The Worcester and District Chrysanthemum & Dahlia Society
CHRYSANTHEMUMS & DAHLIAS
For more than 70 years, The Worcester and District Chrysanthemum and Dahlia Society has staged amazing floral displays across Worcestershire. Only the Second World War and the more recent pandemic have prevented it from holding shows. This season they have returned and the Society’s Secretary Robin Pearce tells us more.
What is the Society’s history?
We were planning to celebrate our 70th anniversary a couple of years ago, which is when we discovered the Society was older than we thought! It dates to the years before World War Two and at its peak there were 300 members who grew and regularly displayed flowers across the county.
When I was growing up, there was an impressive two-day show at the Guildhall in Worcester every year. Members would also take their cut flowers to display at Working Men’s Clubs on Sundays, which was both popular and profitable; the patrons would buy the flowers to take home for their wives!
What does the society do today?
Whilst the Society was originally formed for exhibitors of chrysanthemums, we now hold shows for daffodils and spring flowers as well as dahlias, pot plants and vegetables.
Although many of our members are exhibitors, we also attract gardeners wishing to learn more about a wide range of plants. During the winter months we hold talks at Lower Broadheath Village Hall, visitors are always made very welcome and there is often the opportunity to buy plants.
At this year’s Worcester Show in August we sold every flower on display and met many potential new members who were interested in what we get up to. As we head into next year, we expect the re-introduction of garden visits will prove very popular.
What’s so special about growing these flowers?
Dahlias are fashionable and popular at the moment. A lot of breeding work has been going on, with varieties that are well-suited for the garden and for patio containers. They are especially good for attracting pollinators, reasonably easy to grow and very little trouble.
Chrysanthemums on the other hand have seen their popularity wane in recent times. Growing them for shows is time consuming and involves lifting the crown in the autumn before working on cuttings in a heated greenhouse over the winter. All the work you carry out is date critical, depending on when they are going to be shown.
There are two groups, the early flowering varieties and the later ones, which originated in Japan and have really large mop-heads that are grown under glass. These are usually ready in November and form the basis of our final show of the year, which we are holding on Wednesday 10th November at Laylock’s Garden Centre, just west of St Johns on the A44.
Subscription to The Worcester and District Chrysanthemum and Dahlia Society is £5 a year, you can contact the Secretary Robin Pearce on (01905) 640 977 or by email, firstname.lastname@example.org
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