National Begonia Society
National Society Champion 12 Cut
Scottish Begonia Society
British Begonia Champion 12 Cut Blooms 2016
Southport Flower Show NBS 12
Cut Bloom Champion 2016
Visited Sunday 25th. June
Not only was the above a fantastic achievement on its own but is even
greater when you consider he did not move to his new home until early
2016 or start his tubers until April 2016.
Sunday 25th June
Before I start this article I will say that Mr. Champion ran from a
camera quicker than me, which is unless it’s to be photographed by one
of his winning boards – so I have had to use “cheap models” for the day
as in Terry Talker, Bob Bryce and Dodgy Dave Weatherby.
Propagating greenhouse -
picture to the left shows his new propagating Greenhouse (this
is Ian Donaldson's old propagating greenhouse) that Phil acquired towards
the end of 2016 and is 20ft x 10ft.
Now due to certain greenhouse shading products being “diluted” or
altered so they are not as effective as they use to be, Phil has used
Titanium Dioxide (ordered on the internet) to mix with water and painted
it on to shade his propagating greenhouse.
Running down both sides of the greenhouse are x2
approx. 20ft x 4ft sided benches as you can see by the picture
to the right (and yes
Dave Weatherby checking out his varieties)! Now Phil has done away with
the traditional hotbox / propagator unit and installed “heated blankets”
as you can see by the picture to the left. He has placed a
thick layer of polystyrene on the base on the bench to prevent heat
lose, then laid the heated blanket on top of it with a sheet over it to
prevent it getting dirty or knocked about.
His tubers are started in pots containing either
Peat or Levington M2 Pot & Bedding Compost and just sat on the electric
blanket on the benches.
Bench on the left hand side -
The picture to the right are believe it or not this year's
cuttings and could produce a flower good enough to show, I asked Dave to
them up so you get some idea / scale to how good they looked.
picture to left shows some of Phil's seedlings that are a
little slow growing so he has left them here to help get them going.
To finish off this bench he had some rooted cuttings that had been
Underneath the bench on the left hand side running the length of it is a
shelf, on it you can see he has 9 small and 8 large propagators all
filled with cuttings. Under this shelf on the floor are
small propagators as you can see by the picture to the right.
*Phil mixes peat and sand and fills a tray with this mixture and just
“plants” his cuttings into it in as you can see by the picture
to the left – I must admit I thought he kept them a little too dry but
it defiantly works for him.
Bench on the right hand side -
The bench running down the right hand side carries all this year’s
potted up cuttings as per the picture to the right
shows. Underneath the bench towards the bottom end of the greenhouse Phil
has started to collect canes and rexes as per the photograph to
the left shows.
In front of his propagating greenhouse he has
made a patio shaded area to “house” some pendula varieties as you can
see by the
picture to the right.
As per the picture to the left, running down the outside of the
right hand side of his propagating greenhouse is another shaded area
where he puts his plants that are not up to scratch for what he wants.
The picture right shows his main
greenhouse. a cavernous 30ft x 20ft. For ventilation the entire
length of the greenhouse roof opens up.
uses an expensive type of shading to protect his plants from the sun as
you can see by the pictures to the left. Terry Tasker and Dave Weatherby
have looked it up on the internet and priced a roll of this material
with the idea to shade their greenhouses with it as well.
The picture to the left shows you the jaw dropping sight as you
walk into his main greenhouse.
Plants on the first staging bench
aimed for the Welsh Show
Plants on the second staging bench aimed for the Southport Show
His plants on the third and fourth staging bench aimed
for the National Show at Shrewsbury.
Plants for Dundee
Now Phil placed a condition on our visit if we
brought Mr. Dodgy “Plant hunter” Weatherby and that was to ensure that
this new variety raised and named “Lo La” by Bob Robertson had to be
guarded by x2 “plant bodyguards” every time he went into Phil's main
greenhouse as you can see by the picture to the left – otherwise a leaf
of side shoot would have disappeared as if by magic.
Phil held nothing back and even wrote his special Johns Innes No2 mix
down on a piece of paper and gave it to Dave – and like me he uses a cement
mixer to the right to mix
his “composts” in – the only problem with using a mixer is that if
the mix is left in too long then the course peat will quickly turn to a
light / medium peat as its broken down by the mixer.
You can also see by the picture to the left he had a number of
storage drums under a section of staging and after some inquisitive
questioning from Terry Talker and Dodgy Dave, Phil kindly took the lid
off each drum and showed us the contents – just to show
he never had any “special” ingredients that he adds to his compost.
some monstrous developing buds
Additional happenings on this visit -
Before we left, I managed to get this picture
showing just some of Bob, Terrys and Dodgys ill-gotten gains - Rumor has
it that Mr. Weatherby has applied to have the National Collection of
Double Tuberous Begonias – as there are not many varieties left that he
does not own now.
Caught Terry having cuttings away from the front of Phils cottage as
shown on the picture to the right, you can tell he has been
spending too much time around Dave Weatherby, it will not be long before
this affliction spreads to Mr. Bryce as well as it seems its now
one of the funniest moments of the day was when Phil's wife asked Mr.
Bryce if he would take out a brew to Terry's son (me) – this was down to
some earlier banter whilst we were having something to eat.
Needless to say this led to a lot of laughter and jokes that lasted the
rest of the day – including me asking my “dad” if he wanted me to phone
“mum” and give her an eta for our arrival back home….
I would like to thank Phil for allowing me to write this article.