Erna is precisely that special Hermanus lady who has become synonymous with flowers, flower arrangements and the judging at flower shows. Her special talent and love of flowers is well0known to all around Greater Hermanus, and many enjoy her expertise, whether at church, school or many other special functions wherever she is called upon. She has come to know the therapeutic effect of flowers on herself and the many people who can share in her art. On a cold winter’s day Erna shared her interesting story.
Erna (nee Truter), was born in 1937 in the small hamlet of Papendorp, near Lutzville in the Northern Cape. At the age of three, their family moved to Hermanus where her father became the gym teacher. At first he served both the existing public schools, but when the high school moved to its new building, he stayed at the primary school, retiring after 33 years as a teacher.
The love of flowers was a legacy from her mother. When Erna started taking part in flower competitions it was as natural as breathing as she grew up in a household where flowers were most important. Her mother always loved flowers and gave lessons in floral arrangements as far away as Gansbaai. She arranged flowers in the church and wherever else they needed her.
Living in Hermanus, in October 2001, she passed the National Judges exam of the South African Flora Union. In 2005, Erna obtained the teaching and national demonstration certificate.
She now works as a professional flower arranger, judge and demonstrator. Anywhere her services are called upon, she will go. The union has fixed tariffs that can be charged for work but mostly it is for love or charity.
The number of exhibitions has diminished owing to the lack of sponsors for prizes. Erna belongs to a flower club in the Strand as Hermanus has none. She regularly goes to the Strand to act as a judge for their competitions.
VLV (WOMEN’S AGRICULTURAL ASSOCIATION)
Erna has been a member of the VLV for many years. She is mainly concerned with judging flower arrangements and t3eaching the art to those interested. The number of people entering for competitions has gradually increased.
Erna and some ladies in the Strand conduct classes to teach their students to return to the old traditional styles in arranging which is the foundation for the modern style of arranging flowers. The lessons comprise of theory and practical sessions. The people doing this training are mainly older persons and the high requirements could be the reason for reluctance of younger women.
Article extracted from SJ du Toit – Whale Capital Chronicles III, Page 70.
Should you wish to use any of her stories please contact SJ du Toit directly.