John McLennan, New Zealand

Around the Horn — Cape Point .

November 1, 2010

Categories: Bulb Information, Growing Daffodils, Hybridizing, Seedling, Soil

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Hi  Daffnetters ,
We  are  now  into  November, the  last month  of spring. It,s  Just  after  10 pm  ‘here  —  I  switched the  computer 
on  and, knowing it  takes  a  few  mimutes  to  warm  up,  I  dashed outside  to  turn  off the  sprinkler  that  has
been  soaking  my  trays  of  daff  seedlings. We  have  not  had  rain for  about  10  ( warm )  days;  the bulbs 
are  drying  off  and  the  tops  on  the  very  early  cutflowers  are  going  down. Not  unexpected as  it  is  November.
I’ve  been  following  the late flowering and Cape Point exchange with  interest; as a cutflower grower (as well as a keen hybridiser and exhibitor), it  is usually  on  either end of the season that flower prices are  at  their highest and well worth chasing.
It has been a very different season than usual in our area, which is well favoured as an early vegetable – (and  flower) production area. We seldom get the extremes that the growing areas can experience  .. It was a good  market season as we started early and finished very late. The market men tell us that the volume of daffs they  sell each season does not vary a great idea. What makes a difference is whether they  sell them in  a 12 week  or up to a 16 week season.
Spring 2009 was a very early season — it  was the first season for over a decade that I did not market any daffs at all in October. June was an all time record cold month.  August was the warmest for 60 years. This season my last consignment was on Friday 8 October — to me quite  a worthwhile extension.

Checking the market flower and price reports on our computer – grower site, I was very surprised to note that the last date for sales in Wellington — my local market — was on Friday 22 Oct  —  Kiwis will note that this is the Friday before the long  abour weekend.  The grower received very  firm prices.
The Auckland daff market had finished the day I finished (15 th), Christchurch (South  Island )  lasted until Wednesday 27 October. Understandably they are always later than the