Summer update from the Chair

It has been a busy July for Ashtead Horticultural Society with both our Summer Show and Garden Walk being adapted to meet the circumstances of COVID-19. 

The Summer Show normally involves an early morning burst of activity as members set up their exhibits in Ashtead Peace Memorial Hall, then a busy afternoon as people come to admire what is on show and congratulate the prize winners. 

This year the show took place entirely online, with a reduced number of classes. That was made possible by this brand new website, which was developed for us for free by Pragmatic under the guidance of Gill McPherson and Ken Reeves (who has done a great job managing our old website in recent years). 

Exhibitors had to adapt to a new system of photographing their exhibits and uploading them to the website. Our judges were then able to view the anonymous photos for each class and record the unique reference number for each of the winning entries. 

We had many more entries than normal for the patio pot class – as it is far easier to take a photograph than transport a big heavy pot to APMH! – as well as lots of entries in the photography classes (unsurprisingly!). We were delighted to see some new people having a go, some of whom won prizes. 

Congratulations to Colin Cheeseman for winning Best In Show for his display of four kinds of vegetables, as well as to everyone who entered any of the classes.

The following Wednesday saw a lovely sunny evening for our annual Garden Walk. To protect everyone we carefully planned the event with people allocated to one of four half-hour time slots for each garden, and with a one way system as well as barriers to separate entries and exits.

Over the course of the evening over 80 members enjoyed the gardens, as well as the chance to see and chat to some friends – from an appropriate distance of course. Many thanks to garden owners Michael Lomax and Steve & Karen Winder, as well as to committee members Ginny Morris and Jane Bloore for organising and running the event.

The next Committee meeting will reflect on lessons learned from the virtual show and discuss plans for the Autumn. We will let everyone know the arrangements as soon as possible.

Scott and Gill McPherson 

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