Distance no problem for dahlia lover

Attending the South Island National Dahlia Show in Waikouaiti on Saturday was Anne Kenney, who...
Attending the South Island National Dahlia Show in Waikouaiti on Saturday was Anne Kenney, who came from Vancouver Island. PHOTO: GREGOR RICHARDSON
Dahlias are certainly back on the hot list of flowers, and one floral enthusiast is celebrating the many-petalled bloom by travelling across the world to enjoy some Otago specimens.

Entrants in the South Island National Dahlia Show, held at the East Otago Events Centre in Waikouaiti over the weekend, came from Rotorua, Blenheim, Invercargill and Christchurch for the show — but it is likely none travelled quite as far as dahlia fan Anne Kenney, who came all the way from Canada.

The Vancouver Island resident said she visited New Zealand regularly to attend dahlia shows.

She started visiting the country more than a decade ago, while her daughter was on a job exchange in Wellington.

During her second visit she developed a liking for dahlia flowers and decided to start attending national shows.

"I love coming to the shows, if I’m coming to New Zealand, I’ll book it around the shows," she said.

One of the event organisers even found a photo from their last East Otago show nine years ago, in which Ms Kenney was featured.

"I just love to come in and see people I have met previously.

"The dahlia community is a very welcoming, friendly community — we all have this love of dahlias."

She said the warmth during this time of the year was a "part of the attraction".

"Vancouver Island, where I am, the climate is actually very similar to here."

She hoped to continue returning to New Zealand for the show for many more years to come.

President of the Dunedin Dahlia Circle Wayne Burgess was awarded first place in the show. Each of his flowers were selected for the finalist table which was a first for the annual show.

The National Dahlia Society event was hosted by the Dunedin Dahlia Circle and the Waikouaiti Garden Club.

Society president Stuart Brown said he was surprised by the number of entrants, especially due to the weather which had not been ideal for the flowers.

"The weather has been just really difficult this year for dahlia flowers."

The show featured summer flowers including roses, gladioli, and plants such as shrubs, bonsai, fruit and vegetables and preserves.

There was also sale tables of raffles and Alan Brown’s daffodil bulbs.