Elaine McSwan
Elaine McSwan

Elaine is ?queen of the chrysanthemums

By Sally Gordon

It is people like Woodford Island's Elaine McSwan who make the Maclean Show.

At this year's show Elaine took out 12 first places and a further three prizes in the flower competition.

Eight of those first places were for her champion chrysanthemums.

A commercial flower grower by trade and flower lover by choice, Elaine said the motivation for entering the show competition was not for the accolades but to keep the tradition of the Maclean Show alive.

"I mainly put the stuff in to help make the show, it's not a case of doing it to win," she said.

"I put a variety of things in with the idea of helping make the show, because if we all sat back and didn't do anything, there'd be no show.

"I've entered now for many years and I don't always take out the first and second prizes."

Elaine's prize-winning chrysanthemums are specially bred by tissue culture.

Elaine buys a sample of the plant which has been grown from a little piece under supervision of the NSW Department of Agriculture.

Chrysanthemums grow in Elaine's flower garden almost nine months of the year.

"Some flower now, some flower just for Mother's Day, some flower in the winter," she said.

Elaine's love affair with all things that bloom started when she was young. Her grandmother and mother were avid collectors of cut and garden flowers.

"As a young girl if I went to visit any of the aunts with my mother, they could never get rid of me until they gave me a bunch of flowers to take home to grandma," she said.

"Every morning of grandma's life, out came the vases from inside to have clean water."

A hobby in floral art later in life gave Elaine the impetus to turn her gardening skills into a commercial activity.

Elaine receives minimal help around the 'garden', which is just under an acre, but she said at the end of the day, it was about being outdoors and staying ac- tive.

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