The National Begonia Society



I did eventually manage to obtain the nonstop begonias that I required for my garden displays although I would have to say that they must now be the No 1 bedding plant in the UK as it seems that as soon as they are available in the supermarkets they are immediately sold out.
Towards the end of May, I, together with my son Chris spent several days preparing my 23 year old Ford Escort for its first ever Ford concourse event here in Scotland. On the day of the show, up at 4a.m. and on the road by 5. The weather was poor but the event was interesting to say the least but all credit must go to Chris for all the hard work that he put in on the day.  We had driven the car over 120 miles through rain just to get there and on arrival at the venue the car was in a right mess, nevertheless it cleaned up well and did not disappoint.
With all that has been going on over the last few weeks my cuttings have been neglected but I will soon get them back on track once I have finished making up all my tubs and containers and my cold frame is once again vacant.
I am about to carry out a further cull in the large greenhouse possibly reducing to 12 or 13 single bloom plants per 20 feet row. The pot plants are quickly becoming the dominant plants on the righthand side of the greenhouse and are producing bud as well as side shoots. Most are producing bud on the fifth leaf axil of each basal shoot (unless previously stopped), third leaf axil of the lower side shoot and then reducing to producing bud on the second leaf axil of the following side shoots up to and including the fourth side shoot of each basal shoot.  As far as producing side shoot on side shoot then that is possible but I now realise that I will be unable to obtain flower on each of these side shoots as I am of the opinion that the plants are not far enough into growth.
At this time of the year I give the plants a feed of Calcium Nitrate at a rate of one level teaspoon to one gallon of water (may not be needed depending on your water supply). This helps with cell formulation and at the same time also neutralises acid to detoxify the plant. I will give my pot plants a combined feed of Calcium Nitrate and Mono Ammonium Phosphate at a rate of one level teaspoon to a gallon of water. This will ensure softer growth for a period of time and should allow for slight movement of the stems. 

As well as my pot plants I have another experiment ongoing and that is in relation to my compost to which I added another ingredient hoping that it would keep the plant in good condition without the requirement for a daily spray of maxicrop. So far this is working well and if successful I will reveal all at the end of this diary.
If you intend to show then now is the time to decide when all final potting must be completed by, what additional feeding if any you require on the run up to bud selection and what dates your buds should be selected on. There is no secret to any of the above and in relation to final potting then simply count back 14 weeks from your show date. This period will give your plants time to settle into their new pots (six weeks) and also allows for the maximum period of time required from bud selection to full bloom (eight weeks) anywhere within the UK.

Description of Photographs

1, 2, 3, 4 and 5.  Closeups of pot plants.
6 and 7. Side shoot and bud development.
8, 9 and 10. General view of pot plants.
11 and 12. Single stem plants on right hand side of greenhouse.
13 and 14. General views of plants on left hand side of greenhouse.















Cultural Diaries and previous articles