Leongatha Shines Again –The 2008 Australian Championships
By Mike Temple-Smith

It was a real pleasure to return to Leongatha for the 2008 Australian National Daffodil Championships. As usual the Championships were very professionally hosted and managed by the Leongatha Horticultural Society this time as part of its 52nd Daffodil and Floral Show.

I well remember the friendly welcome and wonderful hospitality all interstate daffodil growers received at the last Championships held there in 1997 and this one was no different. We were treated to a great 2008 show, a very interesting field day visit to Blyth Bros Bulb Farm at Ellinbank, an afternoon visiting some lovely Leongatha gardens and of course some good company and interesting conversations at the Show Presentation dinner and other functions.

The Daffodil Championships were very well supported by growers from all State/Territory daffodil groups and it was nice to catch up with them over the weekend. The daffodil section of the show comprised ten Open Championship Classes, ranging from 3 daffodils from Div 1, 2 & 3, to one class for 50 different varieties, together with 180 open and amateur classes for daffodils of all types. In addition Divisional Champion Awards were made in each Division from 1 -13 plus Intermediate and Miniature as well as each colour coding in Div 1-4.

As you can imagine it would take a while to do credit to all of the winners in these classes so I will mention below some of the major classes only and the flowers that caught my eye. The Championship for 12 Different Var. any divisions was narrowly won by Ian Dyson, Victoria (using 6 Jackson vars one of which Nynja became Champion Div 1). Jacksons Daffodils were a very close 2nd including a wonderful flower of Candoodle 2Y-O, that justifiably became Grand Champion of Show and Champion Australian Raised Flower, and a 2W-W seedling No. 30/99 that became Champion Seedling of the Show.

There were 9 entries in the Australian Seedling Daffodil Championship for 6 Seedlings (Class B) where the tables were turned and Jackson Daffodils came first with Ian Dyson second. I particularly liked Jacksons 246/97, a lovely 11aW-P and their 7/40 a 2W-P with very strong pinky – orange in the cup. Ian benched some very nice seedlings including a Miss Prim x Impeccable that became Champion 2Y-Y and a lovely reverse bicolour seedling from Daydream that became Champion Reverse Bicolour of Show. Amazingly Ian Dyson also benched 50 different seedlings to win the RHSV Madam Melba Trophy which just shows how much hybridising he has done in the last few years – well done. It was good to catch up with Fred Silcock again and among his seedlings in Class B was a magnificent white double (323E) of wonderful form and substance that won Champion Double of the Show.

In the higher divisions there was also strong competition and some wonderful new flowers to behold. There were 5 entries in the Special Trophy class for 6 blooms representing at least 3 Divisions from 5-10 & 12-13. I was lucky to win this - using some of my old vars (Voodoo, Dreamlover and Moriarty), a couple of seedlings and good old N. bulbacodium obesus. – A close second was Ian Dyson who benched Rowitta (the best I have ever seen it), Abracadabra (that became Champion Div 6), Nodding Acquaintance, a jonquilla seedling and two superb new tazettas bred by Wilf Hall from New Zealand, Nickelodeon 8W-W and Fencourt Jewel 8W-P. These are both remarkable flowers that I had not seen before and Nickelodeon went on to become Champion Div 8 of Show. Lawrence Trevanion also benched some great seedlings in this class including 03/5 MJ a 7W-Y bred from N.fernandesii x Barnstorm and 05/5 MJ a 7Y-Y bred from N.fernandesii x Redlands Too. These were both multi- floreted and were at least partially fertile and thus provide a great opportunity for further development in the jonquilla division.

In the Australian Miniature Championship for 6 vars any Division five entries were benched. Geoff Temple-Smith won this narrowly from Lawrence Trevanion and I was pleased to come 3rd benching 4 seedlings that had first flowered in 2008. Geoff’s six included 4 seedlings - 06M/035 a nice 1Y-Y, 06M/029 a 6Y-O, two 5Y-Y seedlings plus Humming Bird and Russell Falls. Lawrence showed 5 of his own seedlings and a nice 6W-W Peberdy seedling that was awarded Champion Miniature of Show. However I liked his seedling 08/1A the best - a 7Y-Y bred N.waterii x N. scaberulus with three lovely round flowers on the stem - wonderful.

I was disappointed to find little competition in the six classes for Intermediate Daffodils but Ian Dyson benched a couple of nice seedlings including one 1Y-Y bred Miss Prim x Nynja so I felt lucky to win the Champion Intermediate of Show with a 2Y-O seedling (03/50). Of course there were many other good flowers shown and I should mention Josie Rutherford who won Champion Div 5 with a great Angels Whisper as well as Champion Div 12 and local grower Glenice Griggs who won Champion Div 7. Graham Brumley also did well winning Champion 2Y-P with a lovely Perseverance and Champion 3W-W with Busker.

One of the best and most interesting parts of the weekend for me, once I had recovered from the celebrations on Friday night, was the visit on Saturday to Blyth Bros Bulb Farm at Ellinbank. This daffodil enterprise plants about 50ha of daffodils each year to supply flowers and bulbs to the Australian market so it was a real treat to be shown around the machinery used to store, propagate, plant and dig the bulbs as well as to see the flower storage coolrooms and visit the fields where the daffs were in full bloom. The photos show the scale of the operation and the picturesque countryside, similar to Tasmania’s NW Coast.

The presentation dinner held on Saturday night was the final formal part of the weekend and this provided an opportunity for further camaraderie and of course discussions about daffodils. In summary Leongatha shone once again and put on a wonderful event – one that I hope can be equalled in 2010 when the Australasian Daffodil Championships are held in Launceston, Tasmania.

LADY DIANA ( Don Broadfield) Lady Slim 1W-W x Gwyn 2W-W

If the TDC was to name outstanding Tasmanian hybrids produced in recent years, one of the first for consideration would be Lady Diana 2W-W

This flower has appeared consistently as a show winner ever since it first appeared in our records in 1986.

Don Broadfield always kindly sent show reports to the editors of our journal. Some years ago I had cause to ring him and in the course of the phone conversation, I asked Don about the breeding of Lady Diana. I made some rough notes, always intending to flesh them out and check with Don but that opportunity has now been lost. However, reders may be interested to know a little more about the development of this lovely daffodil from the notes that I have.

Lady Diana might well never have graced our show benches.

Among the many seedlings that Don raised, Lady Diana proved initially to be very frustrating. The seedling did not want to flower and after 7 years, Don dug it up. It had a huge bulb, bigger than an apple but no offsets. As a last resort, Don planted it in his mother`s patch with other seedlings, in soil that had never grown daffodils before.

One day, Don walked in the gate - looked across and saw a white daffodil standing up, looking him straight in the eye! It was Lady Diana after 10 years! The bulb still had only two small offsets but after that it went mad! Said Don, "many a time I toyed with the idea of throwing it in the garbage."

Don attempted to register this seedling, but his chosen name was refused as there was already Lady Di 2W-Y. Don decided to keep the name without registration but it is good to see that Lady Diana 2W-W is now listed in the RHS Register.


To see more info and photos, please follow the link: