Look the Judge in the Eye

A simple guide to growing and showing for beginners by Ian Penney

Some Growing Tips


Single Roses And Other Single Blooms

Remove the side buds from the stems of single roses and other flowers such as dahlias This will allow all the plant's energy to be used in the development of the main bloom. Remove any weak stems that will not produce a worthwhile bloom.

Cluster Flowered Roses

Remove the centre bud early from a cluster flowered (floribunda) rose. This allows the other buds to develop uniformly.

Fuschias And Pelargoniums

The aim for these plants is to have as many flowers as possible for the show. To this end you must pinch out (stop) the tips of growing shoots when they have produced three or four leaf joints. This encourages side shoots to grow to produce bushier plants. The last stop however must be made about three months before the show. Any shoots developing after that date are unlikely to produce flowers in time.

Feeding Pot plants

I use two fertilisers; one is high in Nitrogen and the other is high in Potash. I start the season with the Nitrogen to promote growth and gradually increase the proportion of Potash until that is the only one I am using when the flowers begin to develop. Like most growers I prefer to feed at every watering with a quarter strength solution. By doing this you never forget to feed (remember composts usually have only enough feed to last about 6 to 8 weeks).

Turning plants

Whether you grow your plants on a windowsill or greenhouse, you should turn your plants once a week by one-quarter turn. Your plant will then develop evenly.

Sweet Peas

To get the best results, you should sow individual varieties in mid October and grow on in a cold frame. Plants should be planted out late March on manured ground to which blood, fish and bone fertiliser has been added. Plants are grown on cordons (1 plant per cane) and all tendrils and side shoots are removed. This practice will give sweet peas with long stems and four florets per stem.