Botanical perfection?

PUBLISHED: 14:48 27 August 2019 | UPDATED: 14:52 27 August 2019

Bicton Park Botanical Gardens curator Neville Evans.

Bicton Park Botanical Gardens curator Neville Evans.


Bicton Park Botanical Gardens curator Neville Evans strives to grow the perfect flower.

They say you learn from your mistakes, and in almost all cases I'm sure they are right.

In the instance of growing children that seems to work, but when it comes to plants there are many instances when we just ignore or deliberately forget our mistakes and failures.

At Bicton Park Botanic Gardens, we are always trying to push the boundaries of what will survive.

The plant which personifies this amnesia is the tree dahlia (Dahlia imperialis).

Growing up to 20 feet tall in just one season, with fantastically exotic foliage towering over visitors, it delivers a wow factor for sure but it's the flowers that we really want.

To be honest, the pink flowers are just like many other Dahlia, but the level of anticipation is a close second to the birth of a child.

Last year, having waited months and months, fed and watered into October, buds were forming ready to burst and grace us with glory and success and then the frost snatched victory from under our noses.

So, close but no cigar.

Despite constant failure I will carry on every year until I get those flowers.

It can be done; I have seen pictures online.

I could take it personally imagine that someone up on high has a botanical grudge against me but I'm too stubborn for that.

Mistakes or failure yes, but the rewards are great.

When I succeed, I am expecting choirs of angels, fireworks, and a queue of people asking for autographs but I doubt that will happen.

Maybe a humouring smile will suffice.

As gardeners, we strive for the perfect flower or vegetable and are prepared to battle blindly on against Mother Nature in the face of humiliation and failure for moments of botanical euphoria. Will we ever learn?

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