Vegetable growing is a passion for gardening enthusiast Robert
Robert McFarland, Burrendale, Enniskillen, showing his daughter Fiona Wilson, his prizewinning onions.<
A keen visitor to Fermanagh County Show and long time exhibitor at the event described this year's annual date as "one of the best shows" he can ever remember.
Robert McFarland, from Enniskillen, speaking on Tuesday night, felt it had attracted one of the biggest crowds ever.
A keen vegetable gardener, the sprightly octagenarian once again entered vegetable exhibits at this year's event and was rewarded with a number of prize-winning successes.
Robert says he enjoys growing vegetables and it was something that he became interested in through his father, Walter, who always grew vegetables.
"It's a great pastime," believes Robert, who has also got his son Walter and grandson William into vegetable growing - a passion which is crossing the generations of McFarlands.
"This season has not been as good," mentions Robert, who feels there has been "too much rain and not enough sunshine."
Working in a small plot at his home, among the vegetables he grows are onions, peas, beans, beetroot, some cabbage, early potatoes and parsley. He has started growing celery and leeks which he says are great for soup in the winter time and prove easy to grow.
Visiting Fermanagh Show proves an enjoyable outing for Robert, who was accompanied on Tuesday by his wife Jean as they admired the various exhibits in the home industries section.
"It is something I always look forward to," said Robert, who acknowledged the "wonderful display of flowers and vegetables" on show and said he never saw the like of them.
Planning to keep on growing - and showing, he feels it is lovely to have his own produce and he finds it a pleasure being able to give any surplus to family and neighbours who live close by.
"More and more people have caught on to gardening in recent years," believes Robert, who is quite happy to share his knowledge when people often stop to ask him questions.
Five Kerr's Pinks potatoes (suitable for table use): 1, J Armstrong, Maguiresbridge; 2, Dineka Maguire, Belleek; 3, Noel Coffey, Enniskillen.
Five potatoes of any other variety: 1, Angus McKee, Springfield; 2, Charles Plunkett, Lisbellaw; 3, Lady A Hamilton, Tamlaght.
Five heaviest regular-shaped potatoes, any variety: 1, J Armstrong; 2, Robert McFarland, Enniskillen.
Five Onions, grown from seed or sets: 1, Robert McFarland; 2, Dineka Maguire; 3, Cecil Chartres, Lisbellaw.
Five Shallots: 1 and 2, Cecil Chartres.
Five Radish: 1 and 2, Cecil Chartres; 3, Mrs Marleene Hurst, Brookeborough.
Three Leeks, showing at least two inches of white roots: 1 and 2, Messrs Chartres and Farrell.
One Head Cabbage (for table use), round head: 1 and 2, Cecil Chartres; 3, Noel Coffey.
One Head Cabbage (for table use), pointed: 1 and 2, Cecil Chartres; 3, Noel Coffey.
Two Heads of Cauliflower: 2, Cecil Chartres.
Two Heads Lettuce: 1 and 2, Cecil Chartres; 3, Charles Plunkett.
Three Red Carrots, stump-rooted, or semi stump rooted: 1, Cecil Chartres; 2, Angus McKee.
Three Red Carrots, long: 1, Gardening Club, Enniskillen Model PS.
Three Courgettes: 1, Cecil Chartres; 2, Gardening Club, Model PS; 3, Martha Lowry Corry, Enniskillen.
Three Parsnips: 1, Cecil Chartres; 2, Angus McKee; 3, Mrs Marlene Hurst.
Two Turnips: 1, Robert Orr, Lisbellaw.
Three Beet: 1, Cecil Chartres; 2, Robert Orr; 3, Noel Coffey.
Five pods Broad Beans: 1, Cecil Chartres; 2, Ernest Vance, Florencecourt; 3, Robert McFarland.
Five Pods of Runner Beans: 1, Charles Plunkett; 2 and 3, Cecil Chartres.
Five Pods of Dwarf French Beans: 1, Charles Plunkett.
Ten Pods Peas: 1, J Armstrong; 2, Cecil Chartres; 3, Raymond Bell.
One Vegetable Marrow for table use: 1 and 2, Cecil Chartres.
One Vegetable Marrow, largest and heaviest: 1, Raymond Bell; 2 and 3, Enniskillen.
Parsley, 5 stems: 1 and 2, Cecil Chartres; 3, Miss Hannah Baxter, Ballinamallard.
Collection of Vegetables arranged to effect: 1, Noel Coffey; 2 and 3, Cecil Chartres.
Collection of Herbs shown in separate containers: 1, Lady A Hamilton; 2, Raymond Bell.
JUNIOR VEGETABLE SECTION
Confined to Exhibitors under 14 years of age.)
Collection of three vegetables: 1, David and Jane Stinson, Springfield; 2, Megan Morrow; 3, Jack Armstrong, Kesh.
Five Onions, grown from seed or sets; 1, Megan Morrow; 2, Brooke Morrow, Ballinamallard; 3, David and Jane Stinson.
This article appeared in Impartial Reporter 09 Aug 12