Daffodil homecoming for Darfield

by Kent Caddick

The decision to hold the National Daffodil Society of New Zealand’s 2018 Daffodil Show in Darfield this month is a homecoming for one exhibitor.

David and Leitha Adams grow daffodils on their five-acre property near Yaldhurst, but their connections with the Malvern district of Selwyn run deep.

Mr Adams, a now-retired teacher, was raised in Sheffield and can trace his roots back to one of the first farming families in Malvern.

“My great-grandfather Thomas W Adams was the first farmer in Greendale, with crops and later a tree nursery,” Mr Adams said.

“He had eight sons including my grandfather who moved to Sheffield.”

It was through his father, Les Adams, that he acquired his love of daffodils.

“When I was growing up there was a group of around a dozen keen daffodil exhibitors including my father, along with Graeme Innes and Les Hawke, who were also from Sheffield, as well as Charlie Greening from Springfield and Mrs Westerway from Kimberly.

“Annual flower shows were held in Sheffield, Darfield and Oxford and were well attended. We used to fill the old Darfield Hall and the Sheffield Hall with daffodils and other cut flowers.

“Dad bought me some daffodils when I was eight or nine, and I had my own patch until I moved into town (Christchurch).”

After training as a teacher, he married Leitha and focussed on his career, specialising in deaf education.

After about five years into the marriage, the pair attended a flower show in Christchurch, and his passion for daffodils was reignited.

“I planted some daffodils at home and took them to the following year’s flower show, entered them into the novice section and won. The prize included a collection of bulbs and we sort of turned our whole section into a daffodil garden.”

David Adams inspects daffodil seedlings

In 1989 they moved to a five acre section on Pound Road near Yaldhurst and along with a friend started Templeton Daffodils.

Mr Adams became a member of the Canterbury Horticultural Society (CHS) and the National Daffodil Society of New Zealand and is now a life member of both organisations.

It was through the national society he discovered another connection to the Malvern area in which he grew up.

“In the National Daffodil Society we compete for the Avery Cup, which was donated by the Reverend Avery who I discovered was the father of Dr Avery who was the doctor for the Malvern district based in Darfield when I was growing up.

“I suspect when Dr Avery came to Darfield he bought the hobby with him and introduced it to the local people.

“So there’s a sense that by taking this national daffodil show to Darfield it is about bringing it home.”

He said one of the reasons they looked at Darfield to host the event was because, with the loss of the Canterbury Horticultural Society’s hall in Hagley Park to the cricket development, there are very few venues in the city, which could stage an exhibition of this sort.

“So to me — the obvious place to take it was Darfield,” Mr Adams said.

“There has been some really strong support from the local community to make this happen.”

“There will be exhibitions from the Darfield Garden Club and the Sheffield Garden Club, while the Springston Floral Art Group is mounting a floral display.”

The Darfield Recreation Centre will be the venue for the National Daffodil Show during the weekend of September 29 and 30.