High hopes for show

OTTERTON is gearing up for this year's spring village flower show, where organisers are refusing to be thwarted by the weather.

OTTERTON is gearing up for this year's spring village flower show, where organisers are refusing to be thwarted by the weather.The spring show, on Saturday, March 14, has been under threat from the weather for the past four years as competitors battle against the elements to preserve their daffodil blooms from excessive rain or cold.Organisers this year feared a repeat of the 2006 competition when the weather forced a postponement of the show for two weeks because daffodils bloomed exceptionally late.Otterton Garden Club chairman Ro Smith said in 2006, a mild winter turned cold and dull in February and March, leaving daffodils with no stimulus to bloom. This year the sharp frosts gave way to milder weather in mid-February and that, together with recent sunny days, spurred many plants into flower.Mr Smith said: "This winter has been much colder, but we've benefited from a key difference in the timing of the weather," "The daffodils may be late, but they've been catching up quickly in the last week or so."There should be plenty of fresh young blooms available for our exhibitors, in contrast to 2007 and 2008, when everything was so early it was difficult to find flowers still in peak condition."Last year's spring event attracted record entries, and was the most successful show ever, with a total of nearly 300 entries in sections for cut blooms, pot plants, floral decoration, home-made produce and junior classes."Our only disappointment in 2008 was that children's entries were down by nearly 50 per cent," said Mr Smith. "We would like to see more youngsters taking part on Saturday, and to encourage them we've introduced a new young growers trophy for under-18s."The club is celebrating its 80th anniversary this year, so we're hoping for a big turn-out to mark the occasion."Anyone is welcome to enter exhibits free of charge. Entry forms are available by telephoning (01395) 568586. The show, in Otterton Village Hall, is open from 2pm to 4.30pm Admission is 50p. Children are free.l The club's next meeting is at the same venue on Tuesday, March 17, at 7.30pm, when Stephen Locke, an experienced grower of carnivorous plants, will give an illustrated talk on Plants That Eat Animals. Admission is free to members; �2 to non-members.