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The Lonely Begonia Grower

Phil Champion's Diary
2011

INTRODUCTION

 JULY
  
With my enforced rest I have found time for another visit down to the south coast, this time to visit Brian Simmons and his set up. On entering Brian's lean to (A) it's white walls seemed to reflect bright light all around. All his plants were sat in saucers (B). Brian waters from both the top & bottom. I was amazed how dry Brian allowed his plants to get before being watered again. I've said before its what works for you. The few plants Brian had were looking in good condition, it is a pity he is only getting into cut blooms now after all the years growing big pots. His ability to switch shows what a good all round grower he is. Brian had an attack of mite towards the end of last year & dunked his whole plants into a solution witch affected the top growth with little going back into the tuber at the end of the year & lost a lot of tubers.
   We have now moved into July and the weather so far has been kind for growing begonias, not too hot, all my plants for my early shows have had their buds selected and all plants have been stopped (C) normally for me about 42 days for the longer varieties down to 34 days, but due to weather and more important my plants that are looking good I am happy to give them an extra 5 days. At last I am more than happy with the way everything is going, the root system and the top growth are all looking good, all I need now is the flowers to match (and the weather to stay cool). Everything is now looking for more space, plants that have been stopped seem to want more room, even the plants for the National appear to be wanting more elbow room. Did I not say I was cutting back on cuttings (D) 12 trays with approx 24 cuttings that's nearly 300, where are they all going to go?
    Panda stiks (E) ordered & delivered 2 sizes 2 foots & 2.5 (in new English 0.50cm & 0.75cm). Yes lime green as well. Although not too much is now happening its all a waiting game now, the following few pictures are of random plants for my early shows & the National. Can Can, Mrs Dan Ramage, Sceptre, Whispers, seedling from 2010 & Beryl Rhodes. Remember to keep an eye out for the loose stems where buds have been removed (L) sometimes they can cause stem rot, most times the little piece of stem will fall away on its own but now & again I will remove it (M). Watch out for holes in the foliage (N) which can be caused by active vine weevil or these little sods like this one that took 2 days to find (O). Don't want to be doing this too often (P). I have been busy collecting cardboard boxes 10 inch diameter (Q) - we can but dream.
    With everything at bursting point this is now where everything is carried out - staking, tying & cuttings all from my movable work bench (R). Any plants now selected to flower and that have been stopped will start to throw out more side & basal cuttings (S). These I tend to rub out the basal cuttings (T) unless its something I am short of is removed as well, I want everything now focused on the flower. Mind you its now only 3 weeks to the first show of the year, time to start PANICKING. I have a feeling already they may be a bit late, timing is now my biggest learning curve.  


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