Darren does well with his dahlias

Green-fingered Cranmore resident Darren Everest represented the Isle of Wight Horticultural Association at this year’s National Dahlia Society Show held at RHS Wisley Gardens.

Darren won the Miniature Championship and Harry Stredwick Trophy, was runner up in the Miniature Cactus, Miniature Ball and Cactus groups and came a creditable fourth in the Affiliated Societies Championship.

Dahlias originated in Central America in the 16th century and arrived in Europe at the end of the 18th century. They were named after botanist Andreas Dahl, who originally regarded them as a vegetable as the tubers are edible. Interest switched to the blooms when the first varieties with large, double flowers were bred in Belgium in 1815. There are now 30 different species and over 20,000 varieties of these spectacular garden flowers.

Darren has been growing dahlias for more than 30 years and moved to the Island with his wife Dawn and their four dogs just before Christmas last year. They are members of Freshwater Horticultural Society and the Isle of Wight Horticultural Association.