Episode 17. "Local Excursions
No 9 & 10
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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
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
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
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.