Seabrook on ... promoting the Vincent Square shows

The RHS London Greener Gardening Show this month was a delight. The commercial exhibits were beautifully staged, but none of them were judged.

pparently, judging was cancelled just before the rail strike was called off. If the exhibitors and the show visitors could make it, surely some judges could have been found.

I see the Vincent Square shows as the heartbeat of the RHS, attracting a very wide cross section of expertise from across the country. You can meet representatives from all sections of our industry there, especially on the first morning of the shows.

Now down to just three a year (plus the Orchid Show in March), they deserve much greater publicity. All four combined get no more space in the Members' Handbook than the Malvern Autumn Show, and why did the RHS make the decision to illustrate them with a designed front garden - mostly hard landscaping - rather than a more representative view of the whole show from the Lawrence Hall steps?

Come to look at it, the 12 illustrations on the five pages allocated to shows are all garden design-based. When will someone in authority wake up to the fact that show visitors come to see flowers, fruit, vegetables and plants first and foremost?

At this month's show the quality of entries in the competitive alpine plant classes was outstanding. It is difficult to understand why television cameras were not there en masse after the long, dark winter days.

Even the Society's own journal, The Garden, gives scant coverage of exhibits, committee work and subjects of conversation at this great meeting point.

There has been a complete change to the judging system, which now works on a points system but with no published explanation of what has been done.

A sizeable number of the judges have, I hear, been given a sabbatical year or two and a number of those involved have not as yet been told. It is time that members were told what is happening.

- Peter Seabrook is a gardening writer and broadcaster.


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