Sunday, 31 August 2008


The judging team have worked hard into the night. The results are in. Before I say anything else, I would just like to say that we are a judging team educated at a Froebel Demonstration School. That means we don't really care about rules and we prefer play over, well, pretty much everything else. With that proviso, I would like to announce that the Committee have decided to make the following awards this year:

Most Creative Use of Marrow. And also Marrow - Amanda, Someone Else's Kitchen
Outlaw Degenerate Supreme (Prize awarded with respect to grey squirrel raising) - Zoë
Miss Tiggy Winkle Prize for Most Distinguished Loon Out Over a Hedgehog - Matthew Wilson
Friedrich Froebel Memorial Medal for the Least Competitive Spirit - Simon
Health and Safety Department Award for Good Hygiene in Baby Pig Licking - Lottie
Le Gateau le Plus Efficace En Prenant Des Photos Des Petits Animaux - Fat Rascal 
Chicktastic Prize for the Chickiest Chicks (sponsored by Heat Magazine) - Maggi
Most Unabashed Knitting Nicking - Mrs J of Cambridge
Most Disgusting Group Sex Photo (Snail Category) - also Mrs J, Cambridge
Best Photo of a Rapid Unroped Feline Ascent Through Three Metres of Wall - Anonjan
Elegant Cake Award for the most Wilful Attempt to Get Round Current Government Daily Guidelines on Recommended Servings of Fruit and Veg - Happy Mouffetard
Most Inadvertently Rude Cake - Black Finger Nail
Mankiest Tomato - Carol from May Dreams. A particularly fine specimen, the Committee noted. 
Tallest Sunflower - at thirteen feet, the easy winner was Swimmom Krissi.
Widest Sunflower - Helen at patientgardener
Fattest Pig - WH - who also takes with this snapshot, we are happy to announce, the Sir Gregory Parsloe Parsloe prize for the best digital cheating.
Most Genuinely Fat, Actually Weighed, Pig - Sarah Salway for "Freight Train" 
Finest Stalking of Chris Beardshaw or Similar - Arabella Sock, for the 7th year running.As a result Committee took a unanimous decision to award Mrs Sock the lifetime achievement medal in this category, thus leaving the section open for new talent to develop in the coming year. 
Nature is Ruder than Fiction - Arabella Sock, for the astonishingly, but actually real, chilli. 
Neatest Allotment, plus the Award for Extraordinary Talent in Producing Sunflowers Without Any Actual SummerGlosterWomble 
Prettiest Beetroots - Mark Diacono at Otter Farm 
Criminally Good Tomatoes - Iris, Society Garlic
Tastiest-Looking Overall Prize for Fruits - Mrs Celestria Alexander-Sinclair
Most-in-Focus Cup, Sponsored by Dollond and Aitchison - WH, for six cherry tomatoes
Absolutely Splendiferously Beauteous Floral Display Including Six Tomatoes - Easygardener from Green Forks
Marvellous Mauve Trophy for Most Glamorously Presented Vegetable Display - Miss Hathorn at Mustard Plaster 
Empire Postato Building Award for Tuber Gigantism - Easygardener from Green Forks
Boo to the Olympics Gold Medal for Vegetative Achievement in the Face of Urban "Regeneration"  - Colleen from rus in urbis 
Alicante RIP Memorial Shield For Variety and Excellence in Tomato Growing - Miss Hathorn at Mustard Plaster
"I Bite Your Blight" Monster Tomato Prize - Yolanda Elizabet tying in a dead points heat with Karen from artistsgarden
Floral Arrangement in the Style of James Alexander-Sinclair - to Yolanda Elizabet for outstanding effort in this category. Runner-up with special mention, J. Alexander-Sinclair. 
Fruit Scone Quality Shield - LindfieldMan
Doily Decorative Achievement - LindfieldMan
Award for Outstanding Contribution to Scone Research, to the person who, in the Committee's opinion, has done most in the preceding twelve months to enlarge our understanding of the Scone - Patientgardener
Penthouse Playmate Award for the Men Only Victoria Sandwich - WH
Not Called Artist For Nothing Cup for the Finest Homemade Seed Receptacles - karen from artistsgarden
Best Animated Short Film Concerning a Continental Pastry or Cake - Arabella Sock
Penile Solanaceae Similarity Shield to Jane at Procrastinators' Progress
The World in a Miniature Garden Trophy for Meaningful Garden Design on a Conceptual Level for Inspiring Spiritual Struggle and Universal Achievements Such as the Olympics - James Alexander-Sinclair

