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My Way - by Derek L. Telford

Exhibiting

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Pot plants for exhibition.
  From the beginning my prime interest in begonia growing was to produce exhibition pot plants.  John Walker who showed at Southport at that time had a system which was to look for three basal shoots when growing in a 9" pot.
► He grew for frontal growing.
► I then developed my own growing method and I chose 360 viewing which enabled me to space the flowers in such a manner that each flower was clearly seen and not overlapping its neighbour.
► After the three canes had manoeuvred the basal shoots into position and after re-positioning the ties (quite a few times!) as the side shoots developed it became necessary to restrict the number of side shoots to four since I only wanted 5 flowers on each basal shoot - 15 flowers in all.
► Bloom supports are carefully inserted down through the foliage, into the compost at the edge of the pot to miss the tuber.  I do not handle the buds when I place the U shaped top behind them - only holding their stems.

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Plants staged on upturned pots - the canes with the yellow flags have had all buds secured at 1" diameter, i.e. size of an old 10p coin - 5 weeks before the show.

Split cane with 1" disc

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  The week following the securing of the flower buds all subsequent new buds should be removed - taking care to avoid touching the secured buds.
  The week following this (the second week) the growing tips of each branch should be nipped out to encourage the forthcoming flowers to present themselves above the foliage.
  During the subsequent three weeks care should be taken to carefully remove any obstructing foliage.

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The R.H.S pots are 9" with three stems per plant.  The benches are slatted cedar and are fitted 12" above ground level.

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End perspective of greenhouse.  It was designed to protect against weather.
When Bob Haslam was N.W. Rep. he advocated that begonias only require protection from the weather.

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My liquid feeds are :
► A weekly feed of MiracleGro until buds are secured.
► Then a high potash liquid tomato feed with a pinch of mono ammonium phosphate to the gallon for three weeks. (Can be obtained from Chempak).
► The latter is to give depth to the blooms.
►  Then a calcium feed for the remaining two weeks.

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I practice a preventative spraying system with the following :
► Twice with an anti fungicide to stave off mildew attacks.
►  Twice with an anti Mite spray.
These are both carried out before the buds are secured.
► If caterpillar damage is spotted then I spray to combat this.
► I liberally spread slug pellets to waylay the slugs and snails.
► AND just in case there any vine weevil I water Provado into the compost nearing the end of August.
► Yellow or blue fly traps are hung in each greenhouse.

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For a well grown begonia on the show bench
► Competition on the show bench at some shows is becoming very stiff.  A pot plant with all flowers of the same size and age, well spaced to see each and every one in their entirety, not aged or damaged, with leaves down to the edge of the pot - hiding supports - is what we are aiming for.
► Any rot in the stems will be spotted by the judges.

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For a well grown begonia on the show bench

Mrs E. McLauchlan.

Miss Rankin

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