Where have all the flowers gone?

Daffodil show exhibitors are anxiously watching the weather reports for news of gentle sunshine and light rain as many daffodil varieties are still not making good growth and the show season is almost at its peak. Poor light, biting cold winds and heavy nightime frosts are holding the blooms back.

Some flowers grown in pots have been moved into cold greenhouses for a little gentle warmth and protection but many report that growth has not been accelerated as this picture of Basil Billinger’s greenhouse in Nailsea, North Somerset clearly shows. Normally flowers are desperately being held back at this stage in the show season.

More drastic measures have found pots of flowers brought into lounges and bathrooms but with only modest success. The form, poise, condition and size of many flowers is often affected by artificial forcing leaving flowers undersized, creased and wrinkled, with many more mittens and tears. Colour is also affected as petals do not have time to develop their true clear colours especially noticeable with pinks and reversed bi-colours.

However we must be careful what we wish for. A sudden rise in temperature, a possible 20 degrees has been mooted for parts of the West country this weekend, may see flowers bursting open on short stems, suffering sun damage and being over very quickly.

Some clouds have silver linings. Flowers that have managed to bloom, particularly divisions 6, 7, 8 and 12 are lasting and lasting. A pot of Jet Fire here in Somerset is well into its 6th week of flowering and still looks fresh. There is always another year……

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