Show Reports

Annual Show, August 27, 2023

On Sunday the 27th August, Essex Dahlia Society held the 55th annual show.

As usual the weather played its part in the season, we have not had a really cold December for many years and this down in the south caught many growers out and lost tubers to the frost.

Never the less everybody got their heads down got stuck in and produced  what they could, not everyone getting what they wanted, and having to change what they were preparing to grow.

The weather through the summer was a bit up and down two or three days really hot then turning quite a bit cooler. There was also quite a lot of rain at times, but a usual when it came to show time everybody got some good blooms on the show bench.

There were eighteen exhibitors on the day, and nice to see some new faces, Dai Lewis being one of them who went on to win the Novice and Intermediate Championships.

The man who stole the show by far and outclassed everybody else was Dave Gillam. Dave won the Essex Championship, The Writtle University Sheild, The N D S silver medal for best exhibit in show, the N D S bronze medal for second best exhibit in show along with nine other cup classes and the Banksian medal for the most prize money won in show.

Dave Spencer was runner up in the Essex Champion and also in the Writtle University Sheild.

Malcolm Deakin was third place in the Essex Championship, nice to see Malcolm getting placed in the Championship.

Robin Moyser won the John Wills trophy for the Members class, and also picked up the best vase in the Members class.

Chris Whiting won The Melmar trophy.

Alan Taylor won the Essex Challenge Cup.

Alan Ripley won the Scimitar Challenge Cup.

Gerald Vale won the Chelmsford C & D Challenge Cup.

John Cullen won the Phillip Osang Memorial Cup.

Dave Spencer won the Presidents Tankard and the Jack Kinns Memorial trophy.

So, I think a very good show all round also enjoyed by the public, thanks everyone on the day to make this a successful show.

Dai Lewis winner of Intermediate and Novice Championship.

Annual Show, August 28, 2022

Our 54th annual show was held on the 28th August in the Northumberland building at Writtle University College Chelmsford.

After such a challenging year, by far the worst in a long long time for growing dahlias, with such extreme temperatures and the lack of rainfall.

Despite all of this and many discussions with other growers about how early and how small blooms were.

What a fantastic show it turned out to be, whilst number of vases were down on previous years the quality was exceptional.

The results were as follows:-

The winner of the Essex Dahlia Society championship was Dave Spencer

Winner of the Writtle University shield Dave Spencer

Winner of the Essex Perpetual Challenge cup was Chris Whiting

Winner of the Graham Chester Memorial Trophy was Robin Moyser

Winner of the Simpet challenge cup was Dave Gillam

Winner of the Chelmsford C&D Avenue cup was Alan Taylor

Winner of the Great Waltham challenge cup was Robin Moyser

Winner of the Presidents Tankard was Robin Moyser

Winner of the Committee Challenge cup was David Blain

Winner of the Asquith Salva was Dave Spencer

Winner of the Alo trophy was Dave Spencer

Winner of the Jack King’s trophy was John Cullen

Winner of the Melmar trophy was Chris Whiting

Winner of the John Wills members challenge was Matt Oliver

Winner of the Peter Cleaver tankard Was Dave Gillam

Winner of the Jack Kinns memorial trophy was Robin Moyser

Winner of the Philip Osang memorial trophy was Robin Moyser

Winner of the Terry Gillam memorial vase was Robin Moyser

Winner of the Best Single Bloom was David Blain

Winner of the Bronze Best Vase in members was Matt Oliver

Winner of the Bronze Second-Best was Dave Gillam

Winner of the Silver Medal best exhibit and Show went to Dave Spencer

Annual Show, August 29, 2021

Once again, the weather played its part during the growing season, having had two really hot years one after the other we thought this year was going to be better, as it started off a bit cooler. That was not the case everyone was planting out at the end of May and all was looking good. However, the weather changed it got a lot cooler and started to rain continually.

The rain would just not let up, I lost over 150 plants to root rot I was not the only one to suffer as I know Dave Spencer was in the similar situation. We were both replanting and simultaneously losing them as well.

We had to persevere with what we could get from the replacement plants. Dave Spencer was right when he said they would be too late. I never cut a single bloom from any of them.

Finally, the rain eased, the weather warmed up and we saw a bit of sunshine, everything stared to come early.

Nevertheless the show went ahead. We had 18 competitors and 200 vases put up on the day.  It was nice to see several new faces; some of them had winning vases.

We look forward to seeing you all again next year.

Paul Schramm

… and the winners

Chris Whiting winner of the Essex championship with Kenora Challenger, White Vals Candy, Lemon Elegance and Polventon Kristobel. Chris also won The Askwith Perpetual Salver, The Medec Perpetual Challenge Cup, The Melmar Trophy, The Phillip Osang Memorial Trophy and The NDS Bronze Medal for second best exhibit in show.

Dave Spencer winner of the Writtle University shield. Dave also won The Scimitar Perpetual Challenge Cup, The Great Waltham Perpetual Challenge Cup, The Presidents Perpetual Tankard, The Committee Perpetual Challenge Cup and The RHS Banksian Medal.

