Spring wins for daffodil grower

Champion daffodil grower John Hollever has more than 500 varieties of the bulb in his Ohau fields, and says the ...
Karoline Tuckey

Champion daffodil grower John Hollever has more than 500 varieties of the bulb in his Ohau fields, and says the competitive aspect is what has him hooked.

Paraparaumu daffodil grower John Hollever had a blooming good season, winning Champion Bloom for the North Island, and a haul of other prizes.

Hollever, who has been growing in Ohau since 2005, said the season was his best ever, thanks to good rainfall and cold snaps during winter.

He and wife Sue drove to Waitara for the North Island National Daffodil Society Show on September 12 and 13, with as many as 300 blooms packaged carefully.

"Some don't make it onto the bench. It's a lot of work, Sue and I spend probably 10 hours each at a national show staging them."

Hollever won 10 premier prizes – the winning bloom for a class – as well as Champion Bloom, for an as-yet unnamed large yellow daffodil with an orange cup.
The flower is a new variety from a South Island grower, and Hollever only had one bulb, so was lucky to get a bloom to the show.

The same flower then held on long enough to show at the South Island National Daffodil Show, on September 26 and 27 in Woodend.

Hollever's champion bloom from the North Island this time picked up second place to the Champion Bloom, and he had four more premier wins.

Following the two national shows, he won Champion Bloom at the Central Daffodils Group show in Normanby on October 3 and 4, with a large frilly white 'pink cup' called Polar Sky.

Hollever hopes to develop his passion for daffodils into a business, when he retires in the next few years. Three weeks ago he released his first bulb catalogue, and he plans to eventually sell the flowers through markets and local retailers.

Despite there being more than 100,000 varieties of daffodil registered worldwide, most daffodils sold in New Zealand were pretty generic, he said.

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With more than 500 varieties growing at his Ohau property, he hoped the different colours and shapes of his exhibition flowers would capture people's attention, and earn a premium.

In coming years he plans to register about 20 new hybrids he has bred himself.

To find out more, email holleverdaffodils@paradise.net.nz 

 - Stuff

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