Judges faced a daunting task at last week's Norsewood flower show when they had to choose the best rhododendron from 97 entries.

Organising committee member Heather Cheer said there were 58 rhododendrons entered in 2018 so this year's entries were a record.

Overall winner was Rose Waterworth with her Mi Amor rhododendron. She was surprised and delighted to win.

"I'm pretty much a novice gardener, I've only been gardening for three or four years. I can't believe I've won this."

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Cheer has organised the flower show for many years, but this year a committee was formed.

It's a project that she derives much pleasure from.

"One person has been entering the flower show for many years but has never won a prize.
This year she gained a third prize and she was so overcome with delight.

"That's my million dollar payout for the work involved. It's a thrill to see the looks on people's faces when they win. That what keeps me going and gives me the drive and energy to carry on."

Two trophies donated by the now defunct Norsewood CWI were the Joan Ridge Memorial Trophy for the most adult entries.

This went to Graham Rix who entered 39 flowers and the other was the Una Halford Trophy for the best junior exhibit which went to 6-year-old Kyle Cuneen.

Two new CWI trophies contested for the first time was a brass bowl for the best high school entry, which went to Nikita Buckley for her photograph of a flower, and a silver vase for the people's choice. This went to Annette Bayley from Waipukurau for her chocolate bearded iris.

Cheer said these were both new categories.

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"We have never involved high school students before and we want to expand on
this next year and have something exciting planned. We also want to promote the people's choice category and change the way the voting is carried."

Exhibitors and visitors were invited to vote on whether the show should be expanded to a cooking section, but for plant based cooking.

Cheer was delighted with the number of entries received and said she had received a comment that the Hovding Hall had never looked so full in the past.

"Our exhibitors have combated hail storms, ferocious winds and lots of aphids to bring their blooms to this beautiful flower show."