Handshake for eternity Bonn man met Queen Elizabeth II at garden show in 1984

Beuel · Master gardener Bernd Werner remembers his meeting with Queen Elizabeth II in Liverpool in 1984. The news of the Queen's death saddened him.

Queen Elizabeth II greets Bernd Werner with a handshake at a garden exhibition in Liverpool, UK, in 1984.

Queen Elizabeth II greets Bernd Werner with a handshake at a garden exhibition in Liverpool, UK, in 1984.

Foto: Benjamin Westhoff

Although Bernd Werner took the news of the death of the British Queen with composure, the man from Beuel felt sadness. "Anyone who has met this woman will never forget her," says the 85-year-old. It was an impressive moment when Queen Elizabeth II greeted him with a handshake.

That moment was in May 1984, when Werner was participating in the International Horticultural Show in Liverpool on behalf of the Federal Republic of Germany as the responsible Commissioner General of the Central Association of German Horticulture.

Lunch together with Elizabeth II

To this day, Werner considers it a special honour that he was allowed to guide the Queen through the "German Garden". Elizabeth II commented on the tour during the subsequent joint lunch in the British Pavilion with the gratifying observation that the idea of the German Garden Show would now also be realised in her country.

Werner was predestined to guide the Queen through the garden and tell her about the Federal Garden Shows. The master gardener from Beuel was in the limelight at the 1979 Federal Garden Show in Bonn for many reasons. Of course, he was in demand as an expert on everything that blooms. But for his professional association, he and his wife Karin also appeared as Bonn's Prince and Princess at that time.

Prince Carnival in the year of the Federal Garden Show in Bonn

The motto of the season was "Jedem Jeck sing Blömche". As prince and princess, they distributed 60,000 Strüßjer during the fool's season with a lot of support from other Bonn gardening businesses. "It was one of the best times in our lives," Karin and Bernd Werner fondly recall of their reign. However, according to the former prince: "Today we only experience carnival from the role of observers."

Laudation of the "Lady Thatcher" rose

Incidentally, Bernd Werner travelled to the island a second time in 1984. At the end of August, he was the godfather at the christening of a new rose variety named "Lady Thatcher". This ceremony took place at 10 Downing Street in London because the schedule of the British head of government Margret Thatcher did not allow a trip to Liverpool at that time. At the christening, Werner gave the laudation - combined with a technical explanation of the rose's breeding successes.

The rose did not actually play the main role in the Werner nursery family. The family was much more known in Bonn and the region under the title "Dahlia Werner". Bernd Werner came from a dahlia dynasty. Father Heinz was one of the most successful and well-known dahlia breeders in Europe.

Dahlia dynasty Werner was well known in Bonn

But already in 1976, son Bernd stopped dahlia cultivation: "When the city of Bonn forbade me to continue diverting water from the Ankerbach to irrigate the dahlias, I stopped cultivating dahlias from one day to the next. And this despite the fact that the cupboards at the farm were full of growers' trophies. Growing them with municipal tap water would have made the flowers so expensive that I wouldn't have been able to sell them."

Today, the Bistro Dahlienfeld at the police headquarters in Ramersdorf is still a reminder of the Werners' most famous dahlia field. Thousands of dahlias in yellow and red bloomed where the police headquarters stands until the mid-1970s.

Original text: Holger Willcke

Translation: Mareike Graep

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