Although there's not been a post here for a while, We wanted to take this opportunity to let those of you who are interested in gardening more generally know that you can now follow the BBC's Gardening Blog, where Alys Fowler, Bob Flowerdew and Jim McColl share their expertise regularly.
This blog will now be closing fully. We'd like to thank you all for your comments and wish you a happy impending flower show season.
Looking back over the week I think the show has been another great success.
During my more 'sane' moments this week, these are some of the things which gave me most pleasure, in addition to the floral marquee. I particularly admired the flower beds - especially Noah's Ark and the Stoke on Trent to Patagonia bed.
The Visionary Gardens, although not my personal favourites were very much a talking point. I think the category could potentially be extended - even if it is a bit 'Emperor's New Clothes'.
A real highlight for me has been the introduction of the Fruit and Vegetable section, which inspired a great deal of interest among adults and children alike. I hope this section returns and extends next year!
By the way, this is where you could often find me this week, writing my blog in the shelter for rain or sunshine in the Tatton Tent!'
So as 4pm and the great sell off approaches, it's 'hold on to your plants', watch out for walking hanging baskets and here we go for next year!
Entering the RHS summer fruit and vegetable competition marquee is like walking into a village show. It's modest in size and the exhibits are displayed on white plates arranged on wooden tables. As in most village shows, the same names dominate the winners cards. I was surprised to see that a lot of them were from as far away as Plymouth and Essex, but this is a national competition and rather early in the season for northern growers.
Alongside the plates of beetroots and carrots are handy tips for the aspiring exhibitor. Advice like '..to get good colour in your beetroots, water the row with a solution of 10ml of salt in a gallon of water 2 weeks before harvest' or 'after washing your carrots, wrap them in damp kitchen paper and keep them cool - good colour is worth 3 or 4 points', could make all the difference.
The fruit exhibits impressed me most - it was painful looking at huge, luscious black cherries 'Summer Sun' and not being able to taste them. I've never tried the strange looking 'doughnut' peaches, but was assured they are very sweet, have white flesh and a very small stone, 'Saturn' was the variety on show. One allotment society from Yealmhampton near Plymouth had a fantastic display that included a pineapple!
Very helpful fruit enthusiasts from the Northern Fruit Group (www.northernfruitgroup.com ) are on hand to give advice and answer questions. I found out how to prune a reluctant gooseberry and Clifford from Fruitscape told me there was no excuse for not growing lots of fruit in my small London garden.