Photo gallery: Duck-shaped potato is a winner at Highgate Horticultural Society’s autumn show

A duck-shaped potato and “bitter and twisted” runner beans were the unlikely stars of a horticultural autumn show in Highgate.

In a room filled with elegant bouquets, giant home-grown produce and luscious cakes, the unusual vegetables were stand-out entries at the Highgate Horticultural Society’s annual autumn show on Saturday (September 20) at the United Reform Church in South Grove.

Newcomers Steve Hooper and Mary Alexander, who joined the society in July, were the proud owners of the uncannily duck-like spud and came top in the most unusually shaped vegetable category.

They pipped society stalwart Gary Sycamore to second place with his strangely curled “bitter and twisted” runner beans but the committee member made up for the loss by coming close to achieving a clean sweep of the show’s many prizes and awards.

Society member Dr Laura Boothman said: “It was one of the funniest classes this time.


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“We think people are a bit shy of exhibiting but this shows that it’s all about taking part and having fun. It’s not always about having the perfect things.”

A weekend downpour didn’t dampen a lively auction of the show’s exhibits after the judging came to a close.

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Furious bidding for award-winning flower arrangements and make-your-own soup kits containing leeks and potatoes or tomatoes and herbs raised money for the society.

The autumn show may be the last of the year for the 155-year-old group, but the committee is warning keen gardeners not to rest on their laurels.

Dr Boothman said: “They should be planting their bulbs now, their daffodils, narcissi and tulips, if they are looking for success in the spring.”

The next show will be in March 2015. Visit highgatehorticulturalsociety.org.uk for more information.

Full list of awards and prizes:

Highgate Horticultural Society Cup for best exhibit in flower classes - Jean Morley for perennial asters

Faith Cope Morgan Award for most points in flower classes - Gary Sycamore for exhibits including dahlias and cut perennials

Gibbon Award for most points in fruit classes - Gary Sycamore for exhibits including apples and filberts

Jack Hurst Award for best exhibit in runner beans - Gary Sycamore for six runner beans

Rankine Cup for most points in vegetable classes - Gary Sycamore for various exhibits

Dame Francis Gardner Cup for best vegetable exhibit - Gary Sycamore for various exhibits

DJ Hawkins Bowl for most points in flower arranging classes - Jean Morley and Marion Wilton for exhibits including a ‘harvest festival’

Constance Dains Award for most points won by children aged six to 10 - Annabel Welch for exhibits including chocolate-coated apples and a seedy star collage

Alice Allender Award for best domestic (home baking) exhibit - Yvonne Locke for a Dundee cake

Highgate Horticultural Society certificate of merit - Gary Sycamore for a “cook’s delight” basket of vegetables

Diploma of excellence in horticulture (flowers) - Gary Sycamore for mixed perennials

Diploma of excellence in horticulture (fruit) - Gary Sycamore for a basket of fruit

Diploma of excellence in horticulture (vegetables) - Alan Dallman for cherry tomatoes

Certificate of merit in floral art - Gary Sycamore for a “harvest festival”

Children’s certificate of merit - Tufnell Park School’s gardening club for mixed flowers

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