Camelia japonica 'Annie Wylam'

Cookham & Cookham Dean

Horticultural Society

To create a garden is to search for a better world. Whether the result is a horticultural masterpiece or only a modest vegetable patch, it is based on the expectation of a glorious future


A Flower and Produce Show fit for a Queen

In this, the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee year, we are hoping to  encourage  record numbers of you to enter the 2012 Cookham Dean Village Fete Flower and Produce Show.

 A posy fit for a Queen is one of the categories for children under the age of 12.  Or creating your own vegetable animal could be more fun for some.  A corgi or horse perhaps?  

The leek, the national emblem of Wales is back as a class by popular demand in the Vegetable Section.  According to legend, Saint David ordered his Welsh soldiers to identify themselves by wearing the vegetable on their helmets in an ancient battle against the Saxons that took place in a leek field.

The much loved rose, our emblem in England since the War of the Roses in the 15th century, will have an opportunity to take centre stage in several categories from the vase of annuals and the single specimen rose to the floral arrangement, top vase and even the vase of edible flowers. 

Scotland is nobly represented too, in the Cooking Section, with a plate of short bread.  Mary, Queen of Scots is credited with introducing this classic Scottish biscuit in the 1500’s.

And “Wearin’ of the green” has long been a symbol of hope and eternal life in Ireland, with our foliage table decoration giving ample opportunity to celebrate greenery in all it’s glory.  

On a more personal note, taking afternoon tea is apparently one of the favourite occupations of Queen Elizabeth II.  Cup cakes, scones, jam and Victoria sponge cake mean there will be huge variety of tempting treats to admire.  Or perhaps Her Majesty might prefer a slice of savoury flan, with a spoonful of chutney.

Her ancestor, Queen Victoria was an extremely frugal eater, partial to a plain piece of the sponge cake that was named after her.  And for breakfast every morning she had a simple boiled egg, served in a gold egg cup and eaten with a gold spoon. 

An even earlier Queen, Elizabeth I, was said to be particularly keen on carrots after being presented with a tub of butter and a wreath of tender carrots emblazoned with diamonds.  Folklore has it that she removed the diamonds and sent the carrots and butter to the kitchen. They returned as the classic side dish: buttered carrots.

So our show in this Diamond Jubilee year will have categories to please royalty both past and present, and hopefully will tempt you to take part too. The entry fee is just 50p per class, (free for children under 12). 

As with any great royal spectacle planning ahead is the secret of success.  Potatoes need to be chitted, onions planted and tomato varieties chosen. 

Enthusiastic as ever to win a certificate, cup or medal I can’t wait to get my runner beans staked, my chrysanthemums bedded in and my beetroot planted.  While waiting for an end to the winter frosts I wont be idle though.  The knitted or crocheted item this year is a hat.  I am thinking a sparkly elaborate crown could be my path to glory.         

If you have any questions, or would like to know more about how to enter contact, Janet Shanks on 01628 525576 or

(By Claire Phillpot)