Blooming success at shows

PASSION: Growing dahlias is a labour of love for Jeanette (pictured) and John Cuthbertson, who recently returned from national events with a haul of trophies.
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Showing dahlias brought success for Jeanette and John Cuthbertson at two recent national shows.

The Hinds couple came home from the North Island national dahlia show in Palmerston North with seven trophies, and from the South Island national dahlia show at Waikouaiti with eight.

At the North Island event, the Cuthbertsons were among competitors from the Mid South Canterbury region taking out the majority of awards. Their seven trophies included for premiere miniature, decorative pom pom, and large and miniature pom poms.

At the South Island show, the Cuthbertsons had five of their blooms on the premiere top table.

Fellow Mid Cantabrians also did well, including Jackie Ryan, who placed in the open section and the arrangement category, and John Hoogweg, who placed in the intermediate section.

Jeanette and John have been growing dahlias for about 33 years.

They are committee members of the National Dahlia Society of New Zealand – Jeanette is secretary and John treasurer.

Taking blooms to shows is an intricate affair.

They took 60 to the South Island show, involving about five hours preparation. This included placing them in water containing a preservative, and packing them tightly with dacron to stop them touching against each other and prevent bruising.

There was also care involved in growing the perennial plant, famed for its diverse and colourful flowers.

‘‘Do they what,’’ was how Jeanette described the time involved in taking care of them.

‘‘It will take us most of the day to dead head the dahlias, and then take the trailer load of rubbish away,’’ she said.

However, it was work Jeanette found relaxing.

‘‘We take care of them and show them because we enjoy doing it,’’ Jeanette said.

The couple have another show coming up this weekend, but it is a lot closer to home.

The Ashburton Dahlia show is on this Sunday at the Tinwald War Memorial Hall, Graham St. The public will be able to view the entries from 1pm to 4pm, entry is free.