RHS Show, Tatton Park 2006
As in previous years, the committee spent much time and effort preparing for showing at both the RHS Show at Tatton Park, Knutsford, and the Shrewsbury Flower Show. It was decided that to improve on our usual Silver Medal award at the RHS, the Society would have to show our biggest and best trees - a logistical nightmare in the making!
The design for the stand was finalised, the choice of trees was decided, and all the practical preparation work finished. Then came Monday morning, first day for erecting the stand at Tatton Park. Equipment was packed into cars and vans and we arrived at the site in the stifling heat to find that our allocated space was not as requested. After a wait for the very busy workmen to arrive all was sorted out and we got going. All hands we very willing, and despite the heat fairly speedy progress was made and we were finished with enough time to go for a wander and see how all the other exhibitors were faring. We had been extremely hot in the National Plant Society marquee but were very glad we had not had to set up outside under the sun.
Tuesday is 'tree day', when we load the trees into the cars and vans, hoping we will be able to get them all in. This year was going to be more difficult than usual owing to the bigger trees we were showing. Our 'logistical nightmare' was thankfully avoided due to the ownership of a camper van by two of our members; they were able to take the four biggest trees and the rest went into two other vehicles. It was still hard and heavy work carrying the trees to our stand in the middle of the marquee - how we wished for our usual spot by an entrance! After some 'discussion' and rearranging we finally all agreed on what went where and left, feeling that we had done the best we could to try and achieve a higher award.
Imagine our delight on arriving on Wednesday morning to find we had been awarded a Silver Gilt, one step higher, and learned later that we had only just missed a Gold.
The show days passed in a haze of heat; other members came to do their share of manning the stand, talking to a variety of people, some who knew nothing of bonsai, others who needed advice on how to start or to go ahead. We all enjoyed the opportunity to visit other areas of the show and chat to other exhibitors. The show ends on Sunday afternoon, when our stand is taken down a lot faster than it went up!
All in all, we felt we had had a very successful show, although we were all exhausted by the long days spent in the middle of a marquee in such heat.