Finally we come to the competition's most hotly-contested categories. These were of course, the hardest to judge. 

Celebrity Portrait in Fruit or Veg 
The Committee agreed the standard had been outstanding and that many of the entrants could have competing in this category at international level. A winner must be chosen, however. First Prize to Lottie for Carrot Klein, followed by Second to James Alexander Sinclair for Wayne and Colleen, and Third to Easygardener for Brangelina Twins Viv and Knox. Well done to all. 

Best Paparazzi-Style Picture of Matthew Wilson, Chris Beardshaw or similar
A fiercely-fought category, as you'd expect from this crowd. 
Third Prize to James A-S for a granny-pleasing shot of Alan Titchmarsh's well-rounded behind. Second Prize to Matthew Wilson for his photo of, hmm, himself. And finally First Prize to VP for Joe and Rachella's glum moment of darkness. A proper off-camera moment captured with great paparazzi skill. 

Sarah Raven Prize for Flower Arranging - After much careful consideration the Committee decided that, in their opinion the arranger channelling most effectively the spirit of Raven was patientgardener. Well done to all entrants as the Committee agreed the standard this year was particularly high. 

Emsworthian Medal for Achievement Across All Categories - Veg Plotting, with particular mention for her Willow Weaving, her dark and thoughtful venture into Programmatic Flower Arranging, and her gorgeous and day-brightening-up Five Dahlias. 

Thank you to all who competed, it has been a most enjoyable affair and all the Committee would like to pass on their thanks to the entrants as well as to the organisers of the event. Our final task is just to announce the winners of the prize giveaway: all the entrants were entered, and four names were picked from a hat earlier by my lovely assistant Samuelantha, as evidenced in the following photo:

The winners are Arabella Sock, Mrs J of Cambridge, LindfieldMan, and Zoë. I will be sending you each a nice present.


I have received several entries during the course of my work as secretary that just, well, didn't fit anywhere. So I am just going to bung them in here as they are all very very nice. 

First, Simon sent this saying "Doesn't fit in any categories but it's my favorite pic from my plot this year." I love the total non-competitiveness of this, and I love them snapdragons too.

And this was from Matthew Wilson but there was nowhere obvious for it to go. But what a gorgeous scarecrow. She is Canadian. My mum used to draw faces like that when I was little. 

Tuesday, 26 August 2008


With only a few days to go now before entries close and the show prizes can be awarded (errrrr, look into that post haste) there has been a fabulous turnout for many categories. 

I would particularly like to congratulate VP for her sterling efforts in entering nearly every category (she's not allowed in the Men Only Baking and her religion forbids her, of course, from making baklava, but apart from that...). 

Celebrity Paparazzi Snaps has been a firm favourite, which doesn't surprise me as we garden bloggers are a shallow, fame-driven lot, apart from Jane Perrone who quite pointedly will not tell who she saw at the Cerne Giant. (Maybe she is going to sell the story to Heat - "SIR X JAGGER CONSULTS ANCIENT FERTILITY SYMBOL IN QUEST FOR ANOTHER BABY". Remember, I told you first.)

Baby Animals also doing rather well. 

Those categories currently not doing so well,  I nevertheless do think deserve some love: so pull out the boat, and load it up with your Jpegs of your largest veg , your biggest sunflower, your scones and your homemade seedpackets. And most of all your Victoria Sponge!

