Beyond the yellow

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Beyond the yellow

In bloom: great mates Bob Spotts and Graeme Brumley are part of a dedicated globe-trotting daffodil-loving community.

By Matt Dunn

THERE’S not much you could tell Graeme Brumley and Bob Spotts about
daffodils.
As globetrotting aficionados of the fine fauna, Graeme, who has now returned to Leongatha after many years away, and Bob, a Californian who has created some of the most remarkable flowers on the planet, are part of a rare breed.
Graeme’s family is something of an institution in Leongatha, with generations of the Brumley clan woven into the history of this town.
You know when your family has a street named in its honour that you have been around a while.
“There’s a community of people who love daffodils spread around the world and I’m part of it. These people are part of it. Graeme Brumley is part and I come to see him and his flowers. Wherever daffodils are grown and people really love them, we’ll mix. It’s my turn to come here,” Bob said during a recent Australian visit.
“There are a few thousand people who are nuts about daffodils around the world, so we try to mix. He grows them, they bloom here in September. They bloom in my place in March. It’s easy to come up here in September and he can come to my place in March.
“The daffodils here are as good as anywhere in the world. You have Graeme here and Ian Dyson and their flowers are just as good as anyone’s in the world. It’s always good to come down here and see daffodils that are a little different.”
Bob said his main interest was in “creating new colours and forms” of daffodils.
“I get a real kick out of doing it and recognition from people that those are pretty nice flowers,” he said.
Bob has continued the work of the late Manuel Lima, conducting experiments with the Narcissus verdiflorus, a green daffodil.
Simply put, verdiflorus means “green flower”.
“Nature doesn’t look at daffodils quite the way we do. The interesting thing about verdiflorus is it’s green and it blooms in the fall (autumn),” Bob said.
“Manuel Lima was a sort of a hermit. He had one thing he wanted to do in life and that was to create a green daffodil. He did. He took nature’s little form, which is an ugly little thing and crossbred it with other flowers and he got some really nice flowers,” Bob said.
“He died young, but I sort of caught his fever and now I have some green daffodils. They’re not bright green, they’re really sort of lovely flowers and they’re different to anyone else’s.”
Graeme said the flowers were “different to anything else in the whole world”.
Bob admitted that the radical flower was only liked by a minority of daffodil fans: “The main part of the daffodil world is perfectly content with yellow and orange. It’s nice to do something different.”
Making money from this work seems an unlikely scenario, as commercial flower growers simply order the bulbs of new strains and grow them on a mass scale.
Graeme said his friend had lost out on the work he did creating flowers, with the Dutch producing them by the millions, and nothing paid to the creator.
But for Bob, making money is secondary to the glory of the creation.
“It’s recognition and satisfaction and the approval of your peers – all that kind of thing. The money is made by the big business. But after I’m gone if they’re still selling my flower and people know who bred it, my name lives on for a while,” he said.
While the money being made at his expense would make most people green with envy, Bob is happy to have his ‘green’ surface elsewhere.

Short URL: http://www.thestar.com.au/?p=130

Posted by SiteAdmin on Dec 22 2009. Filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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