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  THE LONELY BEGONIA GROWER
Phil Champion
2011 Diary

I live in a small village called Burghfield Common near Reading Berkshire. Must admit that at times it is a lonely pasttime growing begonias here in the village. The nearest Society Area was the south coast, the meetings being held at Portchester was a 120 mile round trip. Others that I have visited in the last couple of years since returning to the National Begonia Society after a long absence, Nailsea 180 miles & also visited the East Aglian & Peterbourgh groups, even further. All the Areas throughout the Society are the places to visit for anyone starting a collection of begonias & being able to acquire certain varieties at reasonable costs.
   Now I am not an expert by any imagination, at present I class myself an average grower with room for improvement. Still in the throws of finding the right compost for my growing, having gone to loam based. I'm waiting for some new compost to be delivered at the end of January. this made with Kettering loam. Some leading growers say this is the best, certainly not the cheapest. Before I agreed to do this diary piece, I had already decided on my path for the year on the show bench, normally it would consist of the mini show on the south coast & the National at Birmingham. Since the reduced classes at the south coast show, for my growing cut blooms there are 3 classes a 6, 3,& 1 boards. This show being end of July. The National beginning of September 12 & 6 cut blooms. So there was quite a gap between shows. Before the reduced classes at the mini show, I would normally grow approx 60 - 80 plants for the Portchester show. This year it was only to be 30 plants. Now this is where I had decided to visit another show & in my mind between the two dates I would attempt to grow some blooms & enter a class or two, at this other show. The idea to gain more knowledge from other growers. Best place to learn is early mornings when the experts are all together, setting up their pots & blooms. Then whilst they wait for the judging to take placet you can ask many questions to the top growers. I will not give out the venue just yet but know it will be of interest to many. there's something about showing that gives me a buzz & its not just at the shows it all starts when the first tubers are selected to hit the hot bed the crescendo just gets bigger as the shows get nearer.
   Now I was trying to think of a title for this diary piece & due to not having any growers too close to just pop round the corner & visit as such I will call it THE LONELY BEGONIA GROWER and to get January off here is a few pictures of my small garden I, now need to get busy with the camera.

Phil's Garden


Front garden.


Looking from the greenhouse.


This area is now a shade area for begonias, it has had a new covered roof.


Looking down to the greenhouse,
the pond is on the left.


Pre greenhouse


Constructing the greenhouse


This nice plant had to be moved, it was getting too big.


Tree fern and common ferns.


Looking back towards the bridge.


One half of the pond.


A few of the residents in the pond.


Looking from the bridge over the pond.

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Phil's Greenhouse July 2008

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