The Rt Rev Barry Rogerson, who as Bishop of Bristol ordained the first Church of England woman priest in 1994, said this when he named the dahlia officially:
‘As a horticulturist my Father would have enjoyed this occasion, though his speciality was carnations. Bryn Bowles of West Harptree Nursery has propagated this beautiful new dahlia, and in accordance with the wishes of listeners to the BBC Sunday Programme it is named after Florence Li Tim-Oi to mark the centenary of her birth. Florence Li Tim-Oi, was the first woman in the Anglican Communion to be ordained. In the dark days of the Second World War, when the Anglican Church in Macau was without a priest, she was ordained by Bishop R O Hall.
For many in the long pilgrimage towards the ordination of women as priests in the Church of England, she was a light at the end of a tunnel. After her death, the Li Tim-Oi Foundation was created to support women in the Two-Thirds World, who with few resources make significant and profound change for good in their communities. Folliott Sandford Pierpoint, who died when Florence was ten, wrote the hymn ‘For the beauty of the earth’ in which you will find these lines: ‘For each perfect gift of thine, to our race so freely given, graces human and divine, flowers of earth and buds of heaven.’ Which sums up this event, the beauty of this flower which is a remembrance of the beauty of Florence’s life and those who have followed in her footsteps – the buds of heaven.”
Father we give you thanks for the beauty of your creation which you allow human ingenuity to enhance, we name this Dahlia Florence Li Tim-Oi, in memory of one of your servants who led the way for many to follow, for the great benefit to your church and communities throughout the world. Bless O Lord this offering that through it Florence’s memory may be rekindled and her example followed in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
The dahlia is being propagated at the Knowle, Deddington, Banbury OX15 0TB. Potted plants are available for £10 – payable to ‘Li Tim-Oi Foundation’