"MORE BALLS THAN TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR"
By Andrew Aspital. (The title could only come from a Londoner)
When Ken Stock asked me if I would write a few words about 2007 - my thoughts were “Well that’s pretty simple" and so my first attempt at article started on a damp Sunday afternoon in November, armed with a lap top with 85% charge and Tottenham Hotspur another great love of my life, versus Wigan on the Radio, I was set waiting for the inspiration to hit me.
My 2007 season started just before Christmas in 2006 when on a cold Saturday I decided to look at my tubers in storage. Weeks of thought in the run up to Christmas have crystallised my plan to again try and win the Oscroft Cup at the national show. Powdery mould was evident in lots of places and so rather than clean it up, I decided to bed the tubers down in the greenhouse. Tuber storage has never been a strong point of mine and whatever I try, I don’t seem to be able to master the art.
The class called for 4 vases of 5 miniature ball and so that would be my main emphasis for the season to come. There is also a special class for a vase each on miniature decorative, cactus and ball and so this would be my secondary aim. Maybe now is the time to introduce Jonathan. My son, now just turned 16 got interested in growing dahlias about 6 years ago, and is my constant companion at the allotment, in the greenhouse and at the shows.
Goal! Tottenham 1 Wigan 0 Jermaine Jenas well that improves the afternoon.
Jonathan and I decided many years ago that we would grow different varieties and enter different classes so that we could not be accused of using each other flowers. Jonathan grows Winholme Diane very well and decided to continue growing Karenglen, Kilmorie and Ryecroft Zoë for 2007. He has a great eye for an exhibition dahlia and is invaluable when sorting flowers for a show. Even at 36 (plus VAT) my eyes are not as good as his and maybe I should go into business selling his time during show staging.
I have three 8x6 greenhouses affectionately called Tom Dick and Harry after the tunnels in the greatest film ever made. Harry, my propagating greenhouse has electricity laid on and is insulated with bubble wrap. It is also closest to the house which when times are wet and cold is a decision I never regret. There is also a propagating light for use during the winter. I keep about 50 cuttings of difficult to keep varieties under it - the cuttings are taken in the middle of September. These cuttings are used as back ups to the tubers and provide an interest over the winter months. So Harry was filled to the brim with tubers in time for Santa to visit and within a few weeks the first buds could be seen.
At this point I emailed Andrew and demanded to find out who the hell Harry was, and this is what he told me.
Ken here we go, I don't know if you remember the film `The Great Escape' well I think it was one of the best film ever. Tom Dick and Harry were the tunnels they used to escape in, and Harry is the third greenhouse hence the name of one of them. I met a guy who spent some time in this camp, and he'd made a brief escape. To top it all the guy who used to have the plot next to me was a rear gunner in the RAF. We have an awful lot to thank those chaps for you know.
Goal! Tottenham 2 Wigan 0 Jermaine Jenas. Its getting better all of the time.
I hate wasting cuttings and often take them early “Just for fun”. Thick or hollow shoots are discarded but a good cutting early in the season can easily be multiplied when stock is short. I try very hard to support my local society Kent Dahlia Society and they have two plant sales in May and June so plants are always appreciated. I will always take a car full of rooted cuttings together with a selection of other bits and pieces I have saved throughout the year. The Kent Dahlia Society is a great advert for the flower. Whilst I have concerns that there are no younger members joining, I was delighted three years ago when I was asked to be chairman of the society and I hope that my efforts have equalled the efforts of previous chairs in making it a solid society with a strong membership.