Setting the scene
2018 - February 17th – Saturday –
Manningford Community Hall - National Begonia Society AGM – Myself and
Terry Tasker are sat together chatting when John Chiswell appears and
sits down next to Terry. He then proceeds to ensnare Terry to address
the masses at the 2019 South West Area Society meeting, Terry then looks
at me and asks if I would be his chauffer for the day to which I agreed
on one condition – we can get into Blackmore & Langdons first. John
agreed and the contract as they say was signed and sealed.
Fast forward approx. 13 months and we find out
that the South West Area meeting clashes with the Scottish Begonia
Society 2019 April meeting not only that but one of a travelling group
Mr Robert Bryce was giving the talk to the Scottish Begonia Society –
this has not happened before.
So not only was I gutted that one of our party
was missing from this road trip but it was made even worse by the fact I
was missing the April trip North of the border for the Scottish Begonia
Society's April meeting.
So the North West posse was spilt – one car went
North and one car went South.
So Terry Tasker (left) Chairman of the National Begonia
Society – Peter Sourbutts (right) Vice Chairman of the National Begonia Society
and Dave Weatherby (centre) National Begonia Society North West Area Rep met at
mine for 6am and we left and headed South and the first stop
Blackmore & Langdons via Strensham Services on the M5 – see the 3
“charming young men” in the picture on the right which was
taken at the services – Since I was acting as chauffer, cameraman and
“carer” for the NBS hierarchy for the day.
Blackmore & Langdons
We arrived at Blackmore and Langdons for just after
10am and split up pretty much straight away going our separate ways.
I went into the B&L first greenhouse to
see the plants that they were growing for the Chelsea and Hampton Court
Flower Shows with John Chiswell.
John explained how they were growing them slightly
different this year, as too many flowers went past their past by the
time Hampton Court Flower Show came round –
The views of plants from left to right
A The plants in the 1st picture are
being grown in their normal Bulrush begonia mix.
B The plants in the 2nd picture are being grown in
their Bulrush begonia mix and John Innes No2.
C The plants in the 3rd picture are in a straight
John Innes No2 mix.
D And just to finish the row of pictures off probably
the most sought after Double Tuberous Begonia of the moment -
I would like to have had time to speak to
Nicholas Langdon properly about these mixes etc, but as you can imagine
he was running around after everyone as we were only there for a short
time. – I hope he does an article for the National Begonia Society
Bulletin about the results and his findings on these x 3 “mixes”.
Also sneaking in at the bottom end of their
exhibition show plants were some planted in a wool mix
compost!!!! It would also be interesting to hear how they got on with
that result wise.
And below x3 pictures showing buds starting to
As you can see by the x2 pictures below – I caught
Terry Tasker red handed taking cuttings from the “funny coloured leaf”
begonias (don’t worry Nick gave him permission, well that’s what Terry
Dave Weatherby on the other hand was looking
through all the different types of double tuberous begonias to see what
could pick up as you can see in the picture to the
left. I very much doubt there are many varieties left that he has not
I would not be surprised if in the next year or two he applies for
the National Double Tuberous Begonia collection status. I know he purchased a couple of B&L’s super
I would like to tell you where and what Peter Sourbutts got up to but I don’t know as he disappeared pretty much
straight away – it was Peter’s first time visiting Blackmore &
Langdons so no doubt he had a good mooch around.
After approx. 2hrs we said
our goodbyes and left
Blackmore & Langdons for the 30+ minute drive to a lovely pub we usually
go to have a meal with everyone. Whilst we were having dinner Terry and
myself tried to tout out Dave Weatherby or Peter Sourbutts to do a talk
next year for them but John Cheiswell told us he had already arranged
for John & Mari Hamilton to visit and deliver the talk to the South West
Area in 2020. So it looks like we are booking our dinner reservations
for 2020 now.
The Venue – Grove Sports Centre, Nailsea
When you entered the room where the meeting was
being held, you were met by a fantastic sight.
Garry Dando who is pictured on the
right with Terry Tasker has moved into growing the species side of the
begonia family now as you can see by the excellent display he put on for
everyone in the x4 pictures below – he said his Keder Greenhouse was
ideal for growing them in.
There were also a number of plants for sale so
people could take something home with them, and it also helped put some
funds into the Areas kitty.
It was great to meet up and renew old
friendships with the likes of Derek Skinner and Basil Billinger and also
meet new members like Robert Reed.
Then it was Terry Taskers moment in the
spotlight, and boy did he take the moment by the scruff of the neck.
His talk started off with the History of the
begonia then moved on to his specialist subject the species side of the
begonia family. The way he
“pronounced” some of the names of people
involved in the evolution of the begonia in the early years and some of
the Latin plant names was a stroke of genius and reduced the audience to
tears on more than a couple of occasions. The picture to the
left shows him in action. He even put in to his talk a number of
antidotes from experiences from his life in growing.
His “coo de gra” came when he showed a newly
unearthed picture of Michael Begon as you can see by the picture
to the right…… that as they say, brought the house down, and got quickly
posted on the NBS Facebook page by a member of the audience that was
Some members of the audience for want of a
better word “heckled” him in a nice friendlyway but were met with
brutal put downs also in good natured way.
At one point he went after
yours truly but the picture to the left proves the plant he
gave me is still alive.
After his talk he took questions from the
audience, and answered everything that was asked of him.
I would like to thank everyone we met through
the day for the friendship & kindness shown to us and not forgetting
friendly natured banter & humour, once again we had a great trip to the
South West Area meeting.
Not long after that we made are farewells and
set of on the 4hr journey back from Nailsea.