Garden blogfriend Veg Plotting contacted me a while ago to say she was going to open her garden this summer for charity. No surprise there, because garden opening is a popular summer activity; our paper's own Victoria Summerley will be opening her subtropical plot in deepest Wandsworth for NGS this coming Sunday.
But then VP explained what she meant: a virtual garden opening, with all you'd expect from the real thing - recipes, plant histories, the occasional crazy visitor - but without having to leave the comfort of your own home.
Given the kind of weather we've been having I imagine that online garden visiting has been one of the more successful ventures of the summer - VP has certainly managed to raise a colossal sum of money already for her chosen charity, WaterAid, though more is always welcome. And every donor is automatically entered for a draw to win prizes! Properly good, horticulturally special prizes like signed books by Jekka McVicar and Matthew Wilson and membership of the Cottage Garden Society (Awww!).
Trying to think how I could support her efforts, I kept returning to the village shows that my sister and I adored when we were kids. The idea caught in my mind of an online village show, with visitors and entries from all round the world. We'd even include people from the Southern Hemisphere, even if they do stubbornly insist on holding winter about now.
So the Emsworth Village Show was born. We started with the normal categories you get at a fete - and then we added some others, like Best Paparazzi Shot of Garden Celebrity, Fattest Pig, and Men Only Victoria Sandwich. If you are anything like me, perusing other people's veg, chickens, pigs and misshapen carrots is a delicious task that will while away many happy hours.
Please do come and have a wander round the show. We're still accepting entries, too, so if you have a fairly hippyish non-competitive sense of wanting to show off your absolutely enormous onions, here's the place. And don't miss checking out VP's garden, - and make sure you're in with a chance for one of those excellent prizes.