It has been quite a week
here in Lancashire, very hot sunny days at the start of the week and the
last 3 days torrential rain and strong winds. On a journey to my
greenhouses this Monday morning I was really pleased to get inside.
Well to look back on the
week some of you will have noticed what can happen when it is very hot,
melting leaves and white marks appearing. That does not happen in my
greenhouses as I am well prepared. The hot days I was hosing the floors
and over the plants 3 times a day and watering as required. I even hosed
with a few open flowers they just carried on growing without edging.
Why! Well this is the value of earth floors, good ventilation and open
slatted staging along with the spraying with Maxicrop almost every day
since April. No fans in my greenhouses. The basket at the top of my
greenhouse was also undamaged. Those of you that have looked closely at
your plants will have seen that the growth stops when it is very hot and
then spurts overnight when it is cooler.
My plants are growing
fast, remember it was the longest day this last week. Every plants aim
now is to reproduce itself before it dies so it desperately wants to
flower. On Thursday of this week my dog decided he did not want to sleep
and I was up at 4 o’ clock in the morning. Around 7 I went into the
greenhouse and decided I would put my first tie on the plants and take
all the buds at the same time. This was against my original plan of
taking buds at the end of June and tying a week later. However, I
decided that with no shows this year it did not matter. I found my
trusty 2-shilling piece (an inch and an eighth diameter) for measuring
the bud size, my flat synthetic raffia tie and most importantly my
focused concentration and off I went. I was there all day and still had
15 plants to do at 7 in the evening. My timings for most varieties from
buds the diameter of my 2-shilling piece are 42 days with some up to 10
days longer and some up to 6 days shorter. The long varieties are Tom
Brownlee, Tequila Sunrise, Roy Hartley and Powder Puff. The short
varieties are Fair Maid of Perth, Bali Hi and Bernart Klien (I no longer
have it if anyone’s offering). The timings for your greenhouse may be
different but if you want big deep blooms you need to understand that it
is not your timings that need altering it is the conditions in your
greenhouse. This year I was lazy and did not remove the husk at the back
of the bud and the side buds really it is best to do this as soon as
possible when you have total focus as then all energy in the plant is
aimed at the single bud. When taking the buds I also stopped the plants
by pinching out the growing tip including the leaf above the selected
bud. Now with the plants having no sideshoots or growing points all the
plant energy is being directed at the single bud. On single stem pot
plants with side shoots I have taken 2 buds on the main stem and 2 on
each sideshoot again pinching all the growing tips out. I have yet to do
my multi stem pot plants I like to do these 4 days later. Why! You aim a
cut bloom to be at its zenith on a certain day with a pot plant it is
better for it to be young and fresh when exhibiting.
I like to have little
projects in my greenhouse earlier than my main flowers and I like to
have scent so I grow John Smith a scented variety. This year I have
grown it as a single stem pot plant with sideshoots and it is just
starting to flower and provide the scent. I also grow a multiflora
called Sweet Coral Cascade that is scented in one greenhouse. These
gives me pleasure!
On Saturday and Sunday
evenings I sprayed my plants with Maxicrop and they are now fully set to
produce optimum flowers with strong stems, good leaf structure and a
very full and strong root system. There is no way now to catch up like
some growers do by ramming feed into the plants. It does not work!
Where next? Watch the
plants and the weather they determine what is next! The main thing to
look for is hungry plants, like human’s hunger affects them. When
hungry, the plant leaves change colour and are not as green. Keep your
eyes open or ask the plant!
Just to mention Begonias
for All on Facebook I have been entertain this week and it took me 5
seconds to recognise Fred Martin grown outside (the leaf was the
giveaway) and the unknown variety was a poorly grown Fair Maid of Perth.
Keep the good work up Phil and the regular contributors. Just so you
know Phil the weather here for the last 3 days is just like your video
clips. That is why the cotton industry was in Lancashire.
Lots to look forward to