YEARLY REVIEW 2003
I have already started to lift my stock and Iím not all that impressed on what
Iím finding. There are plenty of roots but not much tuber. Perhaps the reason I
never get the fat tubers everyone likes, is too much phosphate. Okay I know
phosphate makes root growth, but too much over the course of a few years could
well make to much fibrous root, at the expense of tuber. Also why had my
seedlings made such good tubers? Iíll answer that, they hadnít had a yearly dose
of phosphate in the form of bone meal, just a light dressing of Growmore and
Iíve only been using the patch for two years.
I was thinking how my friend Harry Lawson from Hartlepool plans his feeding programme each year, okay I know he grows chrysanthemums, and chrysanthemums donít make tubers, but what he says about the build up of phosphates got me thinking. After the initial base dressing, Vitax Q4, or a similar organic balanced feed, he uses a liquid feed consisting of nitrogen and potash, at a weak dilution rate. Should the weather be over wet, he thinks nothing of giving them just potash. Likewise during a prolonged dry spell, he switches to one of pure nitrogen; all of these liquid feeds are given at a very low dilution rate. Itís all there in his fascinating book `Chrysanthemum Breeding Made Easyí and at six quid itís remarkably cheap. The price works out to twenty pence for each of the thirty years, heís been breeding, and every penny is for the society, and flower he loves. If thereís anyone interested in purchasing this smashing little book, they can go to Harryís web site, youíll find a link on my home page. The book and the site are as exquisite as were his exhibits, all those years ago, when we were young. Although I knew him then, he didnít know me, I wish Iíd have spoken to him, you never know, I might have been breeding chrysanthemums now, instead of dahlias. I, like everyone else, was just an admirer of his wonderful flowers. Photo
As I said the book is packed with everything a budding hybridist needs, and his methods can be applied to anything from Artichokes to Zygocactus, the principles of breeding are just the same, and if I can grasp it any one can. The only other feed he gives, twice during the season is a feed of Maxicrop. Iím determined to try out his theory next year, because Iím sure I have too much phosphate in my soil. After all Iíve been putting on a dressing of bone meal every spring, and then adding even more every time I use a base dressing, or balanced liquid feed. We get in the habit of doing things one way, when we should be trying something different. I shall always be grateful for the help Iíve received from Harry Lawson, but donít take my word for it, read the book.
As for the varieties that did well in 2003.
Was of course my star cultivar; it seemed to get better and better as the days got cooler.
Willowfield Matthew: Small/Miniature Decorative.
This was another that was superb, Iím surprised it wasnít mentioned more in the press.
Last but not least that FABULOUS Gallery dahlia .
Art Nouveau: Double Orchid. The Best little dwarf bedding dahlia in the world.
This flowered with me, from the middle of July, until I lifted it in late November. Okay it isnít a show dahlia but what a show it puts on. I have several seedlings, using this type, from a line Iíve been working on for the past two years, but none come up to Art Nouveau for sheer flower power. Iíve yet to find out if the name Gallery is a trade name, or another group name. If itís a trade name, Iíll have to invent a name for my group of seedlings, unless I can get the Dutch firm Verwer who bred Art Nouveau, to trial them. Here are a couple to go on with.