Members of society show off their prickly passion

Pam Hamilton with her Echivaria Cristate winner of the Cristate class''(180386-224)
Pam Hamilton with her Echivaria Cristate winner of the Cristate class''(180386-224)

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GENERATIONS of plant-lovers showed age doesn’t matter at a summer show.

The Portsmouth and District branch of the British Cactus and Succulent Society held their annual show with members old and new displaying their collections in a bid for a trophy.

Judge Gareth Darbon with Bailey Hamilton who is the youngest member of the branch holding her winning specimens Mammillaria and Espostoa' (180386-209)

Judge Gareth Darbon with Bailey Hamilton who is the youngest member of the branch holding her winning specimens Mammillaria and Espostoa' (180386-209)

For 12-year-old Bailey Hamilton this is her first show.

The youngster from Portsmouth said: ‘My mum has a greenhouse so I wanted to grow something in it and I really like watching the cactuses grow bigger.’

Show secretary Maggie Maddock spoke about getting younger members involved in the pastime.

The 64-year-old said: ‘Like many other hobbies getting young people involved in them is hard because they are interested in their technology.

‘But I think it is a great hobby for children as when you get that first flower there is such a sense of achievement.’

Maggie has been growing cactuses for decades and is a self-professed ‘cactophile’ winning awards at the show for plants which she started 40 years ago.

She said: ‘I was given one by a dear friend about 30 years ago and he had already had it 10 or 15 years so it must be at least 40 now and it serves as a reminder of him now that he has passed away.

‘I think it is amazing how long they can last and it is amazing to see them flower differently each year.’

The competition, held at Christ Church Hall, Waterlooville, saw 435 entries over 92 categories.

Chris Anderson joined the society in 1968 but was interested in the exotic plants since her childhood.

The 77-year-old said: ‘I was a little girl when an old lady gave me a cactus from her collection and I left it in my dad’s shed.

‘One day I went back and there was a beautiful flower and from then I have loved it.’