The National Begonia Society


East Anglian Diary July - October   2005
John Taylor

A New Series following progress in the greenhouse of
Society Membership Secretary, Area Rep. & British Champion.

"I have grown tuberous Begonias for the last 35 years and grown species and rexes for about 15 years.
 I became East Anglian Area Representative in 1994.  I have shown in all types of Begonia classes, but mostly enjoy designing and exhibiting stands for charity."

9th. October.
Now and again one decides to grow one of the older varieties again.  One of these being Russell Jackson which I believe came out in 1978.  As a pot plant I like it as it adds a different colour to ones collection, it is a mid to deep pink.


Apricot Delight is another one which has been around a bit, 1987 from Blackmore and Langdon, this one has serrated petals which you do not see too often in begonias.  This one is late coming out the second week in September.


Whispers is a newer variety which is very popular and has proved itself as a pot plant, I am also sure it will be around as a cut bloom as this is a colour that we do not see so often on a cut bloom board.  Here is one more or less up to the 9" plate on the back.


My cuttings are coming along well as you can see growing outside. They will have those flowers taken off and left outside as long as possible.  Each pot has been given a watering of Provado so as to control any vine weevil that may be around.


Flamboyant is a versatile variety to grow it can be grown in a pot, basket or as a bedding plant in your garden.  If you want a good basket then I would take off all the first flush of flowers.  This one is a first year cutting tuber in a 10" plastic hanging pot.


5th. August.
My basket of Sutherlandii is now relegated to growing outside under my pergola.  In front is a basket of Champagne with three tubers in it, if they are grown outside they tend to have a pink tinge in their petals. This is a cultivar that has become very popular in our area and can be bought at garden centres for around two pounds, in my opinion good value for money.

These are the plants that I am hoping to be ready for the National.  This photo was taken five weeks before the show.  At three weeks before I will be taking out the growing tips of the main stems and also the side shoots.


This is a picture of my greenhouse
that houses my Rexes.  Most of these will be used for putting on my charity stands, they like to have a lot more water than my double tuberous plants and a much more moist atmosphere with plenty of air flow.

This is a plant of Looking Glass, it is one of the cane stemmed plants with medium silver white leaves that are veined green.  Fairly easy to grow but does want pruning to keep it's shape.  It is deciduous with me but maybe if you can give it enough heat during the winter you may be able to keep its leaves.

Can Can grown as a cut bloom in my shade house, not always good as a pot plant as it tends to get tall and leggy, but if it is on a stand or the show bench the ladies invariably love it.



Fantasia the first time I have grown this cultivar. As a cut bloom it makes the size as this one has got plenty of petals left to open yet in the centre. The plate at the back being nine inches in diameter to give you a guide to size.

7th. July
My Sutherlandii is now back home and hanging outside after going on the N.B.S stand at Gardeners World at Birmingham. If you grow Sutherlandii make sure that you keep it well watered otherwise it has a tendency to get mildew, if it gets stressed from lack of water that is when it is most vulnerable

I always like to make up a basket of semperflorens, if you start with a layer low in your basket and then build up to the top they look nice.  Here I have used all the same colour with the copper leafed variety.  When they are all out they can be difficult to water so I get a piece of three quarter plastic overflow pipe and cut two or three slots in the pipe then put the pipe in the centre of the basket right to the bottom leaving about four inches above the compost you can then water into this pipe and it gets an even distribution of water to your basket.  When the plants grow you will not see the pipe.
This is the growth
of my pot plants at the beginning of July, I have been taking off the buds up until now. Five weeks before our show I will leave them on and three weeks before I will
 take out all the lead shoots to allow the blooms to come above the foliage.

Again all my cut bloom plants have been having all the buds taken off also the side shoots which have been used as cuttings.  Once I have decided which bud I require I will place a nine inch plastic plate at the back of the bud so as the leaves do not damage the bloom.

As my cuttings begin to fill the small pots with roots they will be potted on into five inch pots and placed outside. When they get five or six leaves on I will pinch out the lead as this encourages shoots to come from the base which in turn produces a larger tuber at the back end of the season. If it is not too wet they will stop outside until October or unless we get a frost.

Finally here is a picture of a basket of gem which is a lovely scented basket that I found in New Zealand several years ago. It is a long lasting flower and will be in bloom from June right through to the end of October..