A Brief History of Ken Stock
Before you read what I have to say about this period in my life - and how now at the age of seventy eight I'm desperately trying to rectify the disaster of a complete computer break down I realise I knew nothing of the art of putting a web page together at my first attempt of being a web master. Oh I could still gab, but my technical ability was limited, and the way I've presented the first photographs on my web site is even worse - I hope the pages I put together now are better because presentation is all in this game.
I was born in November, one reason I think I enjoy the autumn and all it entails. The date was either the tenth or the eleventh because from an early age I knew my birthday to be the tenth, but when both parents passed away I found that the real date on my birth certificate was the eleventh, Iím still not convinced. Where I was born and spent my first years, has changed beyond recognition Leytonstone was quite a nice area, and the houses in Argyle Street were typical of the time I haven't been back since we left London so I've know idea what it's like now, but I suppose like most places of that age, the area should be demolished and a new estate built in its place. One of the first lockups was said to have stood opposite our street, and Dick Turpin was known to have visited this area, but not in my time of course. Photo
They were two up two down properties, with what they called a scullery built on the back, and the smallest room was out in the cold. There was no front garden, the corridor they called the hall opened onto the pavement. At the back of the property was a courtyard where Ned Stock my dad grew his late chrysanthemums in pots. He learnt the art of chrysanthemum growing from his father, my granddad Joe Stock. I was told my first horticultural skill was at the age of three. I removed most of the large buds from dadís late chrysanthemums, and presented them to my mother Madge Stock, on a plate. Not a good idea considering the late chrysanthemum has only one shot at producing a flower. I made up for those early days by also being bitten by the chrysanthemum bug. I showed in the Bournemouth area, and also at National level in London with the New Forest & District Dahlia & Chrysanthemum Society, take a look at the news paper clipping, it must be about 1961, Iíd have been thirty odd. It was taken at one of our New Forest shows that used to be held at the Masonic Hall at Lymington. Photo
I think because I saw the wonderful colours in the dahlias when staging chrysanthemum blooms at our society shows, that later, when my showing days were over, I became a dahlia man. Well I ask you, for general garden use there is no better plant. They come in all sizes, a host of different forms and most of the colours of the rainbow except true blue of course. The dahlia lads always said you only get one set of blooms on a chrysanthemum, and of course theyíre right, apart from a bit of spray from the lower branches when the main blooms are cut. Itís different with dahlias, they can have as many sets of blooms as Mr. Frost allows.
My wife Irene and I moved to 104 Petersfield Road in 1980. Photo It was a much larger garden than my present with the disadvantage of being at water level in the winter when the river rose, consequently, any tubers left in to over winter, would rot. Another disadvantage was, a strip of land some six feet wide running diagonally front to back, inhabited with that infernal weed they commonly call `Mares tailí I kept this in check, but never completely eradicate it. Photo
Thatís when I grew my first dahlia cultivars from seed, I was a hybridist, or so I thought, but of course we all knew who the guilty parties were. I remember those first flowers; there was a purple one, a red one, a lavender one and a primrose one. Sounds like the start of a song. The primrose one, as youíll see, I named Tenovus, and like a fool I registered it, as well as the other colours. Photo Photo Photo
All these first seedlings were named after various members of the Tenovus team, how embarrassing now, years on when these cultivars have been superseded by better cultivars Iíve since raised. I will do my utmost to raise more for those already registered. I had an idea of raising ten different water lily flowered cultivars and calling them `The Tenovus Collectioní The idea is still in my head but they need to be good sound varieties, having good health, exceptional colours and being of the correct size for their class and last but not least have the ability to produce good tubers, not much to ask! To my mind new dahlias should be grown, or should I say assessed for three years before they are let loose on the un-expecting public. After all a new variety doesnít always live up to the photo in the catalogue or on the packet, does it? Talking about photos on packets, how many of us when in need of another variety, when loss of stock has prompted us to visit a garden centre, we end up with a totally different variety, to the one shown on the packet? I might ask for some assistance from other dahlia hybridists to create the `Tenovus Collectioní when the site my granddaughter Kim is creating, goes on line later this year.
Unfortunately although my granddaughter has created the start of a fantastic web site, there was know way she could keep up with the volume of stuff, I wanted to place on the site, itís a great pity because it was a really professional web site, the letters on the home page shone like real gold, God knows how she managed it, every letter was hand crafted, the logo alone must have taken ages to produce, but I soon realised I wouldnít be able to maintain the site, the way it had been made. As soon as her partner and her, have enough money, that is what sheíd like to do, produce web sites, sheís a brilliant artist, and deserves a break. Iíll always be grateful to her for her for the work she did, so you canít go without having a glimpse at it.
THE SITE THAT KIM STARTED
One good thing came out of it, and I learnt how to do this easier version, with the help of a fellow dahlia enthusiast called Jack Gott, who hails from the North West and writes for the Garden News. Thanks Jack for all your help, who ever invented emails should be decorated, without your help this labyrinth would not have reached the World Wide Web. Of course Iíve also learnt a few tricks and ideas of the many sites Iíve visited, most of which are on my links page. I promise the Photographs will get better as my web site unfolds, remember the first were all before the digital age cut in, the whole process is getting cheaper to do, and the cameras alone are all half the cost of what I paid two years ago.