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Begonias - My Hobby
An Occasional Page by Dave Staines
 SHOWTIME
(This article was prepared in late July)


A


B


C


D

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 season progresses.


E


F


G


H

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


J


K


L

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 Dickinson.
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
TITLE PAGE

INTRODUCTION          PREPARATIONS          SEED SOWING          PLANTING
PROPAGATING          CONSOLIDATING         
AUTUMN          HYBRIDIZATION          ...and Finally         

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