What does Bryan do 44 times before breakfast? ……
Why does he want your old candles? …….
The reputation of Bryan Everest travels ahead of him, so it was no surprise to see a big turnout of local gardeners in the WI hall on 11 March.
In Bryan’s inimitable way he gave us a multitude of hints about growing vegetables, sweet peas, dahlias, chrysanthemums and much else. These included: peppers need plenty of light; Swift is a good first early potato but Desiree is ‘awful’; garlic needs a cold spell which we have not had this year but Solent White is a good variety; it is best to start onions in pots and then plant out; peas can be sown in a gutter pipe and, when germinated, can be slid into a shallow trench in the garden; asparagus should be planted on a ridge; successful rhubarb needs a winter mulch and you have to talk to it; dahlias can be grown from last year’s tubers, possibly split into pieces, or from cuttings which give better flowers; hybrid tea roses should now be pruned as low as possible with the dead wood removed first. Bryan has six large allotments with a greenhouse and polytunnel together with a summerhouse with radio and guest seating, although, much to his regret, he has so far failed to tempt Charlie Dimmock there.
He is often out at 5 in the morning and can fill 44 sweet pea pots with compost before breakfast – followed by another 44 in the evening! This enables him to grow up to a thousand sweet pea plants. Sadly last year his magnificent crop suffered bud drop just before the big show. This was caused by a sudden cool snap – so now Bryan is appealing for donations of candles that he can put around his plants if there is such a threat this year!
Such is Bryan’s enthusiasm and generosity that he brought with him vast quantities of plants for us to take away – these included peppers, potatoes, rocket, garlic, onions, broad beans, chives, mint, sage, Brussels, cabbage, calabrese, dahlias and sweet peas.
He also offered some chrysanthemum plants at the Spring Show. As always Bryan was prepared to answer a wide range of questions from the floor, although questioners waited anxiously to see how scathing would be his response! A thoroughly enjoyable evening was had by all and we are indeed fortunate to have Bryan as such a good friend of the Society, not just because of his horticultural expertise but also because of his refreshing and humorous approach to life. (Write up by Gerald South)