Horticulture and history at the Autumn Show

By Debbie Fox, interim chair, Caterham & District Horticultural Society

The Caterham & District Horticultural Society’s Autumn Show took place on Saturday, 16 September at The Westway Centre. displaying nearly 80 entries from adults and children. They staged seasonal fruit, vegetables and flowers as well as floral art, cookery and crafts on the show benches. This tradition in Caterham goes back to the Victorian era.

Caterham & District Horticultural Society's Autumn Show displayes
Show benches (Credit: Debbie Fox)

The society has been making memories since the 1880s and owns trophies dating back to 1921: a project to document all past winners in a searchable archive is underway. With the show falling on Heritage Open Weekend, the society also put on a display of its history. Kevin Fane, whose family has been connected with the society since at least 1946, was there to share his family story with visitors.

Society President Jeremy Webster opened the show and thanked all the volunteers that made it happen. Cllr Chris Botten, chairman of Tandridge District Council and Caterham on the Hill parish councillor, then gave out the prize, including cash prizes for the hanging basket class, which the parish council has provided for many years.

In his closing comments, Cllr Botten said that the society is important locally and something the parish council wants to continue to support. He made a special grant of £300 to the society from the parish council, in support of the society growing its committee and volunteer base.

Who won what?

  • Debbie Fox was deemed ‘gardener of the year’, scooping the Murray Bowl and RHS Banksian Medal for performance across the spring and autumn shows. She also won the W. S. Warren Silver Challenge Cup, Johnson Cup, Gratwick Cup and Garden News Shield. And the ‘Wonky Cup’ for the ugliest vegetable (a potato), hanging basket prize and Synchemicals Cup for photography of ‘My Lawn in 2023’.
  • Morganna Evans won the Chapman Plate by gaining the most points in children’s classes in the spring and autumn shows.
  • Chris Anderson won the Gooderham Memorial Trophy, Gosden Shield and James Skilton Memorial Cup. His winning entries included dahlias, vegetables and fruit.
  • Margaret Davison won the Judge’s Cup for her wonderful cookery.
  • Karen Murray won the Parnell SIlver Challenge Cup, Winter Thomas Silver Challenge Cup and W. Sandiford Rose Bowl. She gained the most points in show for flowers and vegetables and excelled in pot plants and roses. 
  • Joe Perera won the Caterham Council Cup, Chaldon Cup, Cliff Ridgeway Memorial Cup and George Faulkner Memorial Cup. A highlight of his entries was his collection of vegetables.
Floral arrangements by Debbie Fox (L) and Karen Murray (R) (Credit: Debbie Fox)
Floral arrangements by Debbie Fox (L) and Karen Murray (R) (Credit: Debbie Fox)

The Caterham & District Horticultural Society’s next event is its annual meeting on Monday 13 November at Caterham URC, from 19:15. There will be a talk and refreshments. Entry is free.

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