Thomas and Jessica Shrimpton’s interest in gardening started at St Dunstan’s Primary School’s Environment Club, but their enthusiasm was cemented when they began competiting in Cheam and Cuddington Horicultural Society’s annual shows. Their grandmother Margaret Waller, who is also a member, helped and encouraged them and as they grew fruit and vegetables to enter in the shows, she enjoyed their company and they learnt together. Margaret has won prizes for her fruitcake, tea tray, sausage rolls and selection of foliage arranged for effect. However, Thomas and Jessica go all out. They have entered plants, garden flowers, poster design, jam tarts, sweets, ginger bread, crafts, miniature gardens, allotment design and animals made from vegetables (one year Thomas made an elephant from fruit and vegetables and Jessica made a giraffe).

When they started five years ago, Thomas, now 13,and Jessica, now 9, were in different age categories, but now, they compete against each other. Their grandmother Margaret makes the point that it is a friendly, encouraging Society. She said the Society’s Chairman, Mike Snowdon told her how nice it was to see the children compete year after year and retain their love of horticulture and competition! Another member, Rob, gave Jessica her first fushia cutting. Jessica took good care of it and the following year, she surprised Rob at the show with how well her fushia flowers were doing and he said that If she had been in the adult classes, Jessica’s fushia would have given him quite a challenge. Thomas, who attends Cheam High School, says that is favorite thing is that “You get to plant things.” Jessica agrees, but her grandmother says Jessica also loved digging up the potatoes last year.

Now their mother, Amanda, has also joined and is studying the garden to see what she can find to enter in the Summer Show. She’ll need to focus because it takes place show the 12th of July. For more information, go to You don’t have to belong to visit the show. There are Flower, Vegetable, Domestic and Children’s Classes and the venue is at St Dunstan’s C of E Primary School, Anne Boleyns Walk, Cheam, Surrey SM3 8DF. The show is open to the public from 2 - 5pm. In addition to the Show there are plants for sale and refreshments plus horticultural advice and there is ample free parking in the school grounds. Admission is free to members and 50p to non members.

Based on information supplied by Aimee Blumsom.