Dahlia’s are a much-admired flower and there will be plenty of them to enjoy at the South Island National Dahlia Show at the Southland Indoor Bowls Centre in Onslow Street Invercargill this weekend.
The show will feature between 500-600 vases of dahlias which equates to over 1000 blooms and the public can come and enjoy the quality of the exhibits for just a gold coin entry on Saturday 20 February between 12pm and 5pm and then on the following day, Sunday 21 February, from 9am until 4pm.
The show will also celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the Southland Dahlia Circle and in that time Southland exhibitors have consistently taken out top awards at South Island Nationals and the hope is they will do so again. Southland growers are ready for the first national Dahlia Show on home soil since 1985 with competition from as far away as Nelson and Blenheim.
In the Open Section, Otatara grower Judy Laurie often wins major awards and she credits Southland Dahlia Circle mainstays Walter and Kit Jack for a lot of her success. “We all benefit from their knowledge. It’s wonderful, it is why we all do so well. They bend over backwards to pass on what they know.” Laurie says it has been a challenging season for growing with some terrible weather at times hampering preparation for the show.
Steve and Christine Langley of Myross Bush have had their share of success over the years but Christine says “even after 10 or 12 years we are always learning.” “You never stop learning. We enjoy showing, everyone is so helpful. If you have a problem people will tell you what they know, there are no secrets. After our first show we were really hooked, the camaraderie is great. We can be really competitive but still have a good time with the other people.” Like so many others it was Walter and Kit Jack, who the Langley’s met through indoor bowls, that coaxed them into having a go. “We were just garden growers. Walter told us we had done well initially and that our flowers were good but over next few years we would need exhibition flowers. We got rid of all our existing flowers except the Pooh variety which was a favourite of our son.
Anne Brown of Fairfax got involved through a friend who was involved. ”I went along and helped with a show. She wanted help and suggested that I put in a flower. That was about sixteen years ago and I am still here but she has moved on to other things. I enjoy it. There are good people in the circle and they help with any questions.” While she has won ribbons and trophies the highlight for Brown is meeting different people. “I’m looking forward to the Nationals but this year the weather has not been conducive but what will be will be,” she says. “Winning is not everything.” Husband Colin comes along as he too enjoys the people side of it all but he doesn’t help with the flowers.”
Intermediate exhibitors Mairi and Geoff Revitt fit a busy schedule around their exhibiting. “The changeable weather has been a problem with the wind causing a lot of broken plants,” says Geoff. The Revitt’s say it is not too hard staking and pruning plants but when it comes to exhibiting it is a challenge to get ready due to their work commitments.
While many credit Walter and Kit Jack for their influence the couple are extremely modest about their own achievements, Walter merely saying they are “looking forward to the weekend.”
The weekend will also feature some easy to enter Special Classes for the home gardener with some great prizes to be won. There is plenty of assistance and advice on this which can be obtained by phoning Kit Jack – 03 217 3949.
There will also be a good number of garden related stalls for the public to peruse including Hostas from Timaru.
Entry to the show will be a gold coin donation while admission for children is free.