Flourishing daffodils’ family history shared

Weatherstons Brewery owner and Daffodils Trust spokesman Ben Hart enjoys some early spring blooms...
Weatherstons Brewery owner and Daffodils Trust spokesman Ben Hart enjoys some early spring blooms in advance of the Lawrence attraction’s season opening on Saturday. PHOTO: RICHARD DAVISON
Lawrence man Ben Hart is looking forward to sharing a special piece of family history with the public once more this weekend.

Mr Hart owns the town’s former Hart’s Black Horse Brewery site, and helps oversee its several thousand flourishing daffodils — open to view for the spring season from Saturday.

Christened in honour of great-grandfather and attraction founder Ben Hart, Mr Hart said the picturesque site never failed to stir him.

"I’m sure it’s the same for a lot of our regular visitors, but with the family connection, and just the unique nature of the brewery and surrounds, I always get a special feeling when I come here."

He was optimistic it would be a good year for the flowers.

"Those who know have said the site’s combination of good drainage, natural springs and regular frosts are ideal for daffodils.

"It’s already looking to be a good show this year."

By the time of its 1920s heyday, the 4ha of wooded dell and neighbouring paddocks contained more than twomillion bulbs of 50 varieties, some of them specially imported from the Netherlands.

From 1912, local children would pick the blooms to be sold for charitable causes such as Plunket, launching the tradition of Daffodil Day, Mr Hart said.

For those not transported by things floral, the early site also held other intoxicating attractions — since sadly lapsed, he said.

"My forebear ran the brewery from 1884 to 1923, and made a range of stouts and IPAs.

"If you look carefully when summer comes, you can still see hops growing round the place."

The attraction is open 10am to 4pm from Friday to Sunday until October 18, and Thursday to Sunday during school holidays.

Historic tours take place every Saturday at 2pm, and a small site entry fee applies.

richard.davison@odt.co.nz


 

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