An Occasional Page
by Dave Staines
(This article was prepared in late July)
A: The seedling beds
beginning to show a little colour.
B: Buds that I have chosen for the shows I hope to compete
in. The discs are 9" plastic plates and the larger ones are Polystyrene
ceiling tiles. I cut these too large, wishful thinking perhaps!, and I
will cut them down to 9" before they are used again. A slot is cut in
the disc as seen to allow the disc to be placed, very gently, behind the
bloom and a bloom support is then placed behind the disc to hold it
tight to the back of the bloom. Regular adjustment of the supports
is required to maintain contact between the disc and the back petals of
the bloom. A close eye needs to be kept on the leaves so that they
don't touch the bloom and any that can't be moved out of the way should
either be reduced in size or removed completely, but remember the plant
will require to die back naturally at the end of the season so don't
remove all the leaves!! You will notice the bottom vents on the
left are closed and the ones above are partially closed. We had
very high winds to contend with on the day so I adjusted them to prevent
the discs from blowing the plants over.
C: The weather has improved, the vents are open and the
excitement mounts as the blooms expand!! I have placed a few cuttings in
5" pots in the spaces on the benches on the right but they won't
interfere with the show blooms as they will be removed for the shows
before they get tall enough to touch them. At the other end of the
central staging I have a number of pot plants growing, two of which are
a seedling that I hope will make it to our Area Show on
August 2nd and 3rd.
D: The sunny weather may have put paid to my plans though as
some of the blooms are edging already. The edges of the petals burn, as
seen on the larger bloom on the left, which make them unsuitable for
showing. Notice also the distorted bloom which will need to be
removed before the plant could be shown in exhibition. This plant won't
make our show although it will add some colour to the greenhouse as the
E: A single bloom being
grown for the Cut Bloom classes that has a second centre coming from the
side of the bloom. Another one that won't make the show bench.
It's a reality check when "hopefuls" let you down.
F: At least "Fred Martin" didn't let me down at Wakefield a week
before our local Area Show.
G: Our local Area Show display at Baytrees to commemorate the 60th
Anniversary of The National Begonia Society.
H: One pot from our Three Pot exhibit. This is "Tahiti".
I: Another pot from
our Three Pot exhibit. This is "Whispers".
J: The third pot from our Three Pot exhibit. This is the
seedling I mentioned earlier and it gave me the greatest pleasure when
Christine Dickinson allowed me to name it for her late father, Stan
K: Christine Dickinson with "Stan Dickinson" and yours truly.
Check out the "Shows Page" for more pictures of the Baytrees Show.
L: Time to begin a closer inspection of the seedling beds to see if
there is anything promising lurking amongst them. This will go on
for a number of weeks and I shall place a cane beside any that I
consider worth trialing in the greenhouse next year. These plants will
have all growth stopped by removing all growing tips, blooms and side
shoots and a close watch will be kept on them to remove any signs of
further growth as the season progresses. Each "chosen" plant will
then receive a good watering with a Sulphate of Potash feed made up as
one level teaspoon to a two gallon watering can. A tip when making this
up is to use a small amount of boiling water to dissolve the powder
before adding it to the cold water in the can as Sulphate of Potash is
notoriously difficult to dissolve in cold water. A second dose at
the same strength is given around the middle to end of September. This
helps to ripen the tuber, and I find I get reasonably sized plump tubers
when I harvest them by using this method.
BEGONIAS MY HOBBY by DAVE STAINES