So the varieties for 2007 were as follows.
Jomanda, Mary's Jomanda, Edgeway Joyce, Dave's Choice, Cryfield Harmony would be the main ball dahlias and they would be joined by three varieties I was lucky enough to be asked to grow prior to release. A red ball called Janal Helen from Alan Jones in Essex. Jowey Anouschka, a purple Mini ball from Josef Weyts in Belgium and finally X303 from Phil Godsmark which is to be released in 2008 as Ryecroft Laura.
Also grown were the miniature decorative, Ryecroft Jan and Blyton Lady in Red, Poms Gurtla Twilight and Noreen and miniature cactus, Weston Pirate. Apart from Jomanda and its sport Mary's Jomanda, numbers were between 10 and 15 of each giving a total number grown at 196. I keep the numbers at this level primarily to keep the quality up. I will also tinker with a few Trelyn Kiwi, and a miniature cactus called Aitara Caress from Phil Godsmark. Growing on 2 allotments, space is not an issue and I could easily double the numbers grown, but I just do not have the time to manage any more than 200. I am a member of the Surrey society and they have a great class in their schedule for growers of less than 200 plants – two birds one stone.
I like to root my cuttings in individual modules (40 to a seed tray) and these are rooted in my home made propagator in Harry the third greenhouse.
This is a cold frame with a heated cable below a water trough. This keeps the air really moist and provided that it is shaded during sunny weather, it works well. The temperature is kept at 17 degrees or lower as I have previously had great problems with damping off and the moment the temperature rises, the problem comes back. Cuttings are rooted in a mix of multi purpose compost and sand at about 50/50. The mixture is watered well with Cheshunt compound. I have never managed to root in less than 14 days.
Once they start there is no stopping them. The cuttings from the over wintered green plants are always harder stemmed but seem to root a little quicker. By mid April I am a little short of Edgeway Joyce and Cryfield harmony and will have to use plants not a strong as normal.