Ten bob each (50p in new money) was
the price of my first named varieties of tuberous double begonias
purchased from Ron White, a begonia nurseryman in Scotland. The varieties
were Sam Philips which was a deep yellow, Rosemary Moore a delicate white
ground picotee, Everest a white and T.B.Toop which was bright orange. I
grew them fairly well and entered in pot plant classes at local shows with
reasonable success. At this level, a poor begonia was always a good match
for a well-grown fuchsia.
A visit to Southport flower Show, and a talk with the chaps on the
begonia society bureau added to my interest. Needless to say, I enrolled
as a member of the NBS.
The following year I decided to enter some exhibits in the Leeds Show.
One exhibit being a single pot plant of Sam Philips. EUREKA! I WON! It
was also awarded ďThe Lady Milner VaseĒ for the best pot plant in the
show. Derek Telford, our editor was the first to congratulate me, but I
am sure he was a little peeved. He had been after winning that trophy for
a few years, but he is a good showman and accepted the result. I must
admit that when I now look at the photograph of that plant with itís
somewhat flat blooms I am rather embarrassed, but it certainly was a boost
for my ego. However, Derek pulled his socks up and made sure that I
didnít win the it the following year.
At this time we had no local NBS
area. To meet up with the top growers we traveled over to the North West
Area meetings at Chorley. These were very well attended and enjoyable
meetings, and it was usual for two or three carloads to make the journey
over the pennines on Friday evenings.
Eventually I came to the conclusion that we had enough local support
to have our own group, so I set about organising the Yorkshire &
Humberside group. This was successful, and after about two years we were
designated an official area by the NBS. I was appointed area rep, and our
area show was held within The Leeds Flower Show, the committee of which
was and still is of tremendous help.
The NBS at that time was centred on
Birmingham, all the committee lived there, and I felt that if it was to be
a national society, it should have committee members from outside the
Birmingham area. I therefore put myself forward for nomination and was
elected. I served for a few years, but eventually through pressure of
work, I resigned from committee and also my post as Area Rep.
One of the criticisms at that time was that we, as a society, didnít cater
for the growers of species begonias, so about five years ago I decided to
grow some of these. I found them to be very interesting. Some of them
are year-round plants. At the present time (November/December) I have
twelve varieties in bloom. I have now disposed of all my stock of tuberous
doubles and just grow the species and hybrids.
I currently have upwards of fifty different varieties. This entails
keeping a greenhouse heated over winter, but by double-glazing one
greenhouse, I can do this reasonably economically.
I am now retired from my day job, so
as any retired person knows, I have less time on my hands, but I am once
again on NBS committee as Vice chairman, still an active member of the
Yorkshire & Humberside Area, and, above all, still getting great pleasure
from growing begonias.