Gerald Vale winner of the Essex challenge cup.

Malcolm Deakin winner of the Alo trophy.

Matthew Oliver winner of the intermediate championship.

Dave Spencer winner of the Writtle University shield. Dave also won The RHS Banksian Medal.

Other winners were

Paul Schramm – The Graham Chester Memorial Trophy

Dave Gillam – The Simpet Perpetual Challenge Cup, The Chelmsford C&D Avenue Cup, The Peter Cleaver Tankard, The Terry Gillam Memorial Vase, Best Single Bloom and The NDS Silver Medal for best exhibit in show.

John Cullen – The Jack Kinns Trophy and The Jack Kinns Memorial Trophy.

Alan Taylor – The Members Challenge Trophy and The NDS Bronze Medal for best vase in Members.

Dan Collins – The Novice Challenge Cup and The Novice Challenge Cup.

Thank you all for your support for the society through these challenging times.

Annual Show, August 30, 2020

What a challenging year we are having! Everyone got off to a good start in the New

Year, but then round the corner came Covid, and nobody knew really what was going to happen. It all came to light fairly quickly and it affected everyone with the lockdown and is affecting most of the country All our Dahlia shows were being cancelled and it looked as though there would be no more shows in 2020. At Essex, having already cancelled our early plant sale, all we could do was sit back and wait to see what happened and as we went into the summer everything started to improve with people going back to work, shops opening and life started to look a little better. Many dahlia growers had opted out of growing this year but there were still several around who chose to grow regardless.

As the summer progressed and we got closer to August, we had always planned to hold a show if possible with a couple of options of places to hold the show on the table. Fortunately Writtle College were able to allow us to host the event there as per the last couple of years so we seized the opportunity to go for the Main show there, which we held on Sunday, August 30.

It took quite a lot of re-organising but it wasn’t a major problem. We had a one-way system throughout the hall for exhibitors and spectators, enabling us all to maintain the 2 m distance, which worked very well. Unfortunately, we couldn’t provide the traditional buffet lunch for the judges and competitors but we did manage to secure packed lunches in pre-packed bags for everyone, which was very much appreciated.

The show was very well supported, unfortunately some of our regular members chose not to show this year, for health reasons, but there were several new faces travelling from far away. Robin Moyser travelled from Maidstone, Kent he came up on the Saturday to do some of his staging went home got more blooms and came back the next morning to stage the rest. Robin also went on to win the main championship, so it was well worth his effort and what a stunning display using his own sport Tracy Diane.

Another competitor travelled from overseas, a good friend Darren Everest who came from the Isle of Wight. Darren travelled up on the Saturday and staged Saturday afternoon and evening. I’m not sure but I think Darren slept in his van once he had got all the dahlias out, and continued to stage on Sunday morning. Darren always puts in 100%.

In addition to the familiar faces that we look forward to seeing every year, it’s nice to see a few new faces just starting out in the world of dahlia showing, and they all put on a good display. I’m sure they all learn a lot on the day and we look forward to seeing them in the future and wish them well with the showing for next year.

Overall an excellent display of around 240 vases were put up on the show bench by 15 competitors. Well done to you all and thank you.

… and the winners

Class A, the Essex Dahlia Society championship, winner Robin Moyser with

  • Three White Vals Candy
  • Five Mary’s Jomanda
  • Five Tracy Diane
  • Five Oakwood Goldcrest

Tracy Diane being Robin’s own sport of Winholme Diane which is going to be in great demand this year; a very stunning bloom.

Class B the Writtle University shield winner Chris Whiting

  • Three Fairways Spur
  • Five Mary’s Jomanda
  • Five Lemon Elegance

Darren Everest winner the Floral Basket class with a brilliant exhibit

Dave Gillam with his winning six exhibits in the Giant Class

John Carter with his three vases of winning collarette

Alan Ripley winner of class three the Scimitar Perpetual Challenge cup with three vases of three Grenadier Pastel

Dave Spencer with his winning vase of Winholme Diane which won him best vase of small decorative blooms in show
Dave was also awarded the NDS Silver Medal for best vase in show

Gerald Vale with his winning vase of poms

Paul Schramm with his winning exhibit two vases of three, one of which went on to win best vase of large semi-cactus In show

Winner of the members challenge was John Cullen with Dave’s Choice Lemon Elegance and Tracy Diane

Winner of the novice class, Lindsey Bain with Mary’s Jomanda

Winner of the intermediate challenge was Matthew Oliver with his Hillcrest Candy
Matthew’s exhibit also won the bronze medal for Best Exhibit in the intermediate class

Late Mini Show, September 12, 2019

With twice as many exhibits as our earlier mini show, the late mini show attracted a large number of exhibitors and visitors alike.

Dave Spencer won the Silver Medal for Best Vase in Show, and the Bronze Medal for Best Single Vase in Show.

The Jane Lydford Memorial Trophy, for the greatest number of first prizes in both mini shows, was presented to John Sharp.

Raymond Duffy won the Two Vase Challenge.

