I woke up to another frost
covered car at 5am as illustrated in the picture to the left,
but instead of going to work I was heading to
Blackburn and the home of
Robert Bryce where I was also meeting up with Dave Weatherby and Terry
Tasker there as well.
add at this point that Terry Tasker was making this journey with some
trepidation due to certain shenanigans that went on when he gave a
talk to the South West Area back in April which involved one certain
ex-pat named Phil Champion.
So I left at 0530am to get
to Mr Bryce’s home for 6am – now at this point my warped sense of humor
always brings a smile to my face driving over to Robert's at this time of
the morning because its probably the only times of the year where Robert
Bryce, and Terry Tasker for that matter of fact, see 2 x 6 o’clocks (0600am
& 1800hrs) in one day.
arriving at Mr Bryce’s home I found Terry & Dave Weatherby had
already arrived and were having a brew. Robert then showed us where he
stood with his plants at present and I hope he does not mind me saying
but I think it’s the worst I have ever seen them – he has lost a lot of
tubers over winter as his priorities have been elsewhere with his
So once again I was acting
as chauffer, carer and photographer for the day – you can see the x3
golden oldies in the picture (right) I took just before we departed, from left to right we have Robert Bryce NBS Bulletin Editor,
Terry Tasker NBS President and Dave Weatherby NBS North West Area Rep.
approx. 0630 hrs when we left Blackburn and headed North for our first
stop of the day and that was Scotland – South Lanarkshire - Coalburn and
the home of John & Mairi Hamilton.
John & Mairi Hamilton’s
arrived at Coalburn and the Hamilton household for just after 9am only
to find the curtains shut – first thoughts were “oh dear we are
too early and everyone is still in bed”, then Mairi's head
appeared between the curtains – we could then hear their x2 dogs barking
and John's head appeared as if my magic from behind the garden
gate. Now John doesn’t usually greet us as we arrive, we usually find
him busy working away in his greenhouses but we did have Dave “the gate
breaker” Weatherby with us and the last time we called and visited John's
he broke his gate clean off – then blamed John's shoddy workmanship
saying it was only held on by 1 screw….. Needless to say John has now
x2 gates fitted just in case.
straight to his greenhouses, and as you can see by the set of pictures
below, Mairi had done a fantastic job keeping on top of them whilst John
has been snowed under with work etc.
Left to right:
1 The view that greets you when you go into the main greenhouse.
2 A monster of a plant that was at the top of their main
3 A section of plants in the centre section of his greenhouse
complex where he has altered the roof.
4 Dave Weatherby holding a plant from out of this section just to give you
some scale to see the size of the plants.
home my plants had been showing some weird marks and colours on the
leafs, I noticed that John had the same kind of markings & colours so
after asking him he explained about the effects of the cold etc on the
plant – my fears were laid to rest so to speak, so inside I sighed a
big sigh of relief.
Now at some point during
the conversations it was mentioned that John & Mairi had been coaxed
into having “Beachgrove garden” cameras visit their garden later in the
year so a lot of bedding plants were required and with John being a
canny Scot he had stripped his bedding begonias.
Left to right:
1 & 2 His begonia bedding plants growing, but had already been stripped
of its first
begonia bedding cuttings rooted and ready to be potted on – and believe
it or not that was Mairi’s job for the afternoon.
went back to the house where John brought out a pot full of tea so we had a
brew and Mairi joined us with the x2 dogs, so we had a chat and put the
world to rights as well as touching on the subject of begonias. We would
be seeing John later at the meeting but we had to get to our second
stop, so we said our farewells to John & Mairi and departed.
Robert & Margaret Nelson's
We arrived at Carluke and
Robert Nelson's home for 1030ish and found him near his main greenhouse
checked that out first. As you can see by the
the left Robert had already got his plants out into his main greenhouse
and as you can see he had no insulation up as well.
Not long after we had
arrived Tony Shepherdson and Colin Elsworth arrived and joined us all
looking around Robert's greenhouses and garden.
In the picture you can
also see some hanging baskets hung to the greenhouse roof, the green
ones were just high enough where your head missed them but the white one
was another story. I lost count the amount of times it “attacked” the
The eagled eyed amongst
you will notice that Robert places an empty flower pot between each
plant to help him space them out.
Now one thing that did
cause a hot topic for discussion was that Robert was feeding a balanced
Chempak feed already directly into the pot….
per my plants, Johns & Roberts plants were all showing signs of the
effect of cold weather – if you remember this time last year we had
already had a good two weeks of warm sunny weather – yet in May 2019 we
have had just the odd couple of days but the night
temperatures are still dropping right out to close to freezing, below
are x4 pictures showing some of the leaf issues I have suffered with –
The picture left shows Robert Nelson amongst his plants in his “middle” greenhouse.
picture right shows some very healthy cuttings. Robert just covers
the base of his propagator that you can see in the picture with his
medium that he uses for striking his cuttings in. He then takes
them and just sticks them in en mass and puts the label with the
name of that variety at the side of the relevant cutting and as you can
see this way certainly works for him as they look happy and healthy.
again Margaret Nelson spoilt us with providing breakfast for us all, and
after a good chat we had one more look round. Just before we left I took
the following picture of them all:
From left to right – Terry Tasker,
Robert Bryce, Robert Nelson, Colin Elsworth, Margaret Nelson,
Dave Weatherby & Tony Shepherdson.
Scottish Begonia Society meeting and Phil Champion's talk
meeting was being held at a new venue, at Tesco’s in Coatbridge – They
have a “community room” that you can book and use for free. In these
times the cost saving on not having to pay for a meeting room will
certainly be a way forward for most societies and areas meetings with
dwindling memberships and rising costs.
Phil Champion had a major
setback 3 days before the meeting as his computer crashed losing his
“talk” so on Saturday the day before the meeting he spent most of the
day cobbling together a talk – and all credit to Phil he did a cracking
job. His talk was based around his 2018 growing season which culminated
in him winning
another National Begonia Society 12 board Championship,
he also stated that he aimed to win it again this year – so the
challenge for us is to stop him.
It was a
huge slice of luck for Terry Tasker as it meant he got off lightly with
Phil Champions “retaliation” for that scandalous “Michael Begon” picture
that mysteriously surfaced on the National Begonia Societies Facebook
There was a plant sale
that was done by the way of raffle tickets, everyone was issued a raffle
ticket on arrival and as the ticket numbers were pulled out of the hat
the person with the drawn ticket got first pick of what was
there and just took that plant and paid for it. The tickets were drawn
until all the plants had gone.
meeting had finished there was to be a Scottish Begonia Society
committee meeting, so we said our farewells and headed to the car and
The Journey home
way home we had what sounded like chanting from the terraces in the back
of the car with Robert Bryce singing “We're Man City and we fight fight
fight to the end” and “Champione Champione” since he was a Manchester City
fan and we had just finished listening to the match on the radio and due
to their win they had won the Premier League title – also on the
back seat was Dave Weatherday who in the meantime had gone to plant nod
– as you can see by the final picture to the right.
another great trip North, the friendships – the banter and humour are
what makes it all worthwhile and our hobby the pleasure that it is.