Wednesday, 6 August 2008


Welcome to the First Emsworth Village Show, scheduled to take place this year from the 15th-30th August 2008. Entries are already being accepted, so please read on for details of how to submit your prize specimens. We're holding the show in tandem with Veg Plotting's Water Aid extravaganza which also begins on the 15th August, so read all about the good cause and give if you can. 

The show is named in honour of the adorable 9th Earl of Emsworth who, as you may know, exhibits his prize pig the Empress of Blandings each year at the Shrewsbury Show. "At Eton, they called him Fathead", to quote Wikipedia. Only you will know if you have the good spirit of competition epitomised by the Earl, or the downright sneakiness of Sir Gregory Parsloe Parsloe - his great rival in all things piggish. 

Entries can be made in the following categories. 

To enter, please send a small jpeg to anicegreenleaf AT hotmail DOT com, and I will post your entry to the right category. Please specify the category you are entering, just in case it isn't completely obvious. Then you can use the list of posts to the immediate right of this one, to find your exhibit within its category.

I haven't actually hired any judges yet so you might be doing it for the sheer showing off, but I'm sure I can manage to rustle up at least one prize for overall good sportiveness, as well as one for cynical stealing of pictures off Google Images. 

Bless you all, and happy baking. 


After a funtabulous day at Wisley and after receiving a fantastic pic I could not resist, I have announced a new preserves category. 

The committee originally decided against including jams and preserves because they would have to be judged purely on looks. (Unless you can also manage to stump up a photo of someone guzzling your preserve, whilst making an expression of indescribable bliss.) If the world was judged just on looks, no one would ever eat lime marmalade, which would definitely make it a worse world in my book. Judging preserves merely on their looks seems to me to directly relate to the superficiality of today's modern supermarket culture.

However I then secured a £3million contract from Sainsbury's and now I don't care anymore. Let's proceed on the assumption that it's all about Lookin' Good. 

19 august
Anyway look - the first entry is this, from Amanda at SomeoneElse's Kitchen: "You'll notice that marrow features in them rather a lot," she says, very endearingly. 

26 august

From VP, a really bittersweet story: "Here's the preserves entry I'm submitting on behalf of my mother in law. Hubby had to clear her house out last week as it was sold (she's now in a home), so we've 'inherited' various jars of jam. It's quite poignant really as it shows that only 2 years ago, she was still capable of making her garden's surplus into the jam we've been enjoying for so long. So this is my tribute to her."


I knew I was missing something. I had that feeling but I couldn't put my finger on it. However today's tragic news, mourned the nation over ('cept probably in Devon) has made me think we all need cheering up. I haven't got anything particularly strong against Buckland, except that in general I detest Bucklands. Though William Buckland was okay, I guess. but still, depression reigns. Or should that be rains. 

Anyway in my family, we know there is nothing that cheers a cove up more than a nice picture of a sweet little baby animal. 

So here you go. Surely you'd have to be the Queen of Narnia to have a heart cold enough to resist the aptly captioned "Stag Beetle Boy goes Hoggy" seen above. Awwwwwwww......

8pm update
I can see already that this category is going to be a great success. Look what Lottie just sent! A baby licking a pig! Sorry I mean kissing. 

And I have one to add which is one of my favourite sweet pictures: Baby Bing Bong, a little fox that some piratical friends of mine in Sussex looked after for a few days.

14 august
2 from Zoë - first, her "breaking the law and handrearing an orphaned grey squirrel." Is that the social law that says never do anything nice for squirrels, or an actual Parliament law? Sounds intriguing...

And then (my fave) 
Wayne the Chavfinch!

"My daughter Robyn holding a newly fledge Chaffinch who had flown into the french doors of the cottage, he was somewhat dazed and confused, and didnt fly off for about half an hour. Meanwhile he starred in his own photofest."

19 august
Yummy, french baby animals from Fat Rascal: " The horses have bigger bottoms than the pigs!" Baby horses, though, awwwwwwww.....

