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South West Visit
July 2009
Ian Rhys Williams

   Four members of the South Wales Area group, were invited to tour the glasshouses of some of the leading growers in the South West Area.  Derek Bonner, Danny Davies, Ralph Trinder and I, set out early to cross the Severn Bridge on Thursday, 30th. July, journeying Southward, following the directions given by the Sat Nav; towards the land where the cider apples grow - Somerset.

    It had rained 'Cats and Dogs' throughout the night and early morning and the roads were 'awash' with large puddles. However, the sun began to smile and warmed the damp air. Our first port of call, on our way, was Blackmore and Langdon. We were greeted by Rosemary and Steven Langdon, who, as always, gave us a warm welcome.  The Show house was almost empty as most of the pot blooms had been used earlier in the season for their award winning display, which achieved a Gold Medal at Chelsea Flower Show. The rest of the greenhouses though, were full of thousands of cutting tubers as far as the eye could see.  Rosemary held a pot of Millie, which is to be released at the end of the Season. By all accounts it is one of the best pinks to be released for some time and should make an excellent Show specimen. Another promising pot we saw was Olivia, which was released last year.

      Page 1 - John Chiswell

   After a brief stay, we made tracks towards Chilcompton, to see John Chiswell's glasshouses, two days prior to the Porchester Show. Also present to greet us was Gary Dando, the South West Representative. John's main glasshouse was a rainbow of colour. The majority of his blooms had reached their optimum size. Inside the glasshouse, was a constant flow of fresh cooling air. This was achieved by a large fan at the rear of the glasshouse and John had removed the glass from whole pine-end [ North side ]. This helped to prevent mildew, which has plagued many growers this year. John keeps most of his plants in a very large net house. It keeps cool even during the warmest periods and has a constant stream of cooling air throughout. The light is subdued where the begonias thrive. John's begonias looked in A1 condition, in both his net house and glasshouses.

A. John's 'Best in Show', bloom of Beryl Rhodes, at Bideford, nine days before the Show.
B. John in his glasshouse checking his blooms, ready for the Porchester Show in two days time. Most have reached their full potential of nine inches- plus, with good depth. He has timed his stopping dates, to accommodate both Shows at Portchester and Bideford. If any of the two blooms are too advanced, he will remove them into the net house, to 'slow' their progress, in order that they do not edge too early.
C. On this side of the glasshouse, are John's second batch of plants, timed for the National. Have you noticed the large fan at the rear, and that most of the glass has been removed?
D and E. John's net house. These plant are for the National. Look carefully at the condition and health of the plants. The stems are thick and sturdy,a picture of health. The begonias seem to revel in these conditions - subdued light, with ample air flow. F. Lindsey Smith. G. El Star. In the background top left is Emily Rose and top right Beryl Rhodes.  H. Jean Ishbell. I.  John's seedling.
 J. Dr. Eric Catterall.  K. Snowbird,  L. Emily Rose.  M. Mrs A. Jeffrey.  N. Golden Hind.  O. Gypsy.

A

Beryl Rhodes

B

John in his glasshouse

C

General view, plants for the National

D

Shade house ready for the National

E

More blooms for the National

F

Lindsey Smith

G

El Star

H

Jean Ishbell

I

John's seedling

J

Dr. Eric Catterall

K

Snowbird

L

Emily Rose

M

 Mrs A.Jeffrey

N

Golden Hind

O

Gypsy

IAN'S SOUTH WEST VISIT 2009
Page 2 -Ron Haines          Gary Dando Part 1          Gary Dando Part 2          Page 4 - Lakin Earl

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