The Broadwey & Upwey Spring Show


It was the weekend of the Broadwey & Upwey Spring show… the first spring show that Charlie has ever entered. I think he was up and about at 4 or 5ish on Saturday morning, getting ready such treats as this….

Or this beautiful Amaryllis, which was meant to be out in time for Christmas but did a late showing – just in time for the Broadwey Spring show. 

I had a quick whizz around the garden that morning before we set off to set up Charlie’s entries.  It was a beautiful morning, so reminiscent of those incredible spring days in the fearful, fretful, frantic early weeks of Lockdown, two years ago to the week. 

The primroses are wonderful on the bank this year.  The scent is incredible.

And then we were off.  Here’s Charlie, setting up one of the early entries…

The hall was slowly filling up with the results of several months’ dedication. 

Mark Read’s exceptional daffodil entries. 

Mark is a champion daffodil grower. In fact a champion of many things.  Rest in Peace Mark’s father, Pete Read, who had been involved with Dorset horticulture and showing over his very long life, and who sadly passed away in January this year.  The spirit lives on.  Mark’s perfect blooms. 

Charlie’s mixed bunch….Setting the displays is an art in itself. 

Camelia entries. 

Quiet inspection amongst those who have entered.

Here’s Bill Howarth, a veteran grower and exhibitor who regular readers of this blog will recognise. Bill turned 88 this year – exhibiting for seventy years.

We went home… astonishing sunshine…

Charlie’s beds ready for spring. A quick walk around the top with the dogs…

Spring is the in the air of the hedgerows and lanes. 

The lake was clear and breezy….

Then back to see how we’d done. The face of trepidation….


That he’d won a lot of daffodil classes. The first time he’d ever entered! 


The doors opened, the organisers of the show settled in for a well-earned tea and cake. 

Second in chitted potatoes. 

First in Amaryllis! I put this photograph on instagram and it turns out its owner is a follower! Here is Bomber Harris (that’s the Bedlington Terrier!). 

Yes – Mark Read’s beautiful white daffodil is best bloom in show. One of Charlie’s firsts…. Bill and Ruth – Bill’s astonishing results surprising no-one. 

Another of Charlie’s firsts!  We went for a little walk around Upwey. This was the village that I grew up in, back in the 70s.  So nice to have a trip around memory lane.  Our house. The windows weren’t quite that bright yellow when we lived here, but maybe there’s a reason our windows in Scotland are yellow? 

Mark and Charlie…. And Charlie & Sarah Studley, our old neighbour, great friend of Mum’s and Dad’s…. who came over to say hello! 

Inevitable photographs….

Charlie and Ruth….

Bill’s car wins best in show. 

I love this sign. 

And with that, the day was over; home, tired, early to bed. Today, I’ve been in London, in the soft spring sunshine, for a terribly sad memorial service for an old friend, Katie Roma Backhouse, stalwart of Bloomsbury. Farewell, Roma – we miss you so much.

There is something so eternally powerful about the village flower show. Of course, Upwey is on a slightly different level than some, but the dedication, and the calm, impressive quality is clear for all to see.  For a brief minute, we are transported into a world that is happy, and timeless, and plays by the rules…. a beautiful and much-needed respite to the relentless world outside.


23 comments on this post

  • Henry GIllespie

    A brilliant post and felicitations to Charlie. You both deserve to be over the moon. All the flowers were beautiful and it is uplifting to see them. Nature is a wonderful inspiration.

    Best wishes,


  • Millerball

    Lovely, lovely post . . . almost had a little cry because your final paragraph captures so perfectly what I’m feeling these days.

  • Judith

    what a lovely event; five stars for Ben, Charlie and everone else; and long long may it continue

  • Penny le Roux

    Well Done Charlie and thank you both for sharing your splendid show as well as the wonderful community spirit. A real treat.

