Memories of a rural childhood – F is for figs and flower shows



Dad loved figs and regularly checked for ripe fruit in the trees near the house.  These figs were a small variety, pale in colour, but very tasty – quite a contrast to the also tasty but much larger, darker figs that I first met in the backyard of the house we bought from a Greek family in Coburg, and that I am fighting a losing battle for with the hungry birds in my current garden!

Flower Shows

The annual winter flower show started when I was quite young. My grandmother and I both had an entry in the first show. Soon it was a regular part of our year. At Brownies, we were shown how best to decorate saucers of sand so none of the sand was visible and instructed about the fundamentals of floral art.

Getting all the entries ready was quite a process, especially for Mum! During the day, she collected and scrubbed all of Dad’s vegetables for the Produce section, and also gathered most of the flowers, leaves, sand and vases we would need after school. It was a rush to get everything ready and in place at the local hall by the 7 pm deadline. Last minute repairs were often needed, even though the most delicate entries were cradled on our laps in the car!

I still have certificates showing that I won or came second in such sections as “Arrangement for a Dressing Table”, “As I Like It”, “Craft for Girls”, “Arrangement to Illustrate a Nursery Rhyme”, “Flat Arrangement in a Saucer of Damp Sand”, “Creature made of Horticultural Material” and even one for “Parsnips”. I think that I won “Best in Section” a couple of times but can only remember one of the prizes, a colourful book about native flowers! Dad won many prizes for “Collection of Vegetables” and lots of other certificates.


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