While I’ve been busy with my recent challenge, DJ has been even busier in our vegetable garden. You might remember me telling you I’d put him and the vegetable patch in for a local gardening competition. At the time I thought it would be a) fun and b) a chance for him to get the recognition he deserves for his fantastic veg growing skills. I tried to keep it a secret for a bit to surprise him, but miserably only managed to keep it under wraps for a few hours as he soon prized the information out of me. It was my own fault – I just couldn’t stop giggling to myself.
But, in the weeks running up to the competition, I began to worry that I’d made a rash decision. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t for a second think that he didn’t have a good shot at it. It’s just that I’d underestimated how much work it would be to prepare for it. DJ is a total perfectionist and wanted to make the best job of the garden he could for the competition. And, although the category he was entered in was for the vegetable patch, not the whole garden, because he is a potager-style gardener and also plants veg in the flower beds, the patch effectively extends across the entire garden. It began to seem as though he had a second full-time job on his hands and I started to feel a bit guilty about it all. I tried to help out but I’m not sure I was as much assistance in the end as I could have been due to other commitments. “The garden will look great – this time next year,” he kept saying to me. Oh dear!
Well, anyway, the day of judgement finally came to pass over the weekend. As you can imagine, the morning was a hive of activity, with last minute tidy-ups and preparations being made. I started to worry that the entry form had been lost in the post or that we wouldn’t hear the judges knock if we were in the garden. But finally at about 2.30pm on Sunday, DJ exclaimed: “there are people with clipboards on the doorstep!” He was on! Four judges entered the premises and DJ took them on a grand tour of the garden, taking care to point out as many extra vegetables lurking in the flower beds as possible – peas, courgettes, broad beans, sweetcorn – in case they failed to notice. They went everywhere, in the green house, taking photos and even commented on the chickens, before heading off to see the last remaining entry of the day (and no doubt to the closest hostelry to compare notes on the competitors).
So, what did they make of it all in the end? From what DJ says, it was impossible to glean much of a reaction from them. The sun had been beating down all day and it was clear that the judges, who had been on the road since 9am, had overloaded on gardening and gardens for the day. DJ thought perhaps they had already decided on their winning entry and were going through the motions, but perhaps they were just playing their cards close to the chest. We’ll find out soon when we attend the prize-giving in a week or two. Keep your fingers crossed for DJ!
However, regardless of what the judges thought, the garden got a resounding thumbs-up from my neighbour and her family. “What did they say?!!” she texted me as soon as the judges had left the building. She had obviously been observing them from her window! “Can we come round and inspect for ourselves?” she asked. In the event, the grand judging panel of Nina, Kevin, Callum and Ellie were suitably impressed. “I think DJ should win first prize,” insisted Callum. I’m biased but I think he’s absolutely right. But at least, even if the vegetable patch doesn’t win this time, we get to eat most of the prize exhibits and that’s really the point of it all.
Have you ever entered your vegetables or flowers for a local gardening competition? How did you get on? I’d love to hear about your experiences. Leave a message and let me know.
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