Annual Show, August 29, 2019

Our 51st  annual show welcomed new and old exhibitors, with a grand display of 250 exhibits. Despite the continued dry summer, our exhibitors produced some wonderful blooms, which adorned the show.

In recognition of their considerable contributions to Essex Dhalia Society, spanning many years, an NDS Silver Medal was presented to Margaret and John Wills

There were two championship classes on the day, one four vase class, and one three vase class.

The Class A Essex Dahlia Society Championship  was won by Dave Gilliam with

White Hillcrest Candy
Mary’s Jomanda
3 x Ryecroft Misty, 2 x Marston Suzanne
Gurtla Twilight

Second place went to Dave Spencer, who also won Best Vase in Show

Third place went to John Cullen

The Writtle University Shield was won by Malcolm Deacon with

Mary’s Jomanda
Oakwood goldcrest
Ruskin Diane

Second place went to Paul Schramm with

Mary’s Jomanda
Oakwood Goldcrest
Hamari Accord


Gerald Vale received the NDS Bronze Medal for Best Single Bloom in Show.

There were no entries for the Novice Class.

The Intermediate Class was won by Gerald Vale.

Members Class and Best Vase Members were won by John Cullen.

The Melmar Trophy was won by John Willet.

Our thanks to all the exhibitors, visitors and guest, many of whom would have travelled a long distance.

Early Mini Show, August 22, 2019

Following the dry, hot summer of 2018, 2019 looked liked being very much the same. This gave some growers problems getting their blooms ready in time for the show. It was therefore extremely pleasing to receive 86 exhibits from 7 exhibitors.

The Two Vase Challenge was won by John Cullen,

with John Sharp winning the bronze medal for Best Vase in Show, and the Best Single Bloom in Show.


Essex Young Farmers’ Show, May 19, 2019.

Essex Dahlia Society’s stand at the Essex Young Farmers’ Show attracted several visitors. We would like to thank those people who visited us and bought plants from our considerable selection, and those who provided the plants and helped out on the day.

Second Evening Mini Show, September 15, 2018.

To end this anniversary season, Essex Dahlia Society held their second evening show on Saturday September 15, and what a show it was. Everybody had plenty of blooms, and people come from far afield with 205 vases in show. It was a spectacular evening and probably one of the best evening shows Essex Dahlia Society has seen for many years. Dave Spencer, once again, won Best Vase in Show with his Polventon Kristobel and collected another NDS Silver Medal.

The NDS Bronze Medal was awarded to Kevin Moores with his vase of Jomanda. Kevin also went home with a bottle of wine for Best Single Bloom in show, Kenora challenger.

An excellent turnout considering that we had one of the hottest summers since 1976.

Thank you to all exhibitors, visitors and guests who came to see the exhibits.

Very special thanks to Alan Taylor, who generously contributed all the prize money for the main championship classes, and to John Cullen and Paul Schramm, for providing the trophies to pass to our worthy winners.

We look forward to seeing you all again next year, and I’m sure you’re already planning what to grow, and what not to grow, in your plots.

50th Anniversary Show, Saturday, August 26, 2018.

On Sunday, August 26, Essex Dahlia Society held their 50th anniversary show  at  Writtle College, Chelmsford. There was a fantastic turnout of exhibitors with nearly 220 vases being shown.

There were two championship classes on the day, one four vase class, and one three vase class.

The four vase A class was won by John Cullen with

Hamari accord
Daves choice
Polventon Kristobel
Ryecroft Zoe

Second place went to Dave Spencer with

Kenora challenger
Polventon Kristobel
Rycroft raven
Gurtla twilight

Third place went to Alan Taylor with

Rycroft Helen
Sherval megan
Polventon Kristobel
Ryecroft Bella

The three vase B class was won by Paul Schramm with

Hamari accord
Oakwood goldcrest
Mary’s Jomanda

Second place went to Alan Ripley with

Avoca Amanda
Grenidor pastell

Third place went to Malcolm Deakin with

Hamari accord
Oakwood goldcrest
Mary’s jomanda


Dave Spencer went on to win Best Vase in Show and picked up the NDS Silver Medal.

Paul Schramm received the NDS Bronze Medal for Best Single Bloom in show.

The Novice Class was shared by William Witney and Chris Whiting.

The Intermediate Class was won by William Witney.

It was nice to see Chris Whiting back at the show bench after an 18 year absence from showing; well done, Chris.

Our thanks to all the exhibitors, many of whom would have travelled a long distance.

Our thanks also go to all the visitors and guests who turned out on a horrible wet Sunday afternoon to view a beautiful display.

First Evening Mini Show,  Saturday, August 18, 2018.

On Saturday, August 18, Essex Dahlia Society staged the first evening Mini Show. Owing to the very hot weather that we had been having prior to the event, many growers, who had been trying to time their blooms for the day, struggled as the weather took a turn and cooled down a little. Most of us were a bit short of blooms on the day, but nevertheless there was a good show and Alan Ripley topped the show with some stunning Avoca Amanda which won him the NDS Silver Medal for Best in Show.

Paul Schramm