Tuesday, March 3, 2015

More flowers from the Dahlia Show, Real and ... Yummy!

Another couple of weeks slipped past since my brief post about the NZ South Island Dahlia Show that was held here in Waikouaiti, and I have been meaning to put these photos on the blog ever since, but have been busy every day and too tired in the evenings to do anything much with the blog!

I know nothing about Dahlias, but it was fun spending a weekend in a hall with hundreds of them, and meeting some of the people that are enthusiastic enough about flowers to drive for hours to compete in shows such as this. It was a difficult summer to grow flowers for competitions; plants are living things and like to obey the signals that Nature sends them, this year the weather was telling them to grow fast and flower early!

Not only had the Dahlia growers to contend with the challenges that the weather brought when the flowers were out in the garden, but also the realities of transporting flowers for several hours in the back of a hot car!

Laura occasionally arranges flowers for church. This involves an early start whilst the air is still chilly, and dew clings to the plants in the garden. Laura spends a couple of hours of picking flowers and worrying them into little arrangements in jars of water on the kitchen table. It is a tense time that gets worse, because it is my task to drive these things up to the church without spilling water, snapping fragile stems, or dropping petals! In the days when we had a very small car with a low roof, this was a hellish journey, the flowers would hit the ceiling, get stuck between seats, and roses would try to tear at my arms and head... the road always developed undulations, potholes, and suspension jarring fissures that were worthy of an African Safari film with Jeeps and Land Rovers driven by heat crazed actors in sweat stained safari jackets! "I say old man, isn't that Elephant dung?" ... "Damn these flies..., I hear a lion out there somewhere...."
I digress...

Anyway, the 5 minute hell of transporting Laura's flowers to church, is nothing compared to that which the hardy souls taking part in the Dahlia show must have endured whilst driving from all corners of the South Island with a car load of flowers to get to the show. Many should now be in therapy for post traumatic flower show disorder!

Here are a few more flowers for you to look at. The first three interest me because they are like variations on a theme. They all were a similar size, and probably had much the same number of petals, but they achieved something different with what they had. I think potters often work like this, for example, we might make a dozen mugs or vases, each one from the same weight of clay, and each about the same height and diameter, but there may be a subtle or playful exploration of form that makes these related objects products of intelligent design rather than mindless repetition!

There were some flower arrangements in the hall, and our friend Rhonda took some photos of them and kindly let me use them here.

Photo by Rhonda
Photo by Rhonda

Photo by Rhonda

The weekend was quite successful for me, in that I was able to introduce more people to my work, and encourage them to call into our gallery in the Old Post Office at Waikouaiti. I sold a few things on the Saturday, but Sunday seemed like it would pass with nothing sold at all, but...., just when I was starting to pack up at the close of the day, one of the larger crystalline vases sold to a really nice person from Blenheim who had taken part in the dahlia show.

Yes, that's me! Photo by Rhonda.

The stall next to me on Sunday was run by a really charming family from Queenstown that travelled over for the day. I enjoyed their company very much and we were able to encourage each other through the "slow" parts of the day! They were trying to sell really beautiful edible flowers that were made from gelatine. The flowers looked really lovely and would add a real touch of magic to a table setting for a birthday party or a romantic table for two!

If you are not too far from Queenstown and want something for a birthday party or some other special occasion then visit The Jello Effect Facebook page, and these good people may be able to help you!

A Jelly/Jell-O edible flower! Photo by Rhonda
Here is another edible flower!! Photo by Rhonda

Flower shows are wonderful occasions, with all the colour and beauty, but it is gone in a few minutes at the end of the final day when tables are cleared and taken down, and weary flowers that travelled so far and held their heads up so bravely for the whole weekend, are thrown into the skip.

The flowers in the garden may not always be as perfect as the ones in shows, but they can sing a joyful song to the sun, and dance to the music of the wind, and can nourish the bees with their sweetness!

Photo by Rhonda.


Linda Starr said...

congrats on all the sales of your work, love the arrangements and those jello edible flowers look wonderful. I like jello but don't make it very often any longer. My old standby used to be lime jello with shredded carrots inside, of course not as beautiful as the ones you've shown here.

cookingwithgas said...

those flowers are so gorgeous! A real feast for the eye.
No better way to show them off then a nice hand made vase.

Arkansas Patti said...

I never met a Dahlia till I moved here. They really are exquisite flowers. Maybe someday I'll try to grow some. Those jello edible flowers were amazing.
Congrats on your sales. Vases and flower shows do go together.

Peter said...

Hi Linda,
Jello with shredded carrot still appears from time to time at village shared lunches, and I always like it, although I have never made it. I had jello with beetroot on a couple of occasions too, the first time really took me by surprise, but once I had overcome my "this is weird" reaction from seeing whole small beetroots floating in raspberry flavoured gloop, it was really good!

Hi Meredith,
Laura sometimes puts small flower arrangements in my vases when we put them on display, and there have been at least two occasions where a person has bought both the vase and the flowers that are in it!

Hi Patti,
I'm not quite sure what the best climate is for Dahlias. The ones at the show came from quite different parts of the country, some where it would have been cool and a bit damp, and others from parts that were really hot and dry. The growers at the show did tell me that they are surprisingly strong and can cope with the real world out there. I hope you try them, it would be fun to watch their progress on your blog.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful! Lovely!! Magnificent!!!

Thanks Peter for sharing your, and Rhonda's 'eyes' on the lovely world we live in.

Peter said...

Thank you Anonymous,
Happy to brighten your day with flowers! :)