Producing your own Bedding Plants

Speaker: Peter Chivers
Date: 31st January
Year: 2018


Peter in full flow

Peter first gave us a potted history of his career in horticulture. Starting at 15 in the 1960s as a “Garden Boy” in the Portsmouth Parks Department, he was allowed day release at Highbury Technical College as it then was, for his formal training.

He went on to work in all of Portsmouth Parks except Canoe Lake. His first job was at Hilsea Lido and he had two stints at Portchester Crematorium. In those days Portsmouth used to grow all its Summer and Autumn bedding plants and do all its own flower arrangements too.

He then went on to show a series of flower filled slides of the trial grounds at Ball Colgrave, the largest UK supplier of flower seed plants to commercial growers and local authorities.


Ball Colegrave trial beds at West Aadderbury, Banbury
Website:  growninengland.co.uk

There are vast beds of Petunias, Antirrhinums, Diascia, Nemesia, Zinnias, Cape Daises, Impatiens, Verbena and Marigolds to name but a few, all colourfully displayed and labeled.

Also Calibrachoa, or “Million Bells” which are one of the most popular plants for growing in containers and may be propagated by vegetative cuttings. Peter recommended their summer open event as good for ideas.

Peter then went on to demonstrate the process of seed sowing, potting on and after care of seedlings.

He recommended Growize compost and advised us to only but compost which had been stored indoors. Remember “the answer lies in the soil”.

He showed us how to fill the container loosely with compost and tamp down. Then sew the seed lightly, sieve a little compost on top and level. Water sparingly (use a hand spray) and label or write on the pot.

Some seed needs light to germinate so cover with vermiculite not compost. He recommended using a fork to did out the seedlings when potting on and never to hold them by the stem, hold the plant by the leaf when pricking out.

Peter also showing us how to pot on the seedlings and how to care for the tiny plants.

Just before Peter brought the talk to a close he answered several questions which were asked by members.

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