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Countdown
to the National Show   2017

Phil Champion
National Society Champion 12 Cut Blooms1016
British Begonia Champion 12 Cut Blooms 2016

Week 1     Week 2     Week 3

WEEK 4  17th. July

With still nearly 4 weeks still to go at last some colour is appearing with buds starting to push through.
Time to get the collars ready, I have polystyrene & cardboard ones, they are both pizza bases 10 inch diameter. I tie all my blooms to the stake, can't use the bloom supports the stirrups are too small. By not allowing a leaf to draw up the bloom the stem is much stronger as you can see in the picture.
Do not be too eager to fit the collars, nothing worse than getting to this stage & knocking buds off. Some varieties tend to look down especially Linda Jackson so I tie it up early to help it look up and use a peg to keep it that way.
Happy at the moment  it's still early days but I'm feeling happier, buds are looking good.
 


Soon to be full of colour


Polystyrene & cardboard collars.


10 inch collars


First collar


All tied up


Strong flower stem


Linda Jackson tied up early


Tequila Sunrise


Sweet Dreams

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 WEEK 3   10th. July

Still some 5 weeks to go although everything looks healthy & well for some reason, I feel it may be a bit of a struggle this year.
The reasons for my thoughts? Early in the year I had quite a few plants that went blind, not that unusual but it was the number of plants that shocked me. Even plants that were growing well further into the season have added to that number by going blind. Plants at the time of bud selection seem to have gone into a cluster of buds & the growing tip has disappeared. Also plants have just turned into some form of flower bud again gone blind.
To top it all most of the pot plants I am growing many of the first flowers are deformed, misshaped double centred & the following flowers don't look like they are improving.
The plants in my shade area (look after themselves) that have been rejected for show purposes are not producing good blooms.

The weather here in the south west of Scotland has been on the cool side & the forecast for the next week is much the same. I'm so not missing the hot sultry days & nights of the south. Buds are now starting to push through & I use a Cotton wool substitute to help put the buds into position, it's not for any type of protection.
 After removing unwanted buds remember to keep checking for the left over stem that falls, it may lodge in the leaf access & rot resulting in more problems and another wasted plant.
Remember to listen & watch your plants they will tell & show you when things need addressing
This plant up to the 4th leaf was growing steady. Then you can clearly see a slow down in growth, a feed of calcium nitrate & the plant is back on track. Other than a feed of calcium nitrate no other feeding has been required, if any do it would be a balanced feed.
 


General view


Seasons growth pattern


60 day Lyndsay Smith


A cluster of buds


Multi centred


Gone blind


Another gone funny


Another not right


More rubbish


Rejected flower stem


Another that won't be flowering


Positioning the bloom

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 WEEK 2   3rd. July

All plants have now had their buds secured, twitching time has arrived. Just to help things out a little, I also have some early cuttings taken in March in my attempt to see if I could get them to flower in the same year. They were intended for the British Championship at Dundee in September, but have grown much better than anticipated so 15 have been selected for the National.
Looking through my plants it appears that the smaller buds are the ones I have selected and  I'm already having doubts that I've selected the wrong ones.
At the same time as selecting the bud the side buds are removed as you can see they can be removed when quite small but out of 140 plants 3 have lost the chance to flower,  Whoops.
 


A March cutting


15 cuttings ready for flowering


Smaller bud selected


A very small bud


Twitching time

Side shoots


Whoops!

Countdown Title page
Right or wrong, only time will tell

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 Week 1    26th. June
It's Monday 26th. June 47 days to the National at Shrewsbury, I will keep you updated on how things are going.

The first blooms were timed at 60 days so the first buds have been selected some 13 days ago.
Over the last few days the likes of Anniversary, Tom Brownlee, & Sweet Dreams have been stopped. The remaining plants will all be stopped over the next 5/6 days, worrying times from then on.
 You can see from the photos that the bud becomes the stem I don't use a leaf to draw up the sap. Once the bud is selected the 2 side buds are removed at the same time, the size of buds are selected at just over an inch.  


125 plants to be timed for the National


Buds ready for selection.

This bud selected at 60 days

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