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CULTURAL DIARY   2018
John Hamilton
National Begonia Society Cut Bloom Champion  2008   2002
British Begonia Champion  2012  2009  2008  2004
SBS Pot Plant Champion 2012

August

August sees the results of the years work and is basically the countdown to the flower show.  The first week saw the start of the final shaping of plants with stems adjusted to what will hopefully be their final flowering positions.  This is an ongoing process and plants will still need to be adjusted. The aim is to allow each bloom enough space to develop and be shown off to their full potential.

The feeding programme is altered three weeks before the show the balanced feed is changed to a high potash.  Again, fed full strength every watering with an occasional plain water to prevent the build-up of too much salt in the pot.  The flower stems are now in position and the blooms can be fed.  It is a continual task to remove leaves and pull blooms into position, but if this is done now it is easier later.

The final two weeks see the final positioning of the blooms using the nbs bloom supports, this was quite a task as in total I used almost 800, but the result is well worth it.  This is a slow process as blooms are easily damaged, and worst-case scenario knocked off.  The supports can be used to adjust the position of each individual bloom, but care must be exercised in not over tightening at this stage as the stem can be damaged resulting in the bloom rotting off later.

Getting pots to a show is another task and my solution is to wrap the blooms in cotton wool again a lengthy task but there is no point in growing for a year to damage them on the way to the show. The bloom supports are gently tightened to ensure each flower is fully supported and facing the correct way.  I prefer to do the final preparation in the greenhouse rather than at the show.  The cotton wool prevents the bounce that can damage the blooms in transit.  If two plants are close together in the van a drape of cotton wool over a plant can prevent damage from foliage rubbing the blooms. 

I water the plants before packing them in the van if required as the additional weight along with the wide bottom pots I use provides additional stability.  A good tip is to keep a supply of new pots the same size as they can be used to drop the plant into if the pot is becoming grubby, a small point but presentation is awarded points and worth doing well.

The final part of exhibition is to display them on the bench, I prefer forward facing pots for two reasons.  Firstly, I can display them for maximum effect in my own greenhouse, it is payback for all the hard work just to be able to sit and look at them late on at night, when for some reason begonias always seem to shine.  Secondly pots are almost always displayed against a tent wall and it seems a waste to only see half the flowers.


Anniversary now starting to show colour


Christina Barkley stems in position but some leaves will have to be removed


Sweet Dreams now positioned correctly


Tom Brownlee showing two leaves that will have to be removed


Dr Sparky three feet across and still growing


Vera Coates before adjusting stems and removing leaves


Vera Coates after removal


Charlotte before positioning


closer view of Charlotte

Charlotte after positioning

Vera Coates now starting to develop

night time view


flowers with support in


Charlotte before supports


Charlotte after supports


Golden Hind
 


Vera Coates


Charlotte
 


Charlotte


Colin Hamilton


Sweet Dreams not taken due to colour run and lack of depth of flower, supports can be seen


Eva Grace


plants ready for Show


extra plants used on
Society stand

           
            
Cotton wool


Society stand

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British Begonia Champion  12 Cut Blooms   2012

      
Scottish Championship 9 Pots    2012

John's Open Days
2016          2014          2013

   

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