Begonias are plants for all weathers

Begonia

Begonia

Tracey Aldridge with the pineapple she has grown in a pot at her home in Gosport 
Picture Ian Hargreaves  (170619-1)

WATCH: ‘I couldn’t believe it’ says woman who grew a pineapple in Gosport

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I wonder how the plants recommended for dry places are getting on?

A couple of years ago gardening experts were on the radio and television recommending plants which survive in drought. I thought to myself ‘don’t go along with what they say, keep to begonias’.

I feel really sorry for allotmenteers. Earlier in the season, most of the plots at Waterlooville were really up to scratch. But due to this dreadful wet weather and gardeners not being able to get the time to keep things up together, many plots look as if they are abandoned.

On top of this, the dreaded potato blight has arrived. Potato blight strikes when humidity is high and the temperature is warm and the disease causes the leaves to become brown and the whole plant collapses within a few days.

It can be prevented by spraying Bordeaux mixture all over the leaves, but after each spray I did the rain washed the Bordeaux mixture off and as a result my early potatoes are affected.

What will I have to do? Every haulm will be cut off and put into large containers.

This must be done carefully, because if the haulms are thrown around the spores fly off and contaminate other potato plants.

The haulms will then be taken to the recycling centre. If left in a heap, the spores will fly around the whole site.

It makes me wonder what farmers use to prevent this problem. Must be powerful stuff and I bet it is expensive!

Last week I had the honour of judging Rowlands Castle gardens with Pat Carter. Pat is a well-known Rowlands Castle personality and, yes, the rain hissed down but despite that we both enjoyed the day.

What beautiful gardens there are at Rowlands Castle and every one I saw should enter The News Bloomin’ Marvellous gardens competition.

The winner will pick up £100 in gardening vouchers from Garsons Garden Centre in Titchfield. There’s also a second prize of £50 in vouchers and the third place garden will win £25 worth of vouchers.

To enter, simply post a photo of your garden to Bloomin’ Marvellous, Features Department, The News, Hilsea, Portsmouth, PO2 9SX, or e-mail it to blooming@thenews.co.uk by midnight on Friday July 27, 2012.

So what gardens did I enjoy the most in Rowlands Castle?

Brian and Jill had chickens and ducks – I love ducks. The best small back garden was full of clematis and perennials as good as any you would see at Wisley, while the best front garden was created by Fred and June.

Their well-established garden covered the ground really well and the foliage of the shrubs sparkled thanks to the rain.

Best of all, June had planted begonia semperflorens underneath a tree and both Pat and I agreed this was the perfect plant that is fine in all weathers.

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