Join the NBS? Pick up an application form from B&L

Basil Billinger visits
Blackmore & Langdon
for their

Named begonias in display house.

  Blackmore & Langdon’s nursery is located at Pensford, near Chew Magna, just outside of Bristol, travelling towards the Mendips.   The firm was established in 1901 and they are, probably, the world’s leading specialists in named Tuberous Double begonias.  They have made many introductions over the year which are most sought after.  Just look through the NBS Register of Varieties and see how many are attributed to B&L.
  Jim Blackmore and Charles Langdon were the firm’s original founders and the business is still, to this day, in family ownership.  B&L have always supported the aims of the NBS and until recently John Langdon was a judge and ex President of our Society, standing down in 2000.
  While John and Rosemary, his wife,  are taking more of a back seat these days the new generations of Langdon’s, Stephen, Nick and Simon are carrying on the tradition, along side dedicated staff, one of whom is John Smith, who had a begonia named after him last year.
  The Annual Sale weekend took place between the 11th and 13th May this year.  Besides the opportunity to pick up some choice plants at choice prices, you can view the begonias and also delphiniums that will in 10 days time be gracing the RHS Chelsea Flower Show and no doubt picking up more medals.

  I visited on the Friday and though I was “under orders” not to buy any more begonias how could I resist?  I spoke to at least 6 NBS members who I recognised, some of whom had travelled quite some distance. Taking numerous pictures of the event and the crowds that gather I had a look at what was on the camera when I arrived home. .  Nothing.  Completely blank.  Possibly dropping the camera before setting off didn’t help! However, all seemed well with a change of batteries.  However, not worth doing a report without pictures.
  Exactly one week later I journeyed out and made a detour through Pensford.  Would the flowers still be available or had they gone on their way?  The answer was “yes” (just) and “no”.  The begonias were loaded on the truck ready to go off to Chelsea any time.  The delphiniums, which provide the backdrop to the B&L display, had gone up to London the previous day.
  It made for some rather unusual, and at the same time, I hope interesting shots.  One bonus was that B&L’s new introduction of a ground white picotee, Mia, which was not on show on the previous visit, was on display, just coming into flower.  This is sure to be most sought after and is available from Spring next year.

  It is always pleasure to visit B&L and chat to John and Rosemary and the “boys” and share their enthusiasm, gain knowledge and advice they have for all their plants, especially the begonias.  By
the way, anyone visiting B&L, and is not a NBS member can now pick up an application form from the display table.

Text & pictures by Basil Billinger

Cutting begonias as far as you can /see!. John Smith in the background.

General view of one of the main greenhouses.

Pendulas L to R Firedance, Pink Cascade, Gold Cascade

These Delphiniums "missed out" on Chelsea.

New introduction for 2008
Just coming into flower.

80 begonias ready for the "off" to Chelsea.
Lional Richardson at front.