It's a tea party with a difference this Saturday at the Dunedin Botanic Garden. Volunteers are gathering to keep the camellias beautiful and enjoy a dose of fun, followed by a shared picnic.
The group removes dead heads each year and new volunteers are very welcome. Everyone works as a team, optimistically wearing sunhats and "dressed appropriately for such a glamorous floral occasion", Botanic Garden Camellia Collection curator Marianne Groothuis says.
Old, tired blooms need to be twisted off by hand to make space for new buds to develop and flower. Removing damaged blooms also helps stop the spread of camellia petal blight. “The more people who can help deadhead, the more we can reduce the symptoms of the disease”, said Marianne.
"We’re making sure there will be lots of lovely flowers for visitors to see and plenty to display in the spring show." (The Camellia Society’s South Island Camellia Show is being held in conjunction with the World Daffodil Convention at the Edgar Centre, Dunedin, from 28 - 30 September.)
Dead heading is planned for Saturday, from 11am to midday. "But it's definitely not all work and no play", Marianne says. "Afterwards we adjourn to the sunny lawns and enjoy a nice cup of Camellia sinensis, (that is, tea). Bring along something yummy, dig out your prettiest sunhat and floral print - everyone is welcome to come along and help."
11am - 12noon Saturday 15 September, Camellia Collection , Lower Garden.