Recently, I was reminded of the large number of these held by the Society, and just how varied they are in terms of size and form. Of particular interest was the original purpose of these trophies (where indicated), the date of their introduction, and most importantly, the list of recipients engraved thereon.
This latter is especially deserving of mention, being a tangible record and a tribute to the interest, commitment and dedication of many past, and present members, and their contribution to the Society’s various flower shows and garden competitions over many decades.
As far as can be ascertained, the earliest trophies, both for flower shows and garden competitions, appeared during the latter part of the 1920’s. Prior to this, place getters in both cases, were awarded prize money in recognition of their efforts. For example, in 1870, a Society annual newsletter/show schedule states; ‘To be Awarded at the Last Exhibition of the Season’, a prize of £5 for the most ‘Successful Exhibitor of the Season in Pot Plants and Cut Flowers’, with a prize of the same sum for the best fruit and vegetables display. However, for regular shows which were a feature at the Society’s monthly meetings, much more modest monetary prizes were offered.
Prizes of the value as indicated above, were also offered for ‘Gentlemen’s Gardens’ and ‘Bona Fide Cottage Gardens’, that same year (1870). These were considerable sums at that time, and in the case of the garden competition, the lack of available prize money saw the demise of this competition within a few years.
A regular garden competition, was however, re-established in 1918, with a two guinea first prize. However, since it was still a question of depending on donations, the provision of prize money became a matter of ongoing debate. A change of rules in 1928, enabling non-members to enter their gardens, led to a considerable number of Christchurch businesses donating trophies for a variety of classes. These included the L. B. Hart Challenge Trophy for railway stations, the North Canterbury Flour Milling Challenge Trophy for factory gardens and the MacMillan Brown Trophy for hill gardens. In 1932, Society Management Committee member Morris Barnett presented a challenge cup for rock gardens. Various other trophies followed including in 1940, one for State house gardens, the Cadian Shield in 1961 for the best all-year-round garden – later confined to judging in spring and summer only, and following the 1974 Commonwealth Games, a silver salver was presented for a new hotel and motel class.
The emergence of cups and other trophies for specialist and other shows appear to have followed a similar pattern. One of the early ones was a particularly handsome cup presented by the New Zealand Institute of Horticulture to the Society, for apparently particularly meritorious and sizable exhibits at the regular shows and special exhibitions. Recipients included in 1929, Sir R Heaton Rhodes, in 1932, the Christchurch Domains Board, in 1933, the Reserves Department, Christchurch City Council, and in later years, various groups and individual competitors were awarded this cup.
The majority of show cups and other trophies held however are for individual flower kinds, indicating the high interest among members throughout much of the Society’s history, in growing and bringing to perfection blooms of their favourite flower. Among the most enduringly popular have been the daffodil, rose, dahlia and chrysanthemum, and to a lesser extent, gladioli. Other flowers such as rock and alpines and other plants of special interest also feature among the trophies, together with general cut flowers, floral art etc.
Family Silver – part two
In the August CHS News, I made mention of the various trophies held for specialist flower shows as an indication of certain member’s interest in their favourite flower, the most enduringly popular having been the daffodil, rose, dahlia and chrysanthemum and to a lesser extent, gladioli. Following is some information on two trophies of each relating to Daffodils and Chrysanthemums these being the two flower shows (Spring and Autumn) currently being held under the auspices of the CHS.
David Bell Challenge Cup: This cup dating from 1962, was named for David Bell, (now deceased), a highly successful local daffodil grower and hybridiser, with an internationally-renowned daffodil collection, located at his property in Templeton. The quality (and range) of David Bell’s daffodils was outstanding, and not surprisingly, he was a regular winner of this cup at the Society’s shows. His name appears every year from 1962 to 1983. (He died in 1987). Other regular winners recorded include A W Chappell, for many years a leading daffodil exhibitor and current members Michael and Marian Brown and David Adams, also noted daffodil growers, breeders and exhibitors, and winners of various trophies over a lengthy period.
New Zealand Daffodil Raisers Champion Challenge Cup: Dating from 1959, it is again no surprise to find David Bell a regular winner – 18 occasions over a period of 25 years (to 1983). The knowledge and dedication of our other local growers and hybridisers named above is also evident on this cup, their names appearing several times.
Various other daffodil cups are held by the Society and together with the names already mentioned, are others periodically recorded… Probably the most noteworthy grower and exhibitor of earlier times, was Sir Heaton Rhodes, a well-known public figure, for many years the Society’s president and famous for his very extensive daffodil collection at Otahuna, producing many new cultivars and regularly exhibiting at the Society’s shows.
J A Hitchings Challenge Cup: Donated by the CHS Chrysanthemum Circle, and dating from 1960. One name dominates this cup, Leo Clark, whose name appears regularly. He was for many years a well-known chrysanthemum grower, exhibitor and judge, with numerous contacts nationally and around the world, especially in Japan. Visitors to his Christchurch garden were amazed at the hundreds of potted plants providing massed displays of various forms of chrysanthemum. Needless to say, his extensive displays and exhibition blooms at shows were outstanding, winning many awards. Leo Clark died in 1999.
CHS Challenge Cup for Exhibition Incurved Chrysanthemums: This cup was presented in 1953 by the late J R Templin, former Society president and major benefactor of the Society. Once again, Leo Clark’s name is dominant on the cup; however, other chrysanthemum growers/exhibitors are recorded several times including Society members John Patton, David Purcell and Michael Coulter (son-in-law of the late Leo Clark).
As with the daffodil, there are other chrysanthemum trophies and other growers and exhibitors too numerous to mention here. Viewed as a whole, this trophy collection is a record of the persistence, sustained interest and strong competition, often spanning many years that existed and continues to exist, among our various growers and exhibitors. These efforts have resulted in numerous outstanding exhibits and displays, bringing not only great satisfaction to the exhibitors, but also immense pleasure to the wider membership and others visiting the Society’s shows.