A: Time now for me
to begin re-arranging the staging as I mentioned on my
"Preparations" page under "D". This will mean I will need to put most of the plants
outside whilst I move the staging around but there is a plus as it means
I can clean the floor. I shall need to be selective when replacing the
plants as many of these won't fit back on the staging with the new
lay-out. Have you noticed the small leaf plant on the front corner of
the lower staging on the right? This is B.Veitchii, one of the original
Andean tuberous species that today's large tuberous doubles have been
bred from. As this is the only plant I have of it I'm loathe to put it
where I can't see it in case something happens to it and I lose it.
B: With the plants now outside with some of the staging I
can check each plant separately. In this one's case I will raise the tie
and remove the two flower buds as they are not yet required as they will
be open before the shows they are being grown for.
C: As previously mentioned the buds are facing the
way the leaves point. The small red leaf on the right below the largest
bud is from a side shoot that is not required so I shall remove it at
this stage along with the two buds.
D: With the bud severed a portion of the stem is left on
the plant. A close watch should be kept on this as the plant will eject
this stump and it should be removed as it may cause rot between the leaf
axil if allowed to remain. When removing the topmost bud be careful not
to damage the growing tip as this is where the new embryo bud is forming
and this may well be the bud that will be allowed to grow and become the
E: This is it then.
The new lay-out and already I'm not sure about the centre staging as it
may be too high. As with my various compost mixes I'll decide if any
changes are needed at the end of the season. The plants you see here are
all single stem and are being grown for cut blooms which means allowing
only one bloom to grow on each plant. As only the flower is taken to the
show the clay pot you see on the right will not be seen by the judges.
Larger multi stemmed plants are behind these on the centre staging for
the pot plant classes. These are grown in plastic pots as they are
easier to clean before being placed on the show bench.
F: This is a three stem pot plant with a number of side shoots
growing between the leaf axils on each stem. I am now looking to begin
"dressing" this plant for placing on the show bench in due course.
G: Note how the younger leaves are pushing up beneath the
larger ones. These younger leaves are assisted by being lifted onto the
top of the larger one. I shall go right round the plant adjusting all
leaves where possible before placing the bloom supports in the pot where
the blooms will come through the leaves. A word of warning here. Do not
attempt to adjust the leaves if you have recently watered the plant as
they will be full of water and are likely to snap as you try to adjust
them. The best time to adjust them is just before you water the plant as
they will be more pliable.
H: The lowest side shoot on each stem will now have the
growing tip removed to encourage the two or three remaining leaves to
grow which will help in filling out the base of the plant with leaves.
No flowers are grown on these lower stems so any buds that may be
present are also removed. When growing your plants for show timing what
you do and when is important as you will want your plants and blooms at
their peak on the day of judging.
I: These are the
bloom supports I mainly use to hold the fully open flowers up. The green
one on the left is available from Blackmore & Langdon and the white one
on the right is available from The National Begonia Society. Each are
designed to extend to support the bloom when it is fully open and may be
used to "encourage" the bloom to move to where you want it. The B&L one
is pushed upwards whereas the N.B.S. one has the "D" spring depressed
between finger and thumb and raised. Releasing the spring locks the
support in place. Whichever type is used special care should be taken
not to push the bloom off the plant when adjusting it. It is good
practice to test the support before placing it in the pot and should it
be found that it sticks it should be extended fully and the stems given
a rub down with emery paper to help remove any impediments to the smooth
flow of the stems.
J: Two supports in place ready to be raised to support the
blooms that will eventually appear above them. Note how the "D" springs
face where I can get hold of them. A little thought now will make things
much easier later.
K: Many of the cuttings are now rooted and potted into 3"
pots. The bench on the other side is also full of 3" pots with some
possibly becoming "parents" of next years seedlings.
L: The seedlings now planted in the front garden beds. These
are laid out in each cross so when they flower the colours are in
blocks. The label of the cross is pushed down beside the brick at the
beginning of the row so I can relate to the parentage in future should
anything "special" appear.
BEGONIAS MY HOBBY by DAVE STAINES