Mrs B. Saunders, president, welcomed members and visitors of the New Barkby WI to its April meeting. During business matters, Mrs Saunders gave a report of the recent Annual Council Meeting for the Leicestershire and Rutland Federation. The speaker for the evening was Mr G Smith of Long Eaton who spoke of his involvement at ‘behind the scenes at the Chelsea Flower Show’. This is held annually in the grounds of the Chelsea hospital. After judging at the Harrogate Flower show, many years ago, Mr Smith was invited to become part of the team organising the Chelsea Flower Show. With his slides, he showed that a dull brown site in the grounds of the hospital, stretching to the river Thames, becomes transformed in about a month, to looking as pristine as possible, with tons of earth having been moved and transported by many of its personnel and several hundred lorries, to a formal exhibition of flower, trees, shrubs of every hue and variety, many dazzling displays in the marquees, or else outside with the many designers gardens for visitors to view. Even gnomes have a place to be, although at one time they were banned. Bulbs such as daffodils or tulips, have to be refrigerated so that they do not develop into their flowering too soon.
The Royal family visit the show on the first morning, followed by an evening event for well-known faces and celebrities. Members of Horticultural Societies then can attend on following days; afterwards likewise, members of the public may visit and enjoy the show, with plenty of walking involved, looking at the various gardens, stands and shops, with accessories and items for sale. The final day, Sunday, is when purchases may be made with trees and shrubs being carted off in trolleys, wheelchairs and wheelbarrows, for a not-so-quick getaway with their horticultural goodies. Eventually the area becomes its own plain site again until the following year.
The vote of thanks was given by Mrs B. Saunders. The competition for ‘E’ was Mrs M. Gamble with a plant, ‘Echeveria’, she also won the raffle prize. The Tea hostesses were Mrs A. Gale and Mrs D. Wright. The next meeting will be held on Wednesday 6th May at the Community Centre, School St, Syston at 7.30pm