Countdown 2020 June  Week 4

Robert Bryce


Hi All,

We are now at week 4 of my countdown and this week I have been drawing inspiration from pictures on Facebook of Phil Champion of Silver Spirit and Ian Donaldson’s pot plants, high quality indeed. Mighty fine. Ian will soon need a sign over his greenhouse door, ‘Laboratory, Stationers and Haberdashers’! Just my humour.

Last week I fed a 1-4 (phosphate)-1 feed and I have been watching what happened, well after trying to push my 6 inch labels into the pots I know the roots are now solid. The top growth did not increase a lot until Thursday however the stem thickness increased a lot. From Thursday the foliage grew and the plants height increased significantly and it is starting to go over the top of my support canes. Remember I still have no ties. All good signs!!

I also took my plants for a bath! Really a shower, many people forget to get rid of the dust that falls on their plants. Dirty plants are like dirty humans they do not function well, remember we are aiming at optimum photosynthesis. Do not forget under the foliage and the stems with a sprayer. I also cleaned all my buds with toothpaste.

One of the hardest skills to attain when growing is when and how much to water. When asked this question I remind people that God gave us hands to feel. If in doubt push your fingers into the compost around an inch and a half down if its dry then you need to water. Also, remember at this time of year your pots are (should be) full of roots and when watering it is best to see it coming out of the bottom of your pots. I do not recommend saucers that collect water as this affects the drainage. Your choice, I have been clear about how important it is?

I am now taking handfuls of buds off the plants every day. I slit a sample of them open length ways to look at the lay of the petals right to the centre. My buds are all coming through the foliage.

A little-known fact is that both the leaves and guard petal have hairs on them, this is so the bud is not damaged as it emerges. The hairs hold the flower off the leaves. The flower releases itself as it grows. However, we all need to protect it if open vents allow wind in or we brush past foliage on the greenhouse paths. We inadvertently damage the flower even in the bud. The exhibitors use synthetic cotton wool on either side of their selected buds to protect it leaving nothing to chance.

I have also had a plant with stem rot and have treated it with Rovrol (paint it on the surface of the rot) and it is now healed and is growing away again strongly.

Today Sunday, I have been tying in the stems on my pot plants and I discarded 3 plants outside. They will still provide colour. Remember if you are doing this, to position the side shoots in the direction you want them to go and make sure they are not obstructed or growing bent due to the ties. You should also change the position of the leaves to give a more balanced and pleasing effect.

The multifloras on my ‘Display Wall’ are making good progress. I had a bonus on Saturday when a friend gave me 4 plants of Sweet Spice Bounty it looks an excellent variety for outdoor display. All in all, I am a happy man content with my lot. My seedling Agapanthus have just been potted into 4 inch pots and some of the previous seedlings now have flower spikes coming up. Lots of different things to enjoy.

Now, all you growers out there the weather forecast is for 30 degrees C from Wednesday your greenhouses are going to get very hot, are you ready?? I am with no flag floors (earth beds) good ventilation and shading, open slatted benches and plants sprayed most days since April with Brown Maxicrop. I can guarantee that people will be ringing me shortly telling me tales of woe and that it only happens where they are located. Preparation is in the grower’s hands. Good luck!

What next? Watch your plants they will tell you what they want. I will be watching mine! See you all next week all being well. Keep healthy and prosperous.

One last thing, it would be nice to get some feedback, questions or comments either on Facebook, e mail or telephone otherwise I can all assume you know everything and I can retire. I hold my breath!!

Robert Bryce

Large Greenhouse

Large Greenhouse LHS


Small Greenhouse LHS.



Small greenhouse other side.


The Wall

White Flamboyant.

Showing side shoots



Showing side shoots