Hi, my name is Darren Everest. I’ve been growing Dahlias for about twenty six years.
My first recollection of seeing Dahlias was as a young child walking down my Granddads garden, walking past his exhibition Chrysanthemums before coming across a “hedgerow” of colourful blooms at the end of his main flower/vegetable plot.
I must have been around twelve when I was at my local flower show (my parents were helping to run it) and was greeted by a bank of these colourful Dahlia blooms some three rows deep on tiered staging. I was soon introduced to the three or four exhibitors and was asked if I wanted to have a go at growing some the following year.
The following year I was given around twenty tubers which went into a patch on my Dads (Bryan Everest) allotment and my first attempts at showing them began. I can’t remember if I won any prizes but I was hooked by the bug and had set my sights on those red tickets!
At the age of fifteen I was growing around three hundred plants on my own allotment growing such varieties as Klanstad Kerkrade, Athalie, Moor Place, Wootton Cupid, Katherine’s Cupid, Salmon Symbol and Ruskin Diane. I even had a go at exhibiting in the novice classes at the National Dahlia Society show in London. I was unsuccessful but my Dahlias didn’t look out of place in amongst the eighteen or so entries in each class.
I continued to grow Dahlias each year only taking a break due to work and family commitments but each year yearned to get back to my passion. I have exhibited at many of my local shows each year for a number of years and have even tried my luck at two of the larger specialist Dahlia shows, The Kent Dahlia Society Show and the Surrey Chrysanthemum and Dahlia (C and D) Show. I have had some success at these shows but have lacked a little consistency!
Up until last year I was limited to growing around one hundred and fifty plants but having moved allotment sites in October 2010 I was able to increase my growing capacity to around three hundred plants. The increase in numbers meant that I had more blooms to select from and was able to vase up some much better exhibits.
My recent achievements are listed on the 'Past Events' page.