19 August
Some more pigs from James A-S: as they are baby porkers, I have filed them in this category.
"Here are some more pigs (Tamworths from Hampton Court, 2007). The fact that they were in the Daily Mail pavilion should not be held against them. They were the particular favourites of Hayley Monckton (press honcho for the RHS)".

Look what Maggi just sent! Awwwww....
"Emily's Chicks. These are some of the 16 who grew up in the paint pots in the outhouse. They had hatched under an escallonia at the front of the house with only the grass verge between them and the road and at grave risk from the dreaded foxy gentleman. Catching 16 newly hatched chicks in front of their distraught parent takes some doing but she did follow me very willingly once I had got them all into a box! They all survived their infancy but sadly said foxy not-so-gentleman had a field day one afternoon........not pleasant to come home to."

( Here they are growing up amongst the paint pots! )

26 august
ooh! We haven't had one of these yet!
This was a Ms J of Cambridge spot: "The duckling, which we saw in a park in St Neots, had a very negligent mother who was much more interested in people bearing food than she was in taking care of her offspring, so we can only hope it survived to adult duckhood."

28 August
Two great ones from Anonjan! First, "the world’s boldest kitten literally climbing the walls." 
How do they doooo that?

"And to add a little culture to the proceedings, my 2 kittens’ entry for the Turner Prize, which has no baby animals in it, but is entitled ‘The need to create family ties and bonds when you have just been adopted’ . Very moving. Well, I thought so."

Indeed, moving, for it questions the essential assumptions we all have about identity, separateness and difference, seeking to show that all of us are entangled in webs of juxtaposed relationships (that's enough now, Ed.) 

Fat Rascal: "Here are two baby donks we met on a day out in the Aveyron! In the second photo it looks like my friend has removed its head, but she'd just found that spot behind the ears which was scratch heaven -hence its expression!"


14 august 
Hurray! Check these babies out! Well not actual babies, but things that are knitted from wool! 

VP sends this: is there no end to that woman's energy? She says: "It's surprising what a very wet day in February will make you do. This is my own design and fits a small cafetiere."
Yes, but in my case a wet day in February will make me eat a half pound bar of Dairy Milk and then cry.

She also sends this: "Very cold days in February also call for desperate measures. I could have got a body double in, but I decided to do my own hand modelling. Note the clean fingernails in spite of hours of gardening - soap under them usually does the trick."

Hmm, yes. So probably would actually washing the hands. I think basically I am just dirty. I don't even notice there's soil under my fingernails till I'm in a shop and someone's staring at my hands slightly fascinated. One thing is true, I will never be French.

I especially like the touch of bling in this photo (check out that left hand ring finger, girl!).

26 August
Ms J of Cambridge writes: "Firstly a photo for the knitted handicrafts category which I have cynically stolen off Google images (do I get a prize?) - my excuses are that the last time I tried to knit something it took me seven years & I thought you probably couldn't wait that long, and also - ooh look, it's got my name on it! I found it on this blog which deserves to be credited if only because I love the idea of punk rock knitters."


10th August, 22.33pm
From Lottie: check this beauty out. Of a standard to make Matthew Wilson cry like a baby, get out his chequebook and order one on the spot. 

And here's VP's effort, some extremely impressive homemade rustic fence. Eat your heart out Joe Swift. She writes: 
"I'd like to enter something I made at evening class. It's this rather nice piece of rustic fence made from hazel and willow."

13 august
This just in, from Hibernaculum specialist Matthew Wilson. It's a "stag beetle hotel", I'm told, because only the best is good enough for that man's menagerie. It even has azaleas, which some people might say was taking things just that little bit too far. 


Hen, rooster, capon, whatever. Just let it be known that I am extremely favouritist towards Booted Bantams. 

7th August, 23: 21pm, From James A-S: "A particularly feathery Buff Orpington Hen. Beautiful but very thick." 

