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After 20 years at Forbury Park, the Dunedin Horticultural Society has made a move and this weekend’s show will be held at the St Kilda Bowling Club.
The change of venue was dictated by the discovery of a major leak in "the dungeon", the downstairs venue at Forbury Park, which then was closed.
The news was given to the DHS just before Christmas and president Stuart Brown admits it was a bit of a scramble to find somewhere suitable in time for the society’s summer show.
Running parallel to the DHS event is the Dunedin Dahlia Circle’s annual show.
Judging is a team affair, with Stuart’s wife, Lesley, one of the local judges, as is the circle’s president Wayne Judd.
Because Stuart and Lesley will be entering some of their own extensive collection of dahlias, she will not be able to judge in some classes.
Out-of-town judges are John Cuthbertson, of Hinds, and Garfield Andrew, of Timaru.
"John and Garfield are great dahlia growers and it’s good to have them down here," Stuart said.
Mr Cuthbertson also runs the New Zealand Dahlia Society’s South Island trial ground, while a North Island trial ground has been re-established at Kowhai Park in Feilding. These two locations enable new varieties, including home-bred ones, to be tested to see how well they grow here.
Those who want to try breeding their own should find it entertaining, Stuart says, as a single seed head can yield half a dozen or more different-coloured blooms.
"It’s something anyone can enter, even if they’ve only one dahlia and it’s good for some of the newer dahlia growers," he says.
There is an important difference in putting entries into the two shows: DHS entries have to be phoned in by the Wednesday before each show, tricky if an exhibitor can’t choose what will be in good shape at the weekend.
"I would like to see both groups using the same method for show entries, as I think being able to bring flowers just before a show encourages people who have not shown before," Stuart says.
"Of course, that means the DHS, as well as the Dunedin Dahlia Circle, would have to have people on hand to help newcomers stage their entries in the correct classes."
But if that is what it takes to keep the DHS vibrant, he believes that is the way forward.