History of the Auricula Society

wet  John Cattle with trophies he has won for growing alpine plants.  (120706M10)
wet John Cattle with trophies he has won for growing alpine plants. (120706M10)

A TADCASTER man has scooped top prizes for his awarding-winning alpine plants at four major flower shows across the country.

John Cattle, 64, a retired joiner, was awarded the prizes for his plants at shows held in Great Buckingham, Newbottle, Birmingham and Cheadle in spring this year.

John, who has been growing alpine plants for more than 20 years and is a member of the The National Auricula and Primula Society, said he was delighted to win 12 trophies in total.

He told the News: “I am chuffed, I have had a cracking year.

“My aim was to win in all four and I have now.

“I compete most years but this is the first time I have won them all.”

John believes one of the reasons why he grabbed the top prizes is the amount of the time he puts into presenting the flowers, which he grows in his back garden, storing the plants in a greenhouse in the summer and a cold frame in winter. “Some people do not put much time into the presentation.

“I spend a lot of time going over presentation of the flowers which is one of the reasons I think I have done so well,” he said.

“It is an all year round job looking after the plants and they need looking after every day.”

Alpine plants, which come in two different varieties - light centred or gold centred - traditionally flower in spring each year.

They are part of the Genus Primula species of plants, which have more than 425 species that have been around since the middle of the sixteenth century.

John, who lives with his wife, Jen, and has two children, said he has always had an interest in gardening since he was a child.

He told the News: “When I was younger, in those days, we had to grow stuff to eat, so I was interested in it then, but I got back interested in it after I got married.”

“I enjoy growing the plants, but decided to grown Auricula as I wanted to compete with some of the top plant growers in the country.”

John said his family and friends were delighted with his string of medals and trophies.

He said: “My family and friends are all pleased for me, but my wife thinks I am a bit barmy for going down and looking after them all the time.”

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