Glen Urquhart Horticultural Society

2020 – Virtual Flower and Produce Show

Soirbheas are delighted to have supported the Society to host a digital show. Due to current corona virus restrictions the show is not being run as a competition this year.  A super range of photo’s were submitted by the closing date of Friday 28th August.
Many thanks are extended to Lorna and Helen, and the kind folks who submitted photographs for their friends and neighbours.

During ‘show week’ – 31 August – 4 September – a daily focus is on a specific category and provide comments, hints and tips on growing, presentation and what the judges look for etc.  A short slideshow video for each section is below.

Monday 31 August – Children’s section and special category – Sunflowers from Fiona’s seeds


Daily tips: Fiona McKenzie, owner of local company Plants etc., distributed free Sunflower seeds and plants during lockdown to give a wee lift, encourage people out into their garden and have something to look forward to in a time of worry and uncertainty. These sunflowers are now smiling throughout the Glen.

Sunflowers prefer a full sun position and kept well watered while they grow – but not standing in wet ground, and you should get strong and tall stems. There are many varieties available, so if your garden is in a windy position the dwarf varieties may be more suitable.

In the annual show the children’s entries are separated into age groups which enables judges to make fair comparisons and select the overall winner.

Tuesday 1st September – Flowers



Daily Tips:  It’s wonderful on show day to see our flowers on display, the smell in the hall is amazing and lifts the spirits of everyone who comes to see them. Usually the show is a competition and we present the very best that we can, but gardeners all know there is often beauty in imperfection

Before cutting and exhibiting make sure you know what is being asked for in each class. If you put annual flowers into your perennial collection your entry may not be judged.

  • Cut flowers in preparation for the show in the evening or early morning when the flowers are cool.
  • Keep the stems as long as possible and make a slanting cut to help the flowers take up water.
  • When showing mixed perennials or mixed annuals try to have as many different varieties of flowers as you can rather than lots of the same kind.
  • All flowers should be shown in the exhibition bikini vases provided by the society on the day or in advance if required.
  • When staging your flowers take time to remove any damaged flowers or broken leaves.
  • Misting your exhibit before you leave it for judging will help to keep it looking fresh and at its best.
  • Judges use some guidelines when awarding points for specific flowers. For example, Gladiolas should be straight in the container with 1/3rd of the blooms fully open,1/3rd showing colour and 1/3rd in tight bud showing no flower or colour.
  • Dahlias should have no insect or disease damage. They should be in full bloom with straight stem.
  • Sweet peas should have strong straight stems with well-spaced blooms. The blooms should be uniform in number.
  • The blooms of Roses should be half open and should have healthy foilage. Faults are found with roses that are fully open or have insect or disease damage
  • Keep pot plants well-watered and dead head regularly to keep them looking their best. They should be free of insects and disease. Foliage plants are judged on the quality and appearance of leaves and stems. Colour should be bright, clear and typical of the plant. There should be no fading of colour or signs of scorching or water spotting.
  • Flowering plants are judged for their display of flowers and should show no sign of  foliage damage. Plant shape should be symmetrical and well balanced. A one sided plant indicates that it hasn’t been rotated in the light evenly. Use clean containers of the specified size that should complement he plant but not draw attention from it. Groom the plant carefully such as removing fallen petals or dead leaves. Stubs or wounds should not be visible.

Wednesday 2nd September – Vegetables & Fruit



Daily Tips: The day before the Show, carefully harvest your crops.  The exception to this is onions which should be picked and allowed to dry before showing   Gently wash away all soil on entries which have been in contact  with the ground.  Try to avoid dropping or bruising any entry.  Remove  any pests you find.

Leaves must be left in place for leafy vegetable entries. Do not remove outer leaves. If there are a number of vegetables to be presented, they should be as uniform as possible. For example Nine pods of peas should be about the same size.

Carrots should be have a good colour and long smooth roots. Foliage should be trimmed to about 3 inches.

Courgettes should be young, tender and about 4 to 6 inches long.

Leeks should be solid, thick and well blanched. The skins should be spotless.

Potatoes should be cleaned with a sponge and should be of a similar size. They should be clear skinned with few eyes. They should not be damaged with speckled or patchy skin.

Tomatoes should be ripe and firm and uniform in size. They must have the calyx ( stalk) still attached.

Thursday 3rd September – Floral Art & Craft; Arts & Crafts; Baking & Jam & Drink



Daily Tips: Homemade jam is a real treat. There are a few points that are taken into consideration when jam is being judged in a competition. It should be properly set but not too thick.  If jam is overcooked, it becomes quite solid and loses its bright colour. If the fruit you are using is over ripe the amount of pectin may be reduced. Pectin is a naturally occurring gelling agent. Fruit low in pectin takes longer to set and the colour will be darker. It helps to warm sugar slightly before adding it to the fruit and the sugar should not be added until the fruit is cooked. When the jam comes to the boil try to boil as rapidly as possible and stir occasionally. Jam that sets quickly will have a better colour.

Jelly requires to be strained to obtain the fruit juice that is used. Don’t be tempted to try push or squeeze the fruit pulp to achieve that as the jelly will be cloudy.

Marmalade is made from the juice and peel of citrus fruit. Make sure the peel is soft before adding the sugar. Peel should be finely shredded rather than minced. Marmalade should be left to cool in the pan for a little while before putting it into jars as this will prevent the peel from rising to the top.

Lemon curd is tangy and creamy and contains eggs. For that reason, it should be made a maximum of 3 weeks before the competition. As with all jams, jellies and preserves the jar should be clearly labelled and including the date the contents were made.

Friday 4th September – Produce; Gardens; Tatties



Tips on growing Potatoes

Advice from Renee MacDonald on growing potatoes. Prepare the ground by digging in plenty farm yard manure then add fertilizer such as chicken pellets. Delay planting until the ground is warm enough (about 7 degrees C). Plant 6 inches apart and earth up by pulling soil up around the plants to prevent the growing potatoes from turning green which would be poisonous. The Glenurquhart area is prone to frost which will slow down growth. If potatoes do get slightly frosted they will be set back by about 2 weeks but still good to eat.

Green Manure

Once summer vegetables have been harvested the soil will be a bit low in essential nutrients. Growing green manure is one way of replenishing the soil. Green manure are quick growing seeds and there are several different types readily available such as clover and legumes. Sow these seeds when your plot is empty and they will mature in a few weeks. Dig them back in to the soil where it will break down and feed the soil.

Looks like next year the judges will have a really difficult task selecting the winners!

Any queries in how to be involved within your community please contact Nicky  [email protected]

View the 2020 schedule as a PDF document here