Dahlia devotees show their blooms

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Southland Dahlia Circle convener Walter Jack sits among the blooms at the South Island National Dahlia Show in Invercargill on Sunday.

OVERWHELMING colour and perfume hit the senses of those attending this year’s South Island National Dahlia Show held in Invercargill last weekend.

More than 700 vases of dahlias were submitted in the event, hosted by the Southland Dahlia Circle.

The floral colours and scents filled the air as people wandered around the hall.

The event had not been held in Invercargill since 1985 and convener Walter Jack was happy to see it back.

He said there were two national shows a year because of the impact of travel on the flowers.

Even so, people had come from as far away as Nelson to enter their best blooms.

Mr Jack had been growing dahlias for nearly 50 years, and he and his wife Kit’s entry did well.

Their large semi-cactus Light Accord dahlia claimed runner-up vase of the show and won champion bloom.

Overall, he said the event went brilliantly.

“Really good. There are good-quality blooms and plenty of them.”

Of dahlias, he called them a man’s flower with about 80% of growers he’d seen being men.

“Most men dodge flowers but, with dahlias, a lot of men get caught up with dahlias.”

Reasonably easy to grow, the difficulty lay in getting them up to show standard, he said.

“You’ve got to put a lot of time and effort into it,” he said.

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