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Page last updated at 09:50 GMT, Tuesday, 10 August 2010 10:50 UK
Dorchester cactus grower goes for 17th gold
David Ennals' award winning cacti
David is hoping to defend his trophy at the Dorset County Show

A Dorset cactus enthusiast is hoping his plants will win top prize at the Dorset County Show in Dorchester for the 17th year in a row.

David Ennals, 56, of Toller Porcorum, Dorchester, has been exhibiting cacti and flowers at the event and accumulating accolades since 1994.

For the past two years his displays have won the Townsend Perpetual Cup in the open horticultural display section.

Each of his exhibits is made up of 80 or 90 cacti.

'Way of life'

Mr Ennals, who has been interested in cacti since the age of 12, said: "I grow the plants and my wife Jane does the arranging - it's a bit like flower arranging, only spikier.

"I have always had a passion for cacti but got more seriously into it when the children left home."

Mr Ennals added: "It can take five years to grow a cactus to show standard."

His plants live in a greenhouse and in his conservatory, and grow at different rates.

He has tended some of the cacti for 15 or 20 years and some of them grow up to 6ft (1.8m) high.

Edible fruits

Mr Ennals said: '"It is a way of life. My fascination stems from growing the cacti from seeds and seeing them grow into mature plants, with the shape of the spines and the arrangement of its flowers.

"You can eat some cactus fruits - I nibble away at them, but am careful not to eat the seeds, which can be sown into more plants.

"I only do it for the love of the hobby. It's not about winning prizes, but it does give you a lift to see the reaction of people when they see the display.

"This year I will be coming back to see if I can defend my trophy - it would be nice to see if I can do it 17 years in a row.

"But I'm not sure how I would rate my chances, it's been a bitterly cold winter and cacti don't like the frost."

Mr Ennals is a member of the British Cactus & Succulent Society and also on the Dorset County Show's horticulture committee.

The Dorset County Show will be held at Dorchester Showground on Saturday 4 and Sunday 5 September.

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