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2001 Paul Barlow

Bud and Bloom protection

We typically go to great lengths to ensure that our blooms are kept clean and free from damage. I use  a variety of protection systems:

Protection system Description and benefits
Overhead and side Protection My overhead system is based on Novolux corrugated sheets on a wooden framework. This, coupled with windbreak netting on all sides of the plot, gives adequate protection from both wind and rain. I think it's probably impossible to grow exhibition quality disbuds without this type of protection.
Bud Bags A personal preference, perhaps, but every bud is bagged using a 6"x6" bud bag, irrespective of colour. These bags ensure that the bud has some protection from the earliest possible stage.
Large Bags When each bud bag becomes filled with the developing petals it is replaced with a larger bag. I use 12.5"x13" and 12.5"x15" greasproof bags depending on the size of the bloom expected. All bags are 'double bags', i.e one bag inserted inside another before being inflated and placed over the developing flower. Bags are secured to the stem of the plant using two twistits (plant ties). These bags provide protection for the bloom right up to the point of cutting for the show.
Bloom Frames I constructed my own lightweight bloom frames and these are used for all reflexed cultivars, irrespective of colour. Frames maximise the space in which the reflexing bloom can develop, they also prevent bags collapsing on the developing petals.

Putting it all into practice:
bud-cocked Correcting a 'cocked' bud
Making the most of the potential of each bud begins shortly after each one has been secured. Some cultivars have a tendency for the buds to 'cock', or tilt on the stem such they no longer sit at right angles to the stem. In close competition on the show bench a bloom that does not sit correctly on it's stem may be a deciding factor against your exhibit.
.bud-straight The method I use  to correct this is simply a short length of plastic tube that is slit vertically along one side. This is then attached to the stem of the plant and gently pushed up beneath the bud until the bud begins to level out. A clothes peg can be used to hold the tube in position. As the stem elongates it is necessary to adjust the postion of the the tube and peg. Eventually, when the stem becomes ripe and upward growth has just about stopped, the bud will be level on the stem.
calyx Spraying
I like to spray the buds on regular basis after they have been secured. This will invariably mean using a hand sprayer containing any one of the commercially available insecticides. Each bud may be sprayed many times before reaching the point where the calyx splits and a bud bag is put over the bud. At this time I hope there is  no chance that aphids,blackfly or any other pest detrimental to bud and bloom development can now be present in the bag.


When the bud bag begins to fill up with the developing petals it's time to replace this bag with one large enough to hold the fully developed bloom

bud1.jpg (14994 bytes)

Eventually a bloom that is undamaged, free from aphids and other pests and ready for exhibition.

fullbloom.jpg (107948 bytes)

Applying a frame to reflexed
All relexed blooms are additionally protected with a lightweight wire cage that is attached to the stem of the plant and ensures that the bag is at it's maximum size without the need for inflation. The frame is of lightweight construction and can be attached directly to the stem of the plant.


My bagging system with frames is designed to make use of all the bags from previous years that have been slightly damaged or just had one corner ripped of to allow me to see what was happening. These bags will not normally be suitable for conventional use (ie inflating prior to use) but they are more than adequate with the frame system. The pictures alongside show my bagging system with frames.


The end result. The wire frame keeps the bags away from the petals giving maximum room for development and avoiding damage.


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Last updated on 20 December, 2001