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It’s the annual flower show. I’m pleased to report huge success for the family in all of the events in which we competed. I won the high dive for getting hold of the best three Agapanthus (Nile lily) “Midnight Dream”, which I combined with judo in throwing off my competitors in order to achieve the top result. Early in the last century they used to give awards for Olympic flower arranging, at which I would hope to be a shoo-in. Now that this has been replaced by more physical pursuits, I had to be content with the hundred metres sprint for prime specimens of pretty pots full of Hordeum jubatum (squirrel tail grass) and Eragrostis (love grass).
Eucomis bicolour (pineapple flower)
Eucomis bicolour (pineapple flower)

Cineraria proved to be a worthy competitor. With her eyes on the prize, she winnowed out plants deemed unsuitable for class, size or being just the wrong shade of pink. She treated her fellow competitors with courtesy and good sportsmanship at all times, unless they made a grab for something upon which she had set her heart. Thereafter they had to protect their vital organs with bags, or by throwing their infants into peril. When I had declared myself content with my haul, she found a hidden treasure trove of Sempervivums (houseleek). The vendor was keen to point out the rarity, beauty and desirability of his produce but was helpless in the dazzle of my daughter’s smile, as she haggled the price to nearly nothing. Having whittled the cost down to a pittance, he was then forced to sell to me at the same, for nothing more than a hopeful grin.
Antirrhinum “White Giant” (snapdragon)
Antirrhinum “White Giant” (snapdragon)

I had promised my spouse that I didn’t want to purchase anything of consequence but reneged once I set eyes on the stall stuffed with plants for shade. Other visitors were treated to a glimpse of my battling spirit as I threw myself into the fray, determined to take possession of an elegant Woodwardia (chain fern) which will light up a gloomy corner. Once I was on track, other ferns were acquired, then some hardy perennials, as well as a few cacti. The long distance events were undertaken with weary feet and aching wallets, to view the show gardens. As usual, these were a paean to the hard landscapers’ art, with endless vistas of sandstone and gravel, with a few bits of greenery shoehorned in between the hot tubs and the outdoor pizza ovens.
Dinner plate dahlia
Dinner plate Dahlia

The sun beamed down on a fabulous day scented with roses, sweet peas and hot doughnuts crusted with sugar. The large tents were packed with exhibits and people perfumed with sun tan oil, rather than damp coats smelling of wet wool. None of the bulbs managed to blow my skirt up, so the baton was passed to Attila. He went berserk and completed the triathlon by choosing bags full of Alliums, lilies and Iris. We staggered back to the car with my husband trailing in the rear, tired, thirsty and with an empty purse but proving his worth by bringing home the gold in the weightlifting.

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