The National Begonia Society


2015 Diary

Michael Richardson

Episode 17.   "Local Excursions No 9 & 10 

“Local Excursion No 9”
Saturday 5th July – Bellcross Open Day

   Well what a start to this day as I had to go into work first but I got out for just gone 9am and made it home for approx. 0930hrs. As I got home Vincent Potts and Robert Bryce were already there and waiting for me, so after we loaded the car we set off to collect the legend that is Derek Telford.
   Then it was on to Howden and Bellcross Nursery to visit Margaret and Malcolm who were once again holding their open day for the Begonia Society. For me personally it has been about two years since I last visited Margaret and Malcolm, so I was really looking forward to this visit
   Well we were lucky with the weather as we left the clear blue skies of Lancashire to low misty skies of Yorkshire, however the closer we got to Howden the clearer the skies got. When we arrived at Bellcross we were blessed with clear blue skies and warm weather.
  A number of visitors were there already when we arrived. Robert, Vincent and I managed to have a quick look round first.
   Bellcross Nursery has stopped the mail order side to their business and are just growing for pleasure now. Just like everyone else Margaret explained later how they had suffered with poor weather so their plants were behind, but they still had some nice plants in flower (see picture on left). Saying that they had quite a few in flower for the first week in July.
   They had some interesting seedlings in flower which you can see in the picture on the right.
   Shortly after we ran into Margaret and Malcolm and had a chat with them before we were invited in for a drink. When we entered their “conservatory” we met Cedric Ball and his good wife and it was great to see Rita Smith there as well.
   Vincent Potts was busy selling the new booklet – Understanding Begonia – and was holding an autograph book signing session for anyone who wanted one signed – well that’s what we were telling people anyway.
    After a while lunch was brought out for everyone, at this point John Chiswell and John Winfield made their entrance. After a good chat with both John’s I went for a wander outside and found Derek Telford sitting under a gazebo chatting with some other members so I joined them. At this point Christine Yeardley sat down with us and I was lucky enough to have a good talk with her, as it happens she is still growing begonias, exhibiting at the Yorkshire/Humberside Show and is still active in the Daffodil world as well.
   As you can see by the picture on the left Malcolm and Margaret looked very well – Malcolm is sat on the right of the picture and Margaret has one of her beloved Pugs on her knee.

   Whilst we were sitting outside it was not long before Derek Telford and Jim Smith, who had made his way down South from the Alnwick in the North East, decided to ambush me (that wily old sod Derek put him up to it) on the subject of growing big flowers and at what point do they actually get too big!!!! This led to a hotly contested debate between us all.

   Terry Tasker and his pupil D.Weatherby (a new begonia grower that Terry is mentoring) had made the journey from Southport and it was good to see them as it was to see Malcolm Ellis and his good wife there as well.

     At one point I thought the rock band the Rolling Stones had turned up (see picture on left) but it turned out to be an unruly mob of begonia growers whose combined age was about the same hahahaha.
Time seemed to fly past and before we knew it was nearly 1600hrs and time we had to say our goodbyes as we had to drop off Mr Telford at Huddersfield on the way back.
We dropped Derek off safe and sound and carried on home.

“Local Excursion No 10”
Saturday 18th July – The D.Telford tour 2015.

  This was organised by Vincent Potts to get Mr Begonia himself Derek Telford out of his comfy chair and give him a magical mystery guided tour of some the local growers in the North West.
This time I did not have to drive, Vincent did. He had picked Robert Bryce up and they both had gone to collect Derek from his home in Huddersfield as I had to go into work, then all three collected me about 10:00hrs and off we went.

First stop on the tour was Peter & June Sourbutts –
   When we arrived, Peter met us on his driveway and the first thing that struck you were his hanging baskets and what I would call “hay mangers” attached to the front of his house as you can see on the left. Peter then explained to Robert and Derek what varieties he had planted not only in his front garden borders but also in his “baskets & mangers” see pic on right.
   We were then shown round the back of his house to his main greenhouse and at this point it happened, my highlight of the day was Derek’s face when he saw Peter’s main pot plants, as he said they were the best grown plants he had seen. We were all in awe of the amount of growth he had achieved on his plants. He had managed to keep his plants going since we saw those magnificent plants at what now seems like months ago. He now has to take the leaves off the top of the plants so the flowers have room to grow.
   Peter then showed us his second greenhouse that housed his plants that he was aiming to use for the 20 Pot class at Southport Flower Show, on the floor of this greenhouse was home for all his cuttings that still needed potting up ( as you can see by the pictures on the left and right). Again they looked impressive and Derek asked Peter a number of questions and gave Peter some sound pieces of advice from his vast wealth of knowledge.
   Then a lengthy discussed followed about the various types of multiflora on the market and the number of different types Peter had in and around his garden. Peter showed us a new type of multiflora not yet release called “Moon drop – I believe.

