President, Show Convenor
I grew up on a dairy farm in Taranaki and my parents were keen gardeners. Our family walked around the garden often, talking about the flowers. Thus my love of gardening was fostered. I now live in an 1860’s cottage in Paremata, Porirua. The cottage garden there was already lovely and I have added my own touches, such as a pond and a fairy garden for the grand children. They also love walking around with me learning the names of flowers – and picking them! I have been President of the Titahi Bay Horticultural Society since May 2016. I particularly enjoy the friendly members, the Spring Flower show and the ways our Society can encourage others to love gardening as well.
I hail from the sunny Hawkes Bay and have lived all of my married life in Wellington settled with my Husband, two children, two elderly dogs and one cat in Titahi Bay. I have an inherited interest in gardening past down by my grandparents and great grandparents. My grandparents were always busy in their garden and I spent many a summers day under the fruit trees eating their delightful produce. My great grandparents were Market gardeners who when they first arrived in New Zealand settled in Lyttelton. Early childhood memories of helping out in my grandparent’s vegetable patch sowed the seeds for my current dream of reaping the benefits of a well established food producing garden. It was my dear friend Gwen Skinner who introduced me to the Titahi Bay Horticultural Society and I continue to enjoy our monthly meetings and have learnt so much from the many knowledgeable members.
My love of flowers came from my English mother who as a child escaped from her unhappy childhood by wandering on the moors in Dartmoor in her free time. She impressed upon us very deeply her love of wildflowers and nature to the point where as a child in Nelson I spent many hours searching acres of onion weed for an elusive bluebell to take her. My father was a hobby citrus grower extraordinaire, a beekeeper and a winemaker from all things excepting grapes. Fast forward to me, a thwarted but ever hopeful gardener in the harsh elements of Titahi Bay after years in the relatively easy growing area of Hataitai and my childhood garden in Nelson. Mediterranean and South African plants are those that thrive, but I do manage to forage greens, herbs and a few wee flowers most of the year for us. What a find the Horticultural Club has been with its wonderful speakers, friendly members and variety of events.
Raised in Carterton, with a Mother who was secretary/ treasurer and show secretary of the local Horticultural Society and the WI district floral art demonstrator, meant that flower shows are part of my life. There, Don Bramley encouraged me to grow and show daffodils. In 1970 I married and moved to Lower Hutt and joined the HVHS. 40 years ago George and I moved to Whitby, began creating soil and planted a new garden including a daffodil plot. We also joined the Titahi Bay Horticultural Society. Unfortunately, evening class work prevents me from attending many meetings. I’m now the Wellington Rep. for the NDSNZ as well as a judge and its Publicity officer.
My name is Karen Blyde and together with my family, I have lived very close to the beach in Titahi Bay for nearly 30 years. Living by the sea makes for challenging growing conditions. My main interest is growing flowers for picking. I’m especially fond of roses. When my parents-in-law moved in next door to us they brought along an abundance of roses which have grown surprisingly well at the back of our house, sheltered from the wind and sea spray. Although I am very keen on gardening I am very much a learner and have found joining the Horticultural Society to be very enjoyable and helpful.
Vice President & Treasurer
My parents were both avid gardeners as were my grandfathers. I have great memories of my paternal grandfather’s wonderful vege garden in Petone. It must have been mainly on sand, though there was a horse paddock next door which leads me to suspect good usage of the by-product, something I had to do myself when we moved to Titahi Bay in 1999. What a transition that was from wonderful soil for Rhodos, Camellias and Maples to a salt wind environment where nothing but Coprosma seemed to grow. Mediterranean I had fondly thought, NO, Australian? NO, all right then natives – but even they did not survive. It has been the South African shrubs Leucospermum, Leucadendron, Clivia and the like which have thrived. This garden is not anything like I had envisioned but now that I am almost completely retired I trust I can sort it out. This is where the Horticultural Society comes in with great meetings, interesting speakers, wonderful away trips and welcoming members.
My first foray into gardening was as a teenager, in Suva, planting 2 slips of orchid in the lawn and they grew. It was there too where my interest in African Violets began. The parents of my best friend had built shelves in their verandah and had filled them with African Violets. I had never seen them before and loved them. It was not until we bought our first house in Invercargill years later, a quarter acre section with a big vege garden and flower garden with wonderful chrysanthemums that my real gardening began. There began an interest in chrysanthemums. I added to the collection – incurves, reflex, quill, anemone, spoon, spiders – and all colours, though my favourites have always been green ones. I used to buy them from a grower in Christchurch. I left that interest behind as I couldn’t find any here and found others - daylilies, roses, dahlias whatever fired my interest. In Invercargill I met other people with an interest in gardening who introduced me to many different plants and trees. The vegetable garden was my responsibility but definitely took second place to my flowers and shrubs.
I have been a Public Servant for over 30 years. I joined the Horticultural Society as my mother had been very fond of gardening for many years and I thought it would be a good outing for her to be amongst other enthusiasts. I ended up being a member of the society myself for many years. I particularly enjoy garden visits, such as the Taranaki Garden Festival, Wairarapa gardens, our trip to Cross Hills, and of course visits to local gardens of our members. Garden shows and A&P shows are highlights. Irises are a favourite of mine and I am a member of the NZ Iris Society. They have a four-day convention in Palmerston North in 2017 including garden visits and a special dinner.