Gardener creates flower in memory of his late wife

Joanne Ross


Joanne Ross


A BANBRIDGE pensioner who specialises in growing chrysanthemums has named his latest bloom after his late wife.

Herbie McCauley has not long returned from the Harrogate Autumn Flower Show where he was awarded his sixth consecutive year of winning the three-vase class.

However, the widower says his highlight from the show was registering a yellow chrysanthemum that he grew from a seedling after his late wife, Jeanette.

Herbie, who was married to Jeanette for 52 years, says he was “delighted” the flower could be named after his late wife who passed away in January this year.

He said: “I went to the show on Thursday (13 September) with the chance to compete in the three-vase class which requires five blooms in each vase.

“I took the flowers over with me in the car on the 200-mile journey and I have been going over to the show for the last 10 years with my friend Sidney.”

Herbie says he enjoys meeting all his friends at the show and they enjoy catching up with him too.

He explained how he was able to name his latest chrysanthemum after Jeanette.

“I have been growing chrysanthemums since 1987 and I was delighted to win the three-vase class for the sixth year running.

“I always take a chrysanthemum over and this one I grew from seedling from January which was sent by my friend Tony.

“It developed into a yellow chrysanthemum and I was able to take it over and get it registered after Jeanette.

“Naming the chrysanthemum will be for future stalk of the flower but it won’t be released until 2020, but many flowers will grow from it. I am hopeful that it will do well,” he said.

The flower was also awarded best seedling of the year at the show and he hopes it will do well for future crop.

“I have the root of the plant in Banbridge and I will now grow the flowers named after Jeanette.

“However, at the show I handed the flower over to Jeanette’s friend Eunice and her husband Michael. She was a great friend of Jeanette’s for many years,” he added.

Herbie was surprised at the show with the arrival of his son David, and daughter Claire, who flew over to support their dad and see the chrysanthemum named after their late mother.

Herbie was introduced to the art of growing by his late father who was originally from the Rathfriland area.

And after visiting the Belfast Flower Show back in 1987 it was there that his love for the bloom was born.

He has been a member of Banbridge and District Horticultural Society member for the last 34 years and would encourage others to join.

He said: “I have learned a lot and gained experience being with the society. We are always looking for new members and they can learn all these things about gardening from myself and my apprentice this year was Robin McCaldin.

“The society meets in Bannside Presbyterian Church Hall on the first Tuesday night of each month at 8pm from October until May. Its activities are suitable for all from the experienced gardener to the beginner.”

Herbie would like to thank all the people and his friends who help him during the year with the growing of his chrysanthemums.

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