Marie Bashir opens Show

Professor Dame Marie Bashir (left) with Denise Di Salvia.

The 44th Annual Narrandera Garden Club’s annual Camellia Show held in conjunction with the National Show for the second year on Friday and Saturday was officially opened by one of the town’s favourite daughters Professor Dame Marie Bashir.

The auditorium at the Ex-servicemen’s Club was a sea of pink and white, with camellias of every variety competing in 105 different categories.

Two of the judges were from New Zealand and were delighted to visit a show with so many healthy blooms. New Zealand has had some trouble with Camellia Flower Blight, ciborina camelliae, and the blight affected the quality and appearance of blooms in the country.

Garden Club President Pat Hayllar started off the awards presentation on Friday after-noon and said that the show had been the work of many hands.

“We had between 1100 and 1200 blooms and each of them had to be placed in a small container of water. I’d like to thank our volunteers and the Narrandera Rotary Club for helping us. I’d also like to thank the Ex-servicemen’s Club; we came in here and the room was set up exactly how we needed it, with the tablecloths already in place.

“I’d also like to thank our backstop, Denise de Salvia, helped out by a team of local enthusiasts who continue to support the show,” Mrs Hayllar said.

According to Ms Hayllar, entrants had come from not only across the Riverina but Albury and parts of Sydney.

Professor Bashir gave a brief speech to the crowd before presenting the awards to the winners.

“Growing up in Narrandera was such a privilege for the love that was given to gardens. My mother managed to strike and grow three camellia trees in our garden.”

Professor Bashir went on to talk about her work as a psychiatrist, particularly in treating depression.

“When looking at the things that improve your life, we must not forget the role that tending a garden can play in improving our quality of life.

“I’ve loved camellias. I tried to grow them in Sydney and they defied the odds and thrived. I was told they wouldn’t survive where I was.

“How many places on this planet could present a show as we see today? I hope it continues into the future,” Professor Bashir said.

After the local winners were announced Professor Bashir was presented with a basket of regional produce.

The winners of the National Show were presented on Friday night.

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