Chiswick Holds UK's First Cyberspace Allotment and Gardening Show


Rula Lenska presents prizes for Chiswick Horticultural and Allotments Society


Rula Lenska with Paul Lynch

Star of stage and screen, Rula Lenska, joined Paul Lynch, President of the Chiswick Horticultural and Allotments Society (CHAS) in awarding prizes this week for what is believed to be the UK’s first gardening show to be held in cyberspace.

While all other shows in the country have had to be cancelled because of the pandemic, CHAS held the first ‘virtual’ show to be staged entirely online.

The event became a global internet success, attracting 348 entries from all over the UK and as far away as California and Singapore, with exhibits ranging from flowers and vegetables to poetry and decorated spoons.

This innovative solution was devised by John Gill and Mike Flinders, the Society’s Show Secretaries, who were supported by Vernon Wood and Yosef Ouri on the technology side.

As John Gill explained, “The show not only attracted worldwide attention, it has also inspired other horticultural societies to follow our lead and contact us for help in setting up their own cyber shows, too.”

Mike Flinders added, “58 classes, mobile phones with cameras, a horticultural society brimming with enthusiasts, an internet that's part of our lives, circumstance, mixed together and we had a recipe for a virtual show.”

CHAS is a charity originally founded in 1915 as the Chiswick Allotment Holders Association, whose objectives are the promotion and encouragement of the art, science and practice of horticulture.

The Society provides its members with free advice, seeds, bulbs, fertiliser, compost and tools at a lower cost than commercial garden centres and organises shows, talks, tours and events throughout the year.

It is entirely run by volunteers from the committee to the trading hut. Membership of the Society is open to everyone, whether or not they have an allotment, garden or window box and costs just £8 per year.

CHAS holds two Shows a year where both novices and seasoned gardeners young or old are encouraged to exhibit a range of produce, including their flowers, vegetables, fruit, cakes, chutneys and photos.

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