Suffolk Show 2013: Vegetable ‘show man’ hangs up his trowel

Arthur Davies showing Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, one of his displays of vegetables

Arthur Davies showing Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, one of his displays of vegetables - Credit: Archant

A talented vegetable grower is set to stage his last produce display at this year’s Suffolk Show on May 29 to 30.

Ipswich seed firm Thompson & Morgan’s vegetable ‘show man’, Arthur Davies, is hanging up his trowel for good at the end of this show season.

After over four decades of growing and exhibiting vegetables, during which he has won 164 gold medals, Arthur has decided to retire.

Arthur’s career as an expert vegetable grower began 42 years ago when he was challenged by TV gardener Percy Thrower to exhibit his vegetables with the professional growers at the Shrewsbury Show.

The TV star spotted Arthur’s talent in the amateur section and encouraged him to ‘have a go’ in the professional tent. He scooped a gold medal in the first year and went on to win the ‘Large Gold Medal’ for the next 39 years at the show.

Arthur and wife, Mary, have been exhibiting every year since then, covering five or six shows a year. They have exhibited at more than 170 shows and horticultural events around the world, once even travelling to New Zealand

Each show display involves a great deal of preparation Arthur grows over 80 varieties of vegetables himself and carefully schedules his seed sowing timetable to ensure vegetables are at their very best for exhibition at different dates in the year.

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The produce for each display is carefully lifted, cleaned and packed - a process usually taking 3 days - before being transported to the show site A setting-up time of around 15 hours follows to make sure that the display is at its best.

This year will be the last time

Arthur plans to spend time on his other pastimes, including time-keeping at major athletic events and his grandsons’ burgeoning football careers.

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