EVERYTHING came up roses, or rather pelargoniums, for local gardener Pam Thompson at Malvern Autumn Show, because the former West Mercia police officer won four first prizes at her very first competitive event.

“I knew I would be up against many more talented amateurs and professionals from all over the country,” she said. "I even questioned my sanity and now I am in complete shock.”

Mrs Thompson, who is a former motorway patrol officer, and lives at Wichenford with husband Alistair, opens their quirky cottage garden every year under the National Gardens Scheme and also takes part in the Gardens of Wichenford event, which has raised many thousands of pounds for charity.

 “But I had never done anything like this before,” she added. “And as if that wasn’t daunting enough, we had the problem of transporting an extremely fragile and delicate four foot trailing plant on a stand to the show. Luckily, our friend and local horticulturist Chris Pugh was quite adamant it had to go. ‘Even if I nurse it every step of the way myself,’ he said. ‘It has to enter.’

“The plant in question was an unusual and historic French trailing Pelargonium l’Elegance bred in the 1800s and true to his word Chris held it carefully for the entire length of the 15-mile journey. I thought in for a penny, in for a pound and so I decided to enter three other classes as well. What I never imagined in my wildest of wild dreams was winning four first prizes. 

“Walking into the show tent with row upon row of expertly exhibited entries, I saw plant perfection everywhere I looked. Then as I neared my own exhibits, I saw first one first prize card then another and another and YET another.  In total four much coveted first prize cards in glittering red and gold had been placed beneath my own entries. It was definitely cause for celebration and time to open a bottle of something special.”