September 2021

Writing this during the mini-heatwave in the second week of September, it feels as if summer is still with us, but there are clear signs of autumn in the garden – heavy morning dew, nights drawing in and ivy flowers alive with honeybees, hoverflies, wasps and the specialist ivy mining bee. Our beehives have produced 80lb of honey to date, with more to come – there is usually a boost at the end of season from ivy flowers, which the bees love, but ivy honey is a tricky one to process.
Apart from our Worcester Pearmain apple and a half-decent crop of Victoria plums, the top-fruit harvest has been poor this year. Not much prospect of producing any apple juice this season, but we are always hopeful of some donated fruit. On the other hand, raspberries are doing very well and should continue into October. Results from the vegetable beds have been rather mixed. Outdoor tomatoes and some potatoes succumbed to blight disease and had to be destroyed. But there were good crops of runner beans, French beans, beetroot and giant garlic, and decent bunches of grapes in the vinehouse.

After all the cancelled events this year, the combined Challis Fete and Horticultural Show on 4th September was a resounding success. No surprise that many visitors remarked just how much they had missed these events and it was great to be able to enjoy an outdoor event again. The exhibits in the main marquee were as colourful as ever, displaying an impressive range of fruit and vegetables, floral arrangements, cakes, preserves, handicrafts, photos and children’s creations. Wonderful! Many thanks to everyone who participated and congratulations to those who won trophies and prizes.

Mr and Mrs Wells – enthusiastic supporters of the show – won two trophies. Mrs Wells gained the most points in the fruit and veg section and between them they were the family with the most points in the entire show by a wide margin. Very well done to them. The Kent family and the Cook family (from Bassingbourne) were second and third respectively for most points won. This year’s trophies were presented by our Patron, Jennifer Crompton:

  • Trustees Trophy (most points in fruit and vegetable classes): Kamlawatee Wells
  • Garden News Trophy (best exhibit in fruit and vegetable section): Justin Whitaker
  • Frank Matthews Trophy (best exhibit in domestic classes): Alison Kent
  • Mary Challis Trophy (best floral exhibit): Ann Redshaw
  • WI Trophy (best handicraft exhibit): Judy Saunders
  • Sue Reeve Trophy (best exhibit in 8 to 12): Sophie Macfarlane
  • John Falkner Trophy (best exhibit 7 and under ): Jessica Kent
  • Chair’s Trophy (family with most points): Mr and
    Mrs Wells
  • Norman Carver Trophy (best exhibit): Judy Saunders

We are grateful to the many organisations and individuals for attending the show and setting up stalls, including the Cambridge Flower Club, Royal British Legion, Old Forge Honey, Wool’n’Tea, Pippa’s Cards, Timebank, Paul Stower (woodturner), Jeanette Cavey (machine-knitting), Eleanor Clapp (spinning wheel) and Morsbags. Apologies if I’ve missed anyone. And last but not least, a huge thank you to the many volunteers and helpers who made the day such a success – not just on the day but for the work and preparation beforehand. Andy Jackson’s auction of produce after the show again provided a very entertaining end to the afternoon! Many thanks, Andy.

Visitors will have noticed the ongoing progress on building work for the new garden museum. Work is complicated by the limited access to the site for larger vehicles, but our builders have got around the problem with admirable ingenuity. What would we do without them? The main gate will remain closed for the foreseeable future, so please continue to use the side-gate on the left as you enter the car park.

We aim to hold our popular Spooky Saturday Halloween event, as usual, on Saturday 30th October from 10am to noon. Look out for more information on our website and Facebook page, and posters in the High Street. Save the date and plan ahead. We look forward to seeing lots of families there. Whooooo!

Mike Redshaw

Published in Sawston Scene, October–November 2021 issue