The last day of April saw a visit to Torquay, Devon, to meet up
with Stewart Matthews, the area representative. Stewart has been
growing begonias since 1986 with considerable success. In 1990 he
took top cards at the R.H.S. venue in London the last time the NBS
used this venue. The following year at the National in Birmingham
he was placed first in the nine pot class.
set up in Torquay comprises 4 greenhouses which are located at the
bottom of a beautiful garden almost invisible from the bungalow.
The first house is a 8 x 10 and this is used to start all his
cutting and tubers. Tubers are usually started in February and that
gives an opportunity to take basal cuttings that Stewart considers
are the best. At the time of our visit we were surprised by how
much growth the plants had made. At the appropriate time these are
then taken to the two 12 x 8 to give the plants space to grow on.
The other smaller greenhouse is now used for tomatoes!
whole site is idyllic and is shaded by a mature evergreen Holm
oak. This gives shade to the houses but it is still necessary to
apply shading just in case.
Stewart now grows single stem pot plants and has perfected a way to
grow them with just staking and no ties whatsoever. Among his
favourite varieties are Apricot Delight, Sugar Candy, Fred Martin
and Sweet Dreams which stood him in good stead during his show
days. Stewart Is looking forward to the
Area Show that
takes place on Sunday, 12th August 2007, in Bideford, North
Devon, and encourages all SW members to do their best to enter.
Text & pictures by Basil Billinger