  • Darlene Chandler

    Congratulations Charlie, well done. So happy that you exhibited in this Spring Flower Show, your flowers were beautiful and your preserves looked amazing. Thank you for taking us all to a beautiful place and an escape to a beautiful positive experience. Loved the village and your former home and all of the other people at this show. Loved that chaps car full of flowers. Beautiful scenery and so up lifting for yet another cold few days in Canada with rain, high winds and some wet snow coming our way. I live through your spring flowers and think positive that ours will come our way soon. All the best and thank you for making my day and I so admire you days out. I so hope to get to London before the fall and visiting your shop.

  • Sandra Flood

    Well done, Charlie. Flower shows are such a lovely idea and very English. Having lived in various places from the Atlantic side of Canada to the BC mountains (and soon to Vancouver Island), I have never seen a flower show advertised.

  • Jayne Ann Fox

    Touched and inspired by the beauty, simplicity and genuineness of the offerings. Each represents a discriminating artistic sensibility and clarity of purpose. Impressive.

  • Trisha

    Delightful! Congratulation Charlie, job well done; you have filled my heart with joy.

  • Jean McAllister

    Thank you for the joyful pics and happiness you share with us all. So lovely to see Spring as we enter Autumn in Africa.
    Jean in Johannesburg

  • Malcolm Pym

    Congratulations Charlie on a fabulous result. Such an uplifting blog, so interesting and calming. PLease keep them coming .
    Cheers from Australia

  • Sue Hanna

    Congratulations, you know have many years of competing to go. The spring flower show in Cheviot, North Canterbury, had her last showing 8 years ago. I think of all those oldies who entered year after year, beautifully presenting their daffodils, winning cups, having afternoon tea, loading up their vehicles to drive off home. Keep it up young man. Oh time for new boots?

  • Janice Barr

    I awoke this morning in New Zealand to 2 exciting things – your post showing beautiful daffodils and my package from the courier delivering my daffodil bulb order ready to plant for our spring in 5 or 6 months. I feel I have some pretty tough standards to live up.!!!! Well done Charlie and thanks for sharing your success

  • Dana

    Congratulations on continuing the line of gardeners and showmen. Ill bet your grandfather would be proud. Ben, thank you and amen.

  • Craig Fitt

    Absolute Heaven. I love a good show dedicated to the love labors of those who enter. Truly an antidote to the worrisome concerns of the larger, reported-upon world. Thank you Ben, for sharing with us. And thank you, Charlie, for sharing the beauty you so carefully bring into our world.

  • Wendy Smith

    So wonderful to see such a gentle & uplifting post of The Flower Show , so wholesome in its very being. Well done Charlie , great to see your joy in participating & entering your specimens . How wonderful that you have such a large garden & glasshouse for Charlie to pursue his passion & to bring happiness & comfort in a world which sorely needs to be reminded of life’s simple pleasures .

  • erik sexton

    congratulations charlie ! ! !

  • Clay McCleery

    Thank you for this pick-me-up!
    And congratulations to Charlie! What a way to start his floral year!

  • SJ Axelby

    What a joyful day thanks for sharing it with us all x

  • Lisa Dunn

    Congratulations to Charlie! Beautiful specimens. Happy Spring.

  • mary lou bethune

    This lovely post made me smile and that is saying something these terrible days. Nature is a blessing . Well done, Charlie , and it must be said that Charlies is ever chic.

  • Morgan Mead

    Pure pleasure looking at these pics, Ben, especially C’s delight. Thank you.

  • Deborah Wagner

    I’m pleased to see that Charlie is still working has magic at the shows and looking a treat in his Canadian tuxedo! Perfect news for the Vernal Equinox.

    Love the yellow trim on your old house. Maybe they copied you?

    This post is so uplifting—and so needed. “Rejoice! Rejoice! We have no choice but to carry on,” as the inimitable Stephen Stills put it, with music to match.


  • Rebecca Smith

    What a happy, joyful post. I love a flower show. Congratulations to Charlie on his lovely wins and how nice to see the standard of all the entries. Must be one for the diary next year!

Please leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published.

back to top