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It’s that time of year when allotment holders and gardeners up and down the country dust off the white plates to display the brightest and best (and in some cases,biggest) of their produce at the village hall. Yes. The season of the local Flower and Vegetable Show is upon us.

I am competitive by nature, but  admit that I have NEVER considered entering. It all seems rather stressful and serious for a gardening/cooking/crafting pursuit and there are far too many rules and regulations. I’m not interested in growing oversized vegetables and my approach to gardening is rather too random and experimental to succeed in such an environment.  I imagine I am more free spirit than competitor after all.

Bradford on Avon’s show has undergone something of a resurgence of late, having been dormant for a number of years. Now in its second year in a new form, it is slowly attracting a new generation of veg and flower growers, crafters, cake bakers and makers of preserves.  The modern twist  in the addition of  categories like ‘Home – Made compost’ , ‘Cake made with vegetables (own recipe)’ and ‘Necklace made from recycled materials’ as well as the ‘foraging selection’ make it a far more interesting event for me.  Certainly plenty of locals turned up yesterday afternoon to admire the efforts of their neighbours ……..and eat cake.  I wonder whether many of them will be tempted to take part next year.

My 7 year old daughter, who has inherited her mother’s competitive nature and is altogether less haphazard in her efforts decided to have a bash at a miniature garden with a ‘Picnic Area’ constructed from edible plants.

 She fretted over it as much as any pro going for a Gold at Chelsea, even persuading a woodworking friend to make a picnic table and chairs from logs gathered in the woods where he volunteers. The plant selection  ultimately decided upon included thyme, mint, lettuce ‘Red frills, French Tarragon and a Scotch Bonnet which ripened just in time. It was all planted into an old preserving pan. and the end result was charming. What’s more, the contents will be planted on the allotment today to be consumed in due course. Win Win!  I wonder if Gertrude Jekyll started at her local show and whether she was tempted to break the rules.