A MAN potty about dahlias has been made Personality of the Year by the National Dahlia Society.

The society's recent AGM, held via Zoom, saw the honours committee bestow the prestigious accolade on Darren Everest.

The award is given to recognise the efforts that have gone in to promoting the dahlia and Darren has certainly been doing this over the years.

He has been growing dahlias for 35 years and over the last 15 has been doing talks for gardening clubs across the south east of England.

Darren, with wife, Dawn, has put up large displays at places such as the Edenbridge and Oxted Agricultural Show, Lullingstone Castle and RHS Wisley.

Darren started growing Dahlias at the tender age of 12, having seen them at a show in his home town, Westerham in Kent.

He showed an interest in the colourful flowers and was given some tubers by some of the exhibitors to try.

He was also encouraged by his green-fingered family.

Darren said: "I do take after Dad in that we both show our blooms for the sheer fun of it. The social side of showing, the banter, the swapping of ideas, meeting friends, all with the same interest, is what it's all about.

"Of course we all want to win, but it certainly is the case that it's the taking part that counts".

Darren has won a whole host of awards over the years, and, proving he is no one trick pony, he also exhibits daffodils in the spring and sweet peas in the summer.

Darren and Dawn, and their four dogs, moved to the Isle of Wight in 2018 and enjoy an acre of garden at their home near Yarmouth.

On receiving his award, Darren said: "It is a huge honour to be given this award. To be recognised by the honours committee this way makes all the time and effort worthwhile.

"I love growing and showing dahlias and will always continue to do so.

"I have met some wonderful people throughout my time in the show world and hope to continue promoting this wonderful flower for many years to come."