is that ‘roots must be washed not trimmed’ this is also included under Leeks, pot.

Page 111

  • Lettuce, cos now gets it own entry which includes Lettuce, crisp with a points value of 15 and a number requirement of 2 heads.

Page 113

  • Onions, large exhibition advice to judges now excludes the instruction to disqualify under 250g specimens.

Page 117

  • Pepper, hot (chilli) has been added with a point’s value of 15 and a number requirement of 6.
  • Pepper, sweet has been added with a point’s value of 15 and a number requirement of 3.

Page 118

  • Potatoes approximate tuber size has been increased to between 200g and 250g.

Page 119

  • Radishes, salad approximate size guidance has been reduced to 30mm and the point’s value increased to 12.

Page 123

  • Swedes have been added as a separate entry with a point’s value of 15 and a number requirement of 2.

Page 125

  • Tomatoes, truss has been added with a point’s value of 15 and to be displayed as a single truss.


The following is an extract from a note received from Colin Spires who chaired the Show Handbook Review Committee.
Hopefully it will direct you to other areas that have received updates and modifications.

“…..As far as flowers, etc are concerned, I approached a number of specialist societies and the following sections have had substantial reviews:

Bonsai, cacti & succulents, dahlias, fuchsias, gladiolus, orchids & tulips.

The rose sections were slightly reduced in number and illustrations of dahlia divisions are shown

A note about specialist societies was included (P130). The difficulty is that all specialist societies seem to have their own rules for specialist shows which don’t really apply to local/county shows.

An important note (p130) states that cut flowers must be in water, or water-retaining material.

A new section was added re Floating Flowers (p153) and the section re Hanging baskets (p182), etc simplified.

The main changes are shown in the preface (p7)”

                                                                                                    Barry Newman February 2017

Allotment Competition 2017

The Allotment Competition is open to all members of affiliated Societies and has two Sections:

  1. Plots of less than 10 rods
  2. Plots of 10 rods and over. 10 rods are equal to 250 sq m or 300 sq yds.

Allotments are assessed by official Judges of the Federation. The judging criteria, based on the recommendations listed in the RHS Show Handbook 2008, are

  • Condition of the Plot
  • Good Workmanship
  • Quality of Crops, Flowers, Fruit, Vegetables and Plants
  • Originality of Layout and Planting
  • Ingenuity in Overcoming Local Problems
  • Visual Aspect of the Plot
  • Condition of Structures

Judging takes place on a mutually agreed date during late June/early July. There are cash prizes for the top 3 plots in each section, and Challenge Cups are awarded annually to the winners of each section and presented at the Federation AGM in February.

Do consider entering your allotment plot. The competition entry form is available here.

Iain Crawford
Allotment Competition Organiser