The National Show

This show is normally held every four years, attracting exhibitors from all over the UK. It is one of the largest exhibitions of Cacti and Succulents in Europe. It is a chance to see some amazing plants on display and the quality and variety of the exhibits is a wonderful sight.

The 2022 National Show

After years of planning and even more in waiting, the National Show 2022 was held at the on 3rd September at the George Stephenson Exhibition Hall, Newark Showground in Nottinghamshire. The National Show is normally held every four years, but the COVID pandemic prevented us from holding it in 2020, so it was with even more enthusiasm than usual and some sense of relief that we enjoyed our 2022 event.

The show overall was a great success. We estimate that around 900 people attended and we had 83 exhibitors, many of whom had not entered before and they provided just under 1100 individual exhibits – we would like to record our special thanks to all of those who brought along plants for the show, some of which we are not quite sure how!! There were 29 traders with over 200 feet of sales, as well as four specialist societies who put on displays to inform the visitors and to add interest for us to enjoy during the day. 

National Show 2022 Fig 1
The National Show 2022 Photo: David Terrett

We found that the lack of sales plants due to the absence of foreign nurseries for the first time at a National, due to changes in cross-border plant regulations, was compensated by a big effort from our UK based cactus and succulent nurseries so that there was an excellent choice of sales plants available, some of the traders attending for their first time. It was good that one seller made the effort to come from Portugal, selling novelties (not, of course, plants). We are very grateful to all the sellers who tempted us with a vast range of plants.

The show plants did not disappoint either, as expected there were slightly fewer exhibitors than in 2016, but the quality and sheer size of some of the specimens where a sight to behold.  Some monster plants needed more than one person to carry them!

Three members of the gold medal panel and 16 judges were kept on their toes as they decided which exhibits would come out on top.

National Show 2022 Fig 2
Ian Robinson and Ray Stephenson struggle to carry in a giant Eriocephala leninghausii Photo: David Terrett

Here are some highlights from the show:

The prize for best Cactus was given to Ariocarpus fissuratus exhibited by Tina Wardhaugh, who also won most points in both Cacti and Succulent sections, special congratulations to her on her feat of horticulture. Tina received the Royal Horticultural Society Banksian Medal for most points in the show.

National Show 2022 Fig 3
Best Cactus: Ariocarpus fissuratus Photo: David Terrett
National Show 2022 Fig 4
Tina receiving the RHS Banksian Medal Photo: David Bruno

Best succulent was given to Sedum frutescens (Fig 5, photo Gillian Evison) exhibited by Gillian Evison, an impeccable specimen and good to see a sedum reach the top spot.

National Show 2022 Fig 5
Best succulent: Sedum frutescens Photo: Gillian Evison
National Show 2022 Fig 6
Gillian receiving her gold medal Photo: David Bruno

We were very pleased to see Abigail Steel winning the pen and ink drawing, of Mixed cacti and succulents by Alan Rollason, for most points in the Junior Member classes (Award created in memory of Bill Keen).

National Show 2022 Fig 7
“The Little House on the Prairie” by Roy Earlé, National Award of Merit Photo: Elizabeth Maddock

We also had a new class for any number of cacti and/or succulents on a stated artistic theme, which was well-supported.  The “Little House on the Prairie” exhibited by Roy Earlé won this class and a National Award of Merit. This class certainly brought out the artistic side in the growers with some interesting takes on names of plants and books and some humorous exhibits.

Overall 8 Gold Medals and 13 Awards of Merit were awarded to outstanding exhibits.

You can see the full list of Prizewinners here (pdf).

You can see a photo gallery of the Show on FlickR here:

And here are some videos from the Show:


We hope that you have been inspired by the 2022 National Show and that you will be keen to put the date of the next one in your diaries!

The BCSS Shows Committee

Manchester Branch of the BCSS has uploaded many photographs from the National Show 2022, courtesy of Chris Leather.

Looking back at the 2016 National Show

The National Show 2016 was held at The Wood Green Animal Shelter, Godmanchester on Saturday 20th August 2016.

There were 105 exhibitors in total from all parts of the UK and three from overseas. In all, 1,350 entries were received and the standard and quality of the plants on display in general was extremely good and we are very grateful for all those exhibitors that brought the BIG BOYS for everyone to enjoy.

Photo: Gillian Evison

The new idea of allowing access to the sales area by show exhibitors on the Friday afternoon did appear to make a big difference not only were three quarters of the exhibits staged, but all but 3 of the traders were all set up well in time to offer their plants to those that were there. The Shows Committee therefore plan to continue to allow for staging of exhibits and access for traders on the day before, for the 2022 Show.

Best Succulent (Dr Gillian Evison)
Best Succulent (Dr Gillian Evison)
Best Cactus (Tony Morris)
Best Cactus (Tony Morris)


The main pictures of the event and the main prize winners appeared in the December 2016 CactusWorld.

A BIG thank you to all concerned from the exhibitors who brought wonderful plants, sponsors who supported (sponsored) the classes, traders for tempting us with lots of goodies and all the people who worked tirelessly behind the scenes. The Committee could not put on this wonderful event without you and we look forward to your continued support for forthcoming Shows.

Photo: David Terrett

List of the Results.


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