Gardening enthusiast Noel Watkins shows off the City of Grafton Hippeastrum.
Gardening enthusiast Noel Watkins shows off the City of Grafton Hippeastrum.

A flower Grafton can call its own

By JULIA ILES

IN a tribute to his hometown, a world-class flower breeder has created a voluptuous bloom called the City of Grafton.

The flower is a Hippeastrum known also as Hippies or Amaryllis, and like the Jacaranda, is native to South America.

It is characterised by dark pink and white giant petals, which are lined with white streaks.

"I have a soft spot for Grafton as I grew up there, every now and then I visit," Richard Maguire, the man behind naming the flower, said.

"I've had some good times and some sad moments there, and had been thinking of naming a flower after the town for a long time."

For 28 years Richard has built up Maguire's Hippeastrum farm at Woombye in Queensland, and now supplies bulbs internationally.

Recently his flowers were exhibited at Kew Gardens in London.

Noel Watkins is one of the only gardeners in the Valley who grows the City of Grafton Hippeastrum.

"I love the vibrancy of them and the size of the bloom, this one (City of Grafton) was the closest he could get to the colour of Jacarandas," Noel Watkins said.

"They are hardy, but don't like heavy rain and they only bloom once a year."

"It would be great if the council and other prominent local places grew them," he said.



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