A Gower question

October 31, 2019
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Category: General

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Here’s a question for (probably) the New Zealand contingent.  I got Janet Gower, 2 Y-P, from Jason Delaney this year.  It is supposedly an unregistered Bell bulb that John Reed got from NZ.  It doesn’t show up in DaffSeek, but David Bell registered flowers named David, Jeanette, Rona and Sidney Gower in the 70’s and 80’s.  There’s also Sylvia and Thelma Gower daffodils, registered in the 60’s and 40’s by NZ and Australian breeders.  A S.W.Gower of NZ registered two flowers (Lady Rona and Moreland Memory) in 1960 and 1980.

So – I assume the Gowers were daffodil people in New Zealand, maybe two generations worth.  Casual Google inquiries haven’t paid off.  Can anyone give me information or point me to a source?  Are there still Gowers involved in the daffodil world?  Just something to wonder while I’m waiting for my new bulb to bloom.

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2 Responses to A Gower question

  1. David Adams, New Zealand
    November 1, 2019 at 3:03 am

    Hello Kathleen,

    Sid Gower was a Primary School teacher and ended his career as the much respected Principal of Christchurch South Intermediate School. He and wife, Rona, lived in Moreland Ave, Papanui, Christchurch. Their garden was immaculate. I visited them often and still use Sid’s home made HWT unit.

    Sid was very active in the Canterbury Horticultural Society and was President when the Society had 2000 members and $4m in cash and assets. We still have $2m in the bank! Rona continued in the Daffodil Circle for many years after Sid’s death.

    As a keen daffodil enthusiast Sid specialized in species and miniature narcissus. Sid was very active in getting miniatures included in the NZNDS schedule and was involved in many heated arguments trying to get the Div 1 – 4 enthusiasts to move out of their comfort zone.

    After retirement Sid and Rona spent many hours with David Bell, growing roses, vegetables and daffodils at his property. They assisted David with his bulb business, especially helping with packing and postage of bulb orders.

    As a pioneer of Y-P daffodils you could well have a cultivar of David’s raising. I would, however, question the naming. I still grow Jeanette Gower, 6Y-Y. It is a wonderful, late winter flowering cultivar. Although not a modern exhibition cultivar it is a must for the garden border.

    In his later years David would walk along with a visitor and offer to name a daffodil after them. David knew where the bulbs were, never marked them and after his death their location became a mystery. Cultivars such as Margaret Shanks 4W-Y and Margaret McDonald 2W-P were seen at shows but to all intents and purposes are now non-existent. A shame as both of these ladies were friends of ours.

    Further information may be found in the Christchurch Daffodil Circle’s golden anniversary booklet which I should have looked up before writing this.

    Hope this helps,

    David Adams

  2. Kathleen Simpson, West Virginia
    November 1, 2019 at 9:03 am

    David,

    Thank you for the information.  Yes, this is exactly what I was hoping to get.  The people who grow daffodils are as interesting as the flowers themselves and I like to have a bit of information about the people behind the names.

    I’m not too fussed about the name of this one if it dies, or if it turns out to be a thriving garden plant.  The name really only matters if it is a killer show flower that thrives.  It was a gratis bulb so however it turns out will be a bonus.  Looking back, I wish I had just sent checks and blank order forms my first few years.