Countdown 2020 June  Week 5

Robert Bryce



Hi all,

It has been quite a week here in Lancashire, very hot sunny days at the start of the week and the last 3 days torrential rain and strong winds. On a journey to my greenhouses this Monday morning I was really pleased to get inside.

Well to look back on the week some of you will have noticed what can happen when it is very hot, melting leaves and white marks appearing. That does not happen in my greenhouses as I am well prepared. The hot days I was hosing the floors and over the plants 3 times a day and watering as required. I even hosed with a few open flowers they just carried on growing without edging. Why! Well this is the value of earth floors, good ventilation and open slatted staging along with the spraying with Maxicrop almost every day since April. No fans in my greenhouses. The basket at the top of my greenhouse was also undamaged. Those of you that have looked closely at your plants will have seen that the growth stops when it is very hot and then spurts overnight when it is cooler.

My plants are growing fast, remember it was the longest day this last week. Every plants aim now is to reproduce itself before it dies so it desperately wants to flower. On Thursday of this week my dog decided he did not want to sleep and I was up at 4 o’ clock in the morning. Around 7 I went into the greenhouse and decided I would put my first tie on the plants and take all the buds at the same time. This was against my original plan of taking buds at the end of June and tying a week later. However, I decided that with no shows this year it did not matter. I found my trusty 2-shilling piece (an inch and an eighth diameter) for measuring the bud size, my flat synthetic raffia tie and most importantly my focused concentration and off I went. I was there all day and still had 15 plants to do at 7 in the evening. My timings for most varieties from buds the diameter of my 2-shilling piece are 42 days with some up to 10 days longer and some up to 6 days shorter. The long varieties are Tom Brownlee, Tequila Sunrise, Roy Hartley and Powder Puff. The short varieties are Fair Maid of Perth, Bali Hi and Bernart Klien (I no longer have it if anyone’s offering). The timings for your greenhouse may be different but if you want big deep blooms you need to understand that it is not your timings that need altering it is the conditions in your greenhouse. This year I was lazy and did not remove the husk at the back of the bud and the side buds really it is best to do this as soon as possible when you have total focus as then all energy in the plant is aimed at the single bud. When taking the buds I also stopped the plants by pinching out the growing tip including the leaf above the selected bud. Now with the plants having no sideshoots or growing points all the plant energy is being directed at the single bud. On single stem pot plants with side shoots I have taken 2 buds on the main stem and 2 on each sideshoot again pinching all the growing tips out. I have yet to do my multi stem pot plants I like to do these 4 days later. Why! You aim a cut bloom to be at its zenith on a certain day with a pot plant it is better for it to be young and fresh when exhibiting.

I like to have little projects in my greenhouse earlier than my main flowers and I like to have scent so I grow John Smith a scented variety. This year I have grown it as a single stem pot plant with sideshoots and it is just starting to flower and provide the scent. I also grow a multiflora called Sweet Coral Cascade that is scented in one greenhouse. These gives me pleasure!

On Saturday and Sunday evenings I sprayed my plants with Maxicrop and they are now fully set to produce optimum flowers with strong stems, good leaf structure and a very full and strong root system. There is no way now to catch up like some growers do by ramming feed into the plants. It does not work!

Where next? Watch the plants and the weather they determine what is next! The main thing to look for is hungry plants, like human’s hunger affects them. When hungry, the plant leaves change colour and are not as green. Keep your eyes open or ask the plant!

Just to mention Begonias for All on Facebook I have been entertain this week and it took me 5 seconds to recognise Fred Martin grown outside (the leaf was the giveaway) and the unknown variety was a poorly grown Fair Maid of Perth. Keep the good work up Phil and the regular contributors. Just so you know Phil the weather here for the last 3 days is just like your video clips. That is why the cotton industry was in Lancashire.

Lots to look forward to next week.

Robert Bryce



Big Greenhouse from Door

John Smith


LH side Big Greenhouse



RH side Big Greenhouse.


Selection of multiflora

Still brightening my days

Progress the wall

LH side small Greenhouse

RH side small Greenhouse

Structure of cut bloom plant

Small Greenhouse to door

Vista at end of small greenhouse