Gardeners celebrate their wartime roots

There will be more than a hint of wartime spirit this weekend as gardeners celebrate Cheltenham Horticultural Society’s 75th anniversary at the annual summer show.

cheltenham horticultural society

The present society was founded in the midst of the Second World War in 1942, partly in response to the Dig for Victory campaign although there had been a horticultural society in Cheltenham since at least 1832, which ran until the outbreak of the First World War.

And special classes at this year’s show will pay tribute to the gardeners of the past.

“We have tried to include items in each section that reflect the food that was grown, the food that was prepared and items made during those difficult times,” explains Cheltenham Horticultural Society chairman, Dot Ward.

These include contests for a low sugar and low fat carrot cake, a pair of parsnips and an embroidered tray cloth. Other wartime-themed sections include a loaf of potato bread and carrot tops grown in a bowl or dish.

cheltenham horticultural society
Growers will be showing off their best roses

The Pittville Pump Room will be decorated with bunting knitted by society members and there will be a display to explain the society’s history.

Among the special classes will be regular favourites including contests for roses, annuals, cut flowers, pelargoniums, runner beans, carrots and tomatoes.

There are also craft, photography and floral art sections and special competitions for youngsters.

As well as the exhibits, there will be plants for sale from both society members and local nurseries, homemade cakes and refreshments.

“We’re planning to make it a 75th anniversary show to be proud of,” added Dot.

cheltenham horticultural society
Nick Macer is the speaker for the anniversary lecture

The show runs from noon to 3.30pm at Pittville Pump Room on Sunday August 20, 2017. Admission is £2 with free admission for children under 16.

On Friday October 6, the society will host a special anniversary lecture at Balcarras School, Charlton Kings, Cheltenham.

Gloucestershire nurseryman and BBC Gardeners’ World presenter Nick Macer of Pan-Global Plants will talk about ‘Things that turn me on – confessions of a plant freak’.

The doors open at 6.30pm for the sale of refreshments and the talk starts at 7.30pm. Tickets are £6 and must be bought in advance as there will be none on the door; email Yvonne Gregory for details: yvonnetgregory@yahoo.co.uk They are also available from Dundry Nurseries. For more information, visit the Cheltenham Horticultural Society website.

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