Whitehouse’s wonderful grow and show event

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Whitehouse Village Hall enjoyed a second successful grow and show event on Saturday.

Forget your notions of a traditional produce show where sometimes the rivalry can get a wee bit intense; the aim of the event is really not to compete.

As its name suggests, the idea is to bring along anything you have grown, in the spirit of sharing information about the highs and lows of your gardening year, but also to have a bit of fun. This includes the People’s Vote which enables everyone present to choose their favourite items on display.

A wider spread of entries over five main categories made the People’s Vote very close once again but finally the winners turned out to be: Iain Maclachlan, flowers; Rob and Isla Reid, fruit; Wendy Spy, vegetables; Catherine Doyle, floral art; and Jonny Montgomerie won the children’s section.

These winners were presented with unique plaques, hand-carved by John Coon.

There was a notably different spread of entries this year, as the weather pattern meant that some products were not ready, while others were past their best. Garden expert Neil John MacLean said: ‘Many of the entries are as good as you will see on any show bench.’ So all credit goes to all the local gardeners who took part.

New this year was a Gardener’s Question Time-style panel of experts, including Pete Creech, lecturer in organic production, plant protection and terrestrial ecosystem modules to UHI students studying HND Horticulture via Argyll College, himself an organic smallholder for many years in Dumfriesshire before moving to Argyll.

Alongside him were Neil John MacLean from Ardrishaig, a knowledgeable vegetable gardener, a highly-sought after judge and a stalwart of the Ardrishaig Show and Jacky Preece, landscape designer and plant expert based at Ormsary Garden Estate.

Among the questions tackled by the experts were how to get rid of bracken (get some beavers!), how to get rid of slugs organically (copper wire, toads and slow worms, sacrificial sunflowers) and why are my oak trees dying (drowning in poorly-drained soil).

Adding to Phil Connor’s popular burger stall was a team of ladies from Whitehouse Women’s Institute who not only served teas and cakes but also provided a wonderful spread of jams, chutneys and cakes to buy.

Ancillary activities included the plant stall which offered a number of seedlings and cuttings, herbs and mature plants at bargain prices. One of the highlights of last year’s grow and show was the Bioblitz, organised by Heart of Argyll Wildlife.

It was such a great day that next year’s date has already been announced, so save August 22, 2020, in your diary.

The organisers would like to thank the following people and businesses for their generosity in helping make the grow and show 2019 a success: Eve and James Montgomerie for allowing Pete Creech and his sweep net to venture further up the lane this year to explore their garden and pond; the panel of experts and the stewards, vote counters, car park attendants, sandwich makers, poster designers, plaque carvers, PA system experts and everyone who turned up to support the event.

The sponsors: Co-op, Tarbert; The Original Factory Shop, Campbeltown; The Garden Shop, Campbeltown; Glenbarr Stores; Kintyre Electrics, Tarbert; A and L McCrae Ltd; D McNair and Son Ltd; Mackay’s Ironmongers, Tarbert; and Skipness Smokehouse.