   After a tour of his back garden where he had some splendid specimens of multiflora and the plant in the centre of the picture on the left is one tuber in a huge pot.
Vincent called time on our visit as we had to keep to our busy schedule and make our way to Terry Taskers.

Second stop on the tour was Shirley & Terry Taskers -
   As soon as we got there Terry jumped in the car with us, and we went to the local pub for a pub lunch, I treated the “golden oldies” to dinner. When we returned to Terrys we were met by Shirley who then showed us through their home to the garden, and again Robert and Terry quickly disappeared whilst Vincent and myself once again stopped and talked to Shirley about her “art work” collection, then we were introduced to her stray cat collection.
   We caught up with Terry and Robert in his main Flowering greenhouse that held his Ayr and Southport plants. As you can see by the picture on the left his plants aimed for Ayr had their protective backing plates placed at the back of his buds which were at the oyster stage and were just starting to break and open.
    His Southport plants had had their buds taken and the plants stopped and Terry said that he will be taking his side buds off this week. The picture on the right shows his plants aimed for Southport.
   His second greenhouse was filled with cuttings that had been allowed to flower and it was a spectacular array of colour as you can see by the picture on the left. He is hoping to get some pollen, as he was going to have a little dabble into the world of hybridisation this year.
  At this point Shirley had conjured up some refreshments so we all went to sit down and have a drink and a biscuit, I took this opportunity to take a picture of “Golden Oldies” – you would have to go a long way to find such wealth of knowledge and success in begonia growing in England than these four gentleman (and no Terry I will not reveal the nickname your good wife Shirley called you even through it was hilarious).
   Once again Vincent called time on the visit and we said our goodbyes to Terry and Shirley and departed for Lango and Vincent Potts.

Third stop on the tour was Vincent Potts –
   We arrived at Vincent’s and when we walked round the back of his home we were hit by the magnificent sight of a 24ft wall of colour as you can see by the picture on the left. He bought some new style of hanging tray system and filled them with Begonia types like – non-stops, Semperflorens & Illuminations to name a few. This wall of colour was held up by a frame he made himself as well. In front of this wall was a 24ft length of staging full of colour as well.
At the other side of his back garden was large display of Begonia multiflora plants in pots as you can see by the picture on the right.
   In one of his greenhouses he had a number of plants in flower, and once again it was a mass of colour as you can see by the picture on the left. Vincent used a multi-purpose type compost and I do not envy him when it comes to watering. That’s when my home made Johns Innes No 2 mix comes into its own as you don’t have to water as often.
   In his other greenhouse his canes and species plants looked like different plants then earlier in the year as he was well underway with his feeding program. His plants looked like he will be able to give Samuel and Elisabeth Kennedy a run for their money at Ayr Flower Show when the lock horns in competition.
It seemed that in no time at all Vincent called time on our visit – and we all got back into Vincent’s car and headed a couple of miles up the road to Mr Bryce’s home.

Fourth stop on the tour was Joan & Robert Bryce’s -
   We arrived at Roberts and he was not for providing refreshments, as fortune had it Robert’s better half Joan arrived home and asked if Robert had made a brew. We all replied no, so Joan saved Robert from some more grief from Vincent. Robert showed Derek his new propagating units if you look closely you can see that they look like “bunk beds” as there is a Unit just above the floor and one on top (as you can see by the picture on the left). Robert showed him some cuttings he had taken this year and the ones he was looking to flower, he also showed him his plants of some seedlings he had great hopes for – one was an orange and the other a bright yellow.
He then showed us his main greenhouse (see picture on the right), trust me when I say that he had pulled his plants right round and they looked good – that was not good for me.
   Robert and myself have always had a bit of fun when exhibiting as Robert is a grower that will show his flowers no matter how good or poor they may be. That has allowed me in the past to beat him and he is always the first to congratulate me but the following year he always comes back and puts me in my place. I was fortunate to beat him to take the National Championship away from him last year – however looking at his plants and with him saying he is happy with them I fear he could put us all back in our place again this year.
At this point Joan called us in for a drink and we made our way into Robert and Joan’s new kitchen and it was very impressive.
   After seeing Roberts’s plants I was hoping they would drop me off and then take Derek home, no they were having none of it - they wanted to look at my humble set up.

Fifth stop on the tour was mine -
   As soon as I opened the gate Derek moved like a whippet and was straight into my propagating greenhouse having a good mooch around. Robert wanted to see my main plants so we went into my main greenhouse and he went very quiet and really did not say that much, only that my buds looked good. Derek caught us up and commented how well they looked.
   Believe or not it was fast approaching 18:00hr and Vincent once again called time as he had to take Derek back home in Huddersfield with Robert which is a good hour’s drive away.

   Vincent and Robert took Derek home – I spoke to Vincent on the phone 3 days later he said he got back home at 20:00hrs and was knackered.
It was a great day out – and I would like to take this opportunity to thank Vincent for organizing it.

                               Until next time….                           


Michael Richardson's Diaries 2015