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Close call for prize chrysanthemums

CARYN WIGMORE
Last updated 05:00 01/05/2014
Rona and Graham Attwood
BEST BLOOMS: Rona and Graham Attwood of Huapai with their champion chrysanthemums.

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A fierce storm didn't stop the prized chrysanthemums of Graham and Rona Attwood winning top honours in a prestigious flower contest.

Winds tore away half the roof of their plastic shade house in Auckland just two days before the blooms were crowned champion of champions in the Waikato Chrysanthemum Society's annual show.

"There was a mighty crash and a boom. The wind was something terrible," 78-year-old Graham says.

The couple battled for 90 minutes in the wind and rain to fix the battered roof, the Thursday morning before Easter.

Rona says the rain would surely have decimated their 55 plants which need shelter to thrive.

Three of the chrysanthemums went on to win gold at the Waikato show a few days later.Graham, president of the Auckland Chrysanthemum and Dahlia Society, has been growing chrysanthemums for 3 years.

Wife Rona stages the vases or arranges the flowers for competitions.

"It's very difficult growing chrysanthemums in Auckland because there's a lot of humidity which is not good for them," she says.

"Graham grows them outside until they start to flower then covers them with the plastic roof.

"Cultivating the flowers calls for daily dedication during growing season.

"You don't go away for two weeks or they will die," he says. 

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- Norwest News

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