Make no mistake, to a large extent I attribute my lifetime career in plant science to the skills I acquired in learning how to grow Dahlias for exhibition.
Recreational horticulture was very popular in the decades immediately following World War II. Many specialist plant societies in Britain can look back on those years as a golden era, when there were many members and much enthusiasm. I was particularly lucky to live in Worcestor Park, the home of Pi Ensum of Hamari fame. Many notables from the National Dahlia Society came to shows in Surrey and as a youngster I received much encouragmnet from them. Not least among these was Derek Hewlett, the best ambassador the NDS ever had. Years later I would meet Derek on visits to the USA and we would reflect on the fact that we were now coming together from opposite ends of the earth and that our mutual interest in the Dahlia had taken us to many different countries.