My first thought: thick is an odd choice of word, but ah yes, the hen is a little chunky. My second thought: oh I see, he meant stupid.

7th August: And from Lottie, the following best chicken:

21 August
From Maggi Dunn, awwww!

and from Veg Plotting. She says:

"Daisy's a very dischuffed chook at the moment because I've entered Maisie in your Best Chicken category. Here she is, doing her best to find sustenance from our gravel path on a gloomy summer's day."

22 August
Maggi sent this of her rooster - what a hero, a proper Chanticleer:

and she also enclosed some of her fairly rowdy-looking geese caught in mid-squawk - I love it! And then one of them looking a bit more demure...

26 august
Wicked chickens. Says Ms J, of Cambridge: "The chickens live at Boscobel House, and were begging for crumbs under our table when we had tea there, and doing an outstanding impression of feather dusters."

What kind of chicken is that white one? Is it even really a chicken? does anyone have the requisite countryside lore for a sure id?


Can I just reiterate, send me a jpeg. Not the actual critter. 

A talented frog, from VP's garden. She says: "I have many amphibians in the garden, but this one has a special talent - it can tell the time!"

18 August
Amanda says, from Consecon, Ontario: "They're not terribly impressive in themselves, I suppose. But you've got to be impressed by the way that I got them to line up for this photo!" 

On the contrary, I find them both impressive and slightly scary. They are Northern Leopard Frogs, btw. Check out her blog for more amazing stories of life as a transplanted Canadian; in particular a gross caterpillar that frankly gives the whole genre a bad name.

And from James A-S - with a title quoting the Frank Sinatra classic:

"One for my baby (and one more for the Toad)".

If you don't mind me saying those toads look remarkably horny. 

19 August
Just check this dude out! It's from Fat Rascal, who says: 
"You have here - Peep the toad. He's a midwife toad (alytes obstreticans) and peeps - a lot!"

Loving that Latin name! 

Another good Frenchie one from Fat Rascal: "The big green lizard who lives by my pond." 

It looks like a dinosaur, are you sure it's safe?

Finally today, Happy Mouffetard encloses this snap with the following complaint:

"I was shocked at your blatant 'invertebratist' class of "impressive garden amphibian or reptile", so am submitting a 'wildcard' entry. My concrete octopus is the guardian of the Gunnera. Just because he doesn't have a backbone doesn't mean he has no feelings!"

Happy M, I must apologise: I do not have a problem with invertebrates generally (and in fact if anyone has a particularly good New Forest Shield Bug photo they want to send in, be my guest). I am not even prejudiced against the crustaceans. My problem is simply Molluscophobia, owing to the incident of August 1976 involving a Scallop and Blackberry Crumble with Clotted Cream.  I'd rather we didn't mention it again, as even now it can still cause me pain (and a degree of nausea) but in a gesture of good faith I post the pic. 

22 August
Moved some fuchsias today and found one of my frogs, who have been missing for weeks. Very happy to see this young lady, especially as I caught her hanging about next to two different types of mollusc:

However, I will not be expecting her to eat this monster (note dirty fingernails).

26 august
Ms J. of Cambridge sends the following, after I demanded the snap: 

"I've attached the snail orgy. Or as one person said on a wildlife thread where I posted it, they're "having a cuddle, ah bless". I think she was joking."

And also from Mrs J: "This is for the most impressive garden amphibian or reptile - not a particularly impressive frog as such, but it is doing a very impressive balancing act on a bit of Euonymus between two pots - there is nothing underneath it but leaves."
Very impressive. Get on the phone to Cirque du Soleil would be my advice. 

I get to enter one because of FINDING A SLOWWORM AT THE ALLOTMENT on thursday evening (well my boyfriend did but I had the camera).

From Happy Mouffetard, last minute: "The gods have been smiling on me this afternoon - I managed to stumble across this fine creature at the allotment. Not a great photo, as we only take the small camera down the plot but he's a handsome beastie."