Parker's South Wales Diary
14th. January to 13th.
January to 13th.
14th. January What a difference a day makes,
yesterday six inches of snow on the ground and freezing temperatures.
Today snow almost completely gone and the temperature up to 8°c. I
suppose the is a benefit of living within half a mile from the sea, the
down size is with the easterly winds in winter the air temperature is
extremely cold, and in the summer the westerly winds bring salt laden
air into the hospice gardens restricting the type of plants I can grow
in the garden and hanging baskets. (The Hospice gardens are on the cliff
tops only 500 yards from the sea).
21st. January No real change at night
still very cold with the pond remaining frozen, but the days are quite
nice although it remains very cold and the pond has not lost its icecap
for more the two weeks now.
25th. January (A) Decided
to start my small cuttings tubers that were taken later in the season,
when I say start they were not really dormant but had remained in the
7cm plastic pots that they were grown in, but had died down early
December. They remain in the original pots and have been put in the
propagator on a temperature of 15°c, they have also been covered with a
layer of peat. I am not sure if this is the correct way but we will soon
(B) The larger cuttings tubers
that were growing in the 4½ inch pots will be started later in the
(C) I have also put some of my
Le Flamboyant tubers on the sand bed to try and get some extra cuttings
for the window box display I have planned for the summer.
31st. January. Very cold today, unable to work on the
frozen garden, and not enough work in the small warm glasshouse as all
the propagating space is being used. I decided to spend one hour sitting
by the window in the kitchen from 10am to 11am and conduct the RSPB bird
watch, I must say this was the most pleasant hour I have spent for a
long time, the hours passed as quick as my hour lunch break used to pass
when I was working.
10 species of bird were spotted on my bird feeder during this hour.
February 1st. seems to be carrying the winter
forward, extremely cold last night with my outdoor max/min thermometer
showing a low of - 6°c.
February 2nd. to 7th. What a change in the
weather it seems almost spring like for the last four days, the Acers in my
Oriental style garden have started to show the buds swelling and the
fish have started to swim near the surface in the long pond. Down at the
Hospice gardens all the basket and displays of Winter flowering pansies
and the garden displays of Cyclamen, Wallflowers, and Sweet William have
picked up from the sad state of being frozen solid and all look good
with new flowers showing after an hour spent dead heading the mushy mess
left after the frost. At last we might be starting to see the beginning
(D) (E) As you can see by this photo
the hospice is situated on the cliff top, and on a good day it is a
pleasure to work in the gardens. All the garden features have been
created over the last four years since my retirement with the help of a
generous financial backer and hard graft by the volunteer team from a
very boring lawn and shrubs.
February 8th. Should have kept my mouth shut, Weather
has turned for the worst today extremely cold with a North Easterly wind
and flurries of snow. When will we be able to start talking Begonias. I
received a large delivery of plants for my wife`s nature garden to help
the birds and the bumble bees, after spending a couple of hours
unpacking the plants and labelling them up in the cold glasshouse my
fingers felt as if the were about to drop off.
My wife had attended a lecture at the local Horticultural Society on the
decreasing number of bumble bees and the lecturer had informed the
meeting that flowers such as the Large Flowered Begonias and other
double type flowers did not help the bees to get pollen and nectar.
Hence the new plants nature garden.
(F) The first half tray of the
ruffled has produced 160 seedlings seen here in small sectioned
container trays, the Picottee`s don`t seem to be doing so well and will
only give me about 100 seedlings from the whole packet. But not a bad
result from my first attempt to propagate from seed.
February 11th. Woke up early this morning to a
spectacular fine morning, had breakfast and decided to tackle the
tidying up of the nature garden ready to put in the newly arrived
plants. What a shock I had when I went outdoors, it felt like the North
pole The outdoor thermometer recording minus 4°c but with the biting
easterly wind felt like minus 20. I tried to carry on but everything was
frozen solid even the spade was frozen in the ground, another couple of
hours spent in the greenhouse and the indoors to catch up with this
months web diary.
(G) This is some of my foliage begonias
that have been really neglected under the staging. They seemed to have
survived well, as normally in my short couple of years in trying to grow
them through the winter they normally die back and defoliate.
(H) This is one of my cane begonias
I was advised to cut back to the first node on each stem before putting
away for the winter, it looks a disaster, will it come back as I am a
complete novice and cannot find much info on cane begonias. Can somebody
contact me and advise
February 13th. Sun out clear fine day but
the wind is absolutely biting cold, have decided to stay in the
greenhouse and bring my over wintered corms out of hibernation and check
them over to see how many had succumbed to the frosting at the beginning
of December. I found 14 had completely rotted to a brown mess 1 was
dodgy, I have cut out the brown to a pink section of the corm and dusted
with Sulphur powder, I would not have bothered but it is the only one of
that variety I have, why couldn`t it have been a Mrs Mc I have dozens of
these. Ho well let hope the next month of my diary will show more of
good Spring weather and more Begonia growing and less moaning about the
14th. December 2009 to 13th.
Some of the frosted tubers drying out.
Tubers stored in bags.
Half seed tray of Basket Begonia seedlings.
View of the large propagator.
19th. December a
disaster this morning. On checking my covered growing area where my 54
pots were still dying down due to the very mild Autumn I found that the
temperature had dropped to -8c overnight and all the plant were well and
truly blackened and the foliage had fallen, luckily I had put fleece
over them the night before as a precaution even though frost had not
been forecast. Most of the pots were completely
frozen on the top of the compost but in most cases the soil in the pots
was still soft. I will have to wait and see if the frost damaged many
26th. December all the
tubers have now been harvested and most are dry enough to be cleaned and
put to bed, some look as if the will not survive the dormancy as when I
removed the stem scab there was brown line in the tuber flesh, but all
have been dusted with Sulphur powder and placed into individual paper
bags has I have always done with my Dutch garden tubers (each tuber
labelled and the names on the bags a puff of sulphur is also squirted
into each bag. will check regularly and discard the rotting tubers if
any. And start looking for replacements if needed. (Photo
1st. January 2010. Sowed my Christmas present today
(I had seeds of Hanging basket begonias from Antonelli Bros in America)
200 Ruffled, and 200 Picottee these have been sown in my propagator
indoors in an alcove at the top of the stairs to save heat in the glass
at least six inches of snow on the ground this
morning. (over the tops of my wellingtons with the drifting in front of
the greenhouse door).
8th. January Have now
started up one of my heat mats with a clotch covering it is 2 mts long
and ½ metre wide this is needed to sow my 500 geranium seeds that will
be sold to fund my begonia displays at the Hospice and cover most of my
greenhouse heating bill. (Photo D)
I hope to see warmer weather soon
we have had 20 days of below 0c temperature and the heating has been on
in the greenhouse to keep the inside at 5c not good for the bank
13th. January Woke up to even more snow about 5 inches
had fallen over night, but the very cold NE wind has gone and it now
feels a lot warmer but still about freezing. The Geranium seeds seem to
be in a great hurry to germinate and about half of the first 250 have
germinated in the propagator.
Also the Basket Begonia seeds in
my indoor propagator have started to germinate.
My foliage begonias i.e. Beg Rex
and Cane types have managed to get through the winter so far in full
leaf, They are stashed away under one of my benches in the greenhouse
and have more or less been forgotten, in other years I have tended to
mollycoddle them and by this stage all the leaves would have fallen off .
14th. June to 13th.
April to 13th.May
March to 13th.April
February to 13th.March
The South Wales Area
South Wales Area Show 2009