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CULTURAL DIARY   2016
Michael Richardson's Diary  2016

National Society Cut bloom Champion 2014

Michael's 2015 Diary

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2016 Diary Episode  14 - November

- NovemberSaturday 22th October
A controversial start to this episode – I think I have been affected by Global Weirding this year – yes you heard me right Global Weirding – that’s the new phrase for strange weather events.
My adult plants have gone from green plants that I have just stopped watering to nearly nothing in less than 3 weeks.
The reason why have I come to this conclusion is because not only have my plants grown totally differently than any other year – especially when you consider I have grown them in the exact same way – but the way they have gone down as well.
I found a lot of my stems have started to go down from the base and not from the top of the plant and down, and it was not stem rot….
    1st. The leaves yellowed and fell off as normal.
    2nd. But the stems have gone back from the bottom up – they just “crystalized” and came away.

On Wednesday 19th October -
I received an email from Tony Shepherdson, to say his plants are going down faster than usual.
It seems at least I am not alone with in encountering this problem this year.
    **I have since spoken to Dave Weatherby who again has suffered with the issue and reckons it’s down to the fact it’s gone very damp at the wrong time of year. 

Sunday 23rd October
My cuttings are still growing, the odd leaf has yellowed and fallen off, however they are still being watered and fed.
Cutting tubers are now in full production as you can see by the picture to the left of a cutting in a 1.5litre pot as it shows a cutting tuber that is at least 3.5inch’s across in size and it’s still developing.
Also in a number of other pots I am finding the pots being pushed out of shape by the developing cutting tuber as demonstrated by the picture to the right.

And my specialty growing cutting tubers above the compost as you can see by the picture to the left.

My “outside” begonia that Terry Tasker kindly gave last year is still growing as you can see by the picture to the right and at present it is flowering – I had to ask Terry for the name so here goes, B.grandi subsp.evansiana (if its spelt wrong then it’s my fault not Terrys).

 

Tuesday 25th October
Today I “dug” up all my Richard Galle tubers and placed them in plastic mushroom trays before putting them under the staging to dry out slowly as the stems and leaves were dropping very quickly. 

Saturday 29th October
As you can see by the pictures to the left and right some of my main stems that have dropped off early due to my theory of Global Weirding and have now been de-scabbed – whilst late basal cuttings are still visible.
However some stems have come away from the top of the tuber today so I just dried the wound off with some kitchen roll and gave them a little dusting of Sulphur. Then I took the root ball out of the pot turned it upside and took a little compost off from around the root ball then I turned the root ball the right way up and sat it back in its pot. This will let air get around the sides of the root ball and help dry it out quicker. 

Tuesday 1st November -
Woke up this morning for work to find my car white, due to a frost and a hard one at that – it was still at -3°c at 05:00am. Maybe this is a prelude to a cold winter which we have not had for a year or so, so a lot of bugs etc will be controlled with the help of mother-nature for a change.  

Wednesday 2nd November -
End of October 2016 summary – It is official…. it’s been one of the driest and warmest Autumns for a number of years – if this is so then answer me this –
Why have our plants gone done so fast, I’ve experienced this and I have mentioned that Tony Shepherdson has as well and this afternoon I ran into none other than Ronnie Knight. During our conversation Ronnie also mentioned that his plants had gone back a lot earlier than normal.
So I go back to the phrase which I started this edition – Global Weirding. 

Wednesday 9th November
Woke up this morning and left my house to find the tops of the moors at the back of my house covered in snow. Maybe the weather forecasters warning us that we are going to suffer with snow this winter are right, well they have a 50-50 chance don’t they. 

Sunday 13th November

My cuttings are just clinging on as most of the leaves have turned golden yellow now as you can see by the picture  to the left.
I have moved 90% of my cuttings into my main greenhouse and the ones I could not get in have been put into my propagating greenhouse with my seedlings. That means I can put a heater in 2 greenhouses to keep them frost free and leave the third empty – as I plan to start washing my pots soon and they can stand and dry in there. 


My main greenhouse has now
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The bulk of my cuttings in it as per the picture to the left.
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The last 40 plants still to come out of their pots as you can also see by the picture to the left.
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Pots stacked up with just the tuber and label in – waiting for the final brush off and de-scabbing as you can see by the picture to the right. 

Friday 18th November
Woke up this morning to find everything covered by a layer of snow. 

Well that’s about me with regards sharing this 2 year Cultural Diary journey with you. I just want to say thank you for putting up with my ramblings which at times were highly opinioned. 

However on Sunday 27th November is our last trip to Scotland for this year as I am giving a talk to the South West of Scotland Begonia Society and as normal Mr Bryce & Mr Weatherby will be with me. 

Until next time….

This concludes Michael's very comprehensive and interesting Diary in which over the past two years he has shared his growing experiences, successes and failures with us, many thanks Mike it has been very good reading.
 However he still has one more journey to share with us, his final excursion north for this year
.... and next year he will be back with something new.
                                                                                                                                       Editor

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Michael's 2016 Diary

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