April 1st

Most plants have now been potted into their first pots.  The potting compost is either a John Innes no2 or a multipurpose compost made using Chempak base fertiliser.  The compost was selected to suit the vigour of the root system.

A group of 24 plants have been selcted to grow on as pot plants.  They have been potted into 8" pots and the number of main stems reduced to 2.  Each shoot is forward facing and the aim is to produce a plant with around 16 blooms.

It is not always essential to have a large tuber to produce an exhibition plant.  The plant shown above has been grown from a cutting tuber started in January.

Side shoots are now starting to show and these will be allowed to develop to give the depth of bloom required for the show.

Later starting plants are kept in the propagator and the additional bottom heat will help them catch up in time to go into their final pots.

Some tubers are only now starting.

All plants have been stripped to the required number of main stems and additional shoots have been removed and used as propagating material.  I had a few losses this winter but the stock will soon be replaced.  Cuttings are rooted four to a three inch pot in coarse peat.  The thermostat controlling the heating cable is set at 30 degrees celcuis.  Rooting is rapid under the mist, and these plants will be ready for potting in around three weeks.

April 7th

Some unseasonable weather this week with snow and night temperatures down to -6 degrees Celcuis has prompted some work inside the greenhouse.

Having been unhappy with the final result of last years compost I have reverted to digging loam straight from the garden.  This is steam sterilied and is now ready for use.

The peat used is Shamrock medium coarse.

A further refinement to this years compost is the addition of coarse gritinstead of perlite.

I mix a three bushel (24 gallon) mix at a time to which is added 1.5 lb base fertiliser, 4 oz dolomitic lime and 0.75 lb Nutrimate.

Plant ready to be potted on roots are just reaching edge of pot and picture shows original and next pot.

Two days work  and all plants have been moved on.  Plants are spaced to allow them to grow without being drawn.  All plants in this greenhouse are in a John Innes 2 compost.  lants in smaller pots are potted into a John Innes 1 compost.

Pot plants are now in final 9 and 10 inch pots.

Occasionaly one of the shoots is backward this can however be sorted.

The growing point of the more vigorous shoot has been removed and by the time the side shoot left grows on the other shoot will have cught up.

Smaller plants now in four inch pots are left on the heated bench for a day or two before being moved into the main greenhouse.

Seedlings are now starting to grow, they do not look much now but there are three times as many plants in here as will fit into my 58 x 10 greenhouse.

April 15th

Pot plants have been transferred to open bench.  This now allows lifting to see if plants require watering.  Although plants look dry watering is not yet required and plants can go a week at a time before needing watered after they have been potted up.

The main task this week has been to apply coolglass to the greenhouse.  The sun is now strong enough to scorch leaves.  The damage is not apparant for weeks but can be severe and eventually cause a loss of foliage.

Now the shading has been applied I get up at 6 every morning to spray plants with Maxicrop. This will continue until the middle June only being stopped when buds are required for the Show.

Plant after being sprayed.  The foliage is now in my opinion the correct colour and shows the plant is enjoying the conditions it is growing in.

General view of greenhouse showing plants selected to flower in time for Ayr Show.

22nd April

Ian Donaldson sent a spy but fortunately it touched down in the wrong Greenhouse.

Pot plants growing well and will soon need staking.

Single stem plants are now ready to go into their final pots.

Seedlings now require spacing out and this will have to be done next week.

Week finished with a trip to the kingdom to visit the king.  Ronnies greenhouse was looking well but could not quite identify the variety sitting on the floor.

April 29th

14 Weeks to the show heralded a Saturday of frantic potting and I now Have 300 plants in their final pots.  Space will be the next problem. And yes that is a Fuschia in the foreground.

Early cuttings have been potted into five inch pots where they will remain for the rest of the year.

Pot plants are now requiring staking and the furthest on are now two feet across.

Smaller tubers require smaller pots and the last batch to be potted are in 6 inch pots.  This does not effect final flower size and excellent results can still be acheived.

Sideshoots now require removing as do flower buds.  The latter will be done for the next three to four weeks to allow buds to develop to the correct size for selection .