Fabulous flowers and colossal cabbages…

VAST vegetables, fabulous fruit and fantastic floral displays...

There were some sights to turn most gardeners green with envy last weekend as the Oulton Broad and Lowestoft Horticultural Society marked its centenary year with its annual late summer show at Pakefield.

Pontin's Holiday Centre was the setting for the event, which saw growers displaying an impressive array of produce across a range of categories, from fruit photography and floral art to novelty giant vegetables.

More than 400 people attended over the two days, with 51 adults and eight children competing across 151 classes, making more than 400 entries altogether (there being no limit to how many one individual can enter).

Show manager and society president John Thomson said: 'I think this year was one of the most competitive we've had for a while.

'It's definitely the most successful one of the past four years.

'Because of our anniversary people made an extra effort. We had the Norfolk and Suffolk Dahlia Society there as well, so we were well supported.

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'We also had quite a few new exhibitors this year.'

Highlights included an immense cabbage weighing 28lb, grown by Ian Purdom, in the novelty heavy vegetable class. Meanwhile, there was stiff competition for the 'biggest dahlia' prize, with the winning entry bearing the name 'Sir Alf Ramsey', after England's victorious football manager at the 1966 World Cup.

Mitchells, the Renault dealer, sponsored the competition for the one perfect bloom, with a �15 prize on offer.

Mr Thomson reflected on the appeal of the show. He said: 'The encouragement we give to all our exhibitors contributes to the show's popularity.

'The people from the dahlia society for example say we are very well organised, and I don't think the same can be said for all shows across the country.

'Our shows are open, so you don't have to be a member to take part, and the different shows across the region try to help each other, us and Beccles and so on – we're all the same.

'Once you start showing you are hooked.

'We've got one gentleman from Holton who's been showing for about 35 years.'

As if to demonstrate the appeal of horticulture as a hobby, the show was opened by Guy Filby, the oldest member of the society at 89 years of age; and Trinity Bowles, its youngest member aged just seven.

Meanwhile, the National Vegetable Society Medal was won by John Pretty, the society's longest serving member, who joined it more than 50 years ago.

The society is holding a 100th birthday celebration party at its next meeting on September 21.

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