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May

Like the rest of the country we have just gone through a nice period of hot weather which has certainly helped things within the greenhouses. I have been potting up basket and container plants and they are now in my cold frame which is full.  I am making daily visits to a local supermarket in order to obtain the last of the bedding plants needed for a display in my front garden and if lucky that will be achieved within the next week. The residents of the small village that I stay in have decided to enter a local small village in bloom competition and as you can imagine money is tight. In order to help I decided to contact Clydeside Trading Society, Kirkmuirhill, Lanark, (sponsor the British Begonia 12 Cut Bloom Championship) on their behalf in an attempt to obtain some sponsorship and to my delight they have agree to help. I have to say that this did not surprise me as I have been a customer of theirs for a number of years and found them to be extremely helpful.

My cut bloom plants are quite short jointed but that is what I would expect at this time of year. Examination within the pot showed that they were ready to be moved into their final 5 litre pots ready to be flowered in approximately 14 weeks.  This has been done and I now have only 15 plants per 20 foot row. My pot plants are growing and have settled into the 7.5 litre pots although some of the cultivars such as Tigger and possibly Monica Bryce are growing so strongly that it will be difficult, if not impossible, to manipulate their basal shoots.  This does not really concern me as with these cultivars I have used more than one plant per pot which certainly makes the process easier. By leaving the larger leaves on the plants they should soon start to restrict the light levels in the areas surrounding the side shoots which in turn will weaken the side shoot growth making the process of manipulation that much easier (that is the theory anyway).

 As I said in a previous chapter I stopped the front basal stem on some of the pot plants that had three basal shoots forcing the plant to produce its side shoots sooner than it would normally have done. This has worked and I am hoping to possibly obtain side shoots on side shoots with two blooms on all side shoots, fingers crossed. I may decide that that volume of flowers will be too great as I would like to achieve large blooms resembling those of cut blooms on the pot plants (not asking a lot from the plants).  I am of the opinion that the greater the number of flowers on the plant then the greater the chance is of it producing smaller and shallower blooms.  

As my plants are now in their final pots I will restrict my diary entries to one per month as we are now entering a period when we have only disbudding and removal of side shoots to do. As you will see from the photographs below I have my canes in place and I also use sections of cardboard which I place behind the stem in order to ensure that the plant grows straight and not bend backwards. As I said at the beginning of this diary if you have any questions then these can be addressed via the NBS Facebook page.

 Description of Photographs

1.    Root system within a 3 litre pot. Should have been potted up about 10 days before this photograph was taken.

2, 3 and 4.  General views of left hand side of greenhouse showing single       stem plants.

5, 6, 7 and 8.  Closeup views of those plants.

9, 10 and 11.  Views of right hand side of greenhouse showing single stem and pot plants.

12.  Powder Puff stopped within a pot plant.

13.  Same age of plant not stopped.

14.  Closeup of Roy Hartley (a new cultivar for me).


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Cultural Diaries and previous articles 

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