It’s that time of year when Springwatch normally hits the screen – here’s my version – Bud Watch.
I thought it would be interesting to track a bud from birth to flowering.
And here’s our guinea pig – snapped just this morning.
This plant is something of an old friend. It is from my own breeding line and was growing in a friends garden before lifted for last year’s Chelsea. It never made the show last year – whilst looking good for this. Fingers crossed for it!
Last night I promised a couple of pictures to show the fab amount of growth in the last couple weeks. Still praying for more sun though ☀️😄
Here’s a pic from two weeks ago –
And here they are just this morning.
Last night with a possible frost forecast we installed a small heater. I’m expecting warmer nights to help move the plants along. 5 weeks today and the whole thing will be on site at the show.
So, you wait nearly two years for a post and then two come at once!
Has as become the routine, the delphiniums were loaded into the greenhouse in early January – just after all of the glass had been scrupulously cleaned. Now, some of you may remember that we did not have much of a winter and I was very worried that the flowers would come and go before Chelsea.
I now laught at that thought and, as ever, am very worried about having some flowers in time for the show. We might not have had much winter – sadly, not much spring either and growth has been slow. Getting back from my work in Manchester on a Thursday night I don the head torch and go to the greenhouse. The last two weeks have been disappointing with apparently little growth.
Having seen them properly in the light today, actually, they’ve grown enourmously. Two weeks ago the stems were relatively thin and the foliage sparse. Right now the stems are as thick as my thumb and the foliage much more lush. Result!
The beauty of the blog though is that provided you put up regular pictures, you have a very good historical record. This lets you compare plants with where they were in previous years.
April 15th 2013 and we had 4 buds. April 16th 2016 and we also have 4 buds. Oh the relief!!!
I’ll put some pictures up tomorrow.
2015 was an extremely tough year for growing delphiniums in time for the Chelsea Flower Show. Blackmore and Langdon felt it was the hardest they could remember.
In fact, it was so hard that this particular grower had only one or two florets open for judging. Luckily, the judges showed some mercy and gave us a 4 star award. This was something beyond our wildest dreams. Can we get a 5 star award in 2016 – time will tell.
Hi everyone, pleased to say that we have now finished building the stand for 2014.
As ever, very many thanks to everyone helped especially Jackie Jack for tidying up the plants and helping build the stand and also to Joan Taylor of http://www.birchwoodplants.co.uk for supplying many of the supporting cast of plants. Most of all of course, many thanks to my wife!
I’ll write some more when time permits
In the meantime, enjoy the Chelsea coverage on TV
All the best. Mark.
Well, what a difference a few days make! Or as Yoda might say ” A few days and a difference there is!”
I’ve now taken 17 plants out of the greenhouse and placed them in sheltered spots around the garden – to, believe it or not, slow them down a touch. Unlike most exhibitors we need the delphs to peak during the latter half of Chelsea week, when Society seed sales peak. And, with the weather forecast in mind, slow them down we will!
Here’s a view of the most advanced plants with a few florets open.
We then have half a dozen just thinking about opening – they’re by the greenhouse door – some shade and protection from the wind. one or two of these plants have been grown outside only since the end of February when they were already two feet tall.
There are another half a dozen still in the greenhouse that may well make it to the show – fingers crossed!
Here’s a picture of some of the support plants – a good group of Astrantia ‘Buckland’
And the aquilegia – I’m having to dead head these just as the flowers open to make sure they’ve still got flowers in a week’s time
Lastly – couldn’t resist a pic of ‘Kestrel’ – one of my favourite delphs for sure.
It doesn’t seem a year since we were last frantically getting ready for Chelsea – but it is.
It’s also doesn’t seem a year or so since all the the stress of will we have plants in time and so on – but it is.
Last year was noted for its very cold spring and a struggle to get plants flowering in time. This year is different again – most people are talking about how early everything is. But I’m still concerned as to whether our plants will be ready in time. In spite of evicting the most advanced 4 plants from the greenhouse in the middle of February, the others have been slow to catch. This year, I’ve barely had to shut the greenhouse doors at night – last year I ran up a hideous electricity bill with heaters running in both houses at night!
Last Friday I took this picture –
Just this lunchtime the same view looks somewhat different – just as well really!
We also have the supporting cast of plants getting ready too. Last May I sowed a large batch of aquilegia seed – hopefully a good few of these will make it onto the stand –
Fingers crossed for some flowers soon!
All the best, Mark.