It has been just over a year ago that I was elected to become the Show Secretary of my local horticultural society. At the age of 22, I believe I may be one of the youngest Show Secretary’s ever! Overall, I have thoroughly enjoyed my first year in the role.
The first job of the year is to compile the Show Schedule for the year ahead. The Show Schedule includes, among other things, social event dates, show dates and show details. New for this year was some sponsorship from a local garden centre. This boosted the society funds as well as covering the costs of printing the Show Schedule. I carefully went through page by page making the alterations necessary. At the same time I wanted to ensure that I did not change too much too quickly. I was pleased with the finished result given I had never done anything like it before.
As I discussed in my previous blog part of my new role involved running the annual seed potato growing competition. For 2017, I managed to secure sponsorship of the competition from Thompson & Morgan. With their help we had nearly three times the number of potato bags returned compared to the year before. I would consider the potato competition to be the highlight of my first year as Show Secretary.
Our first major show of the year is our Summer Show in June. This takes a good deal of organisation beforehand from the advertising, judge booking and setting up of the hall itself. The judge was impressed with the exhibits on show given we are a small village society. The show was also well received by the visiting public. The one mistake I made was booking a family holiday for the same week. After the show was all packed up I headed up to Norfolk to join the rest of family. I will be sure to check the diary next year!
The biggest event in the Show Secretary’s calendar is the Autumn Show in September. Having shown for a few years now this day is stressful enough as an exhibitor. This year I had the added pressure of also running the day as well. Being organised was the key to success of the day. To my amazement we had 242 entries. This is the most entries we have had in at least 10 years. In fact there was so much to judge the judging finished just as the doors opened to the public! The whole day made me proud to be a part of such a thriving horticultural society.
I have learned an awful lot from my first year on the job. I would also like to thank all of those who have helped and supported me throughout the year. One of the biggest challenges I have faced is not changing too much too soon. My main goal is to try and encourage more young people to get involved with growing and showing. Having thoroughly enjoyed my first year I look forward to learning from my mistakes and building on the successes in 2018.
My name is Thomas Carpenter and I live in Essex. At my home I have a vegetable patch and greenhouse where I grow a range of flowers and vegetables for both the show bench and for eating. I am the Show Secretary for my local horticultural society and have been a member there for the last eight years. Currently I am in training with the Essex Guild of Horticultural Judges and the National Vegetable Society. I have a real passion for growing and showing vegetables as well as encouraging children and young people to get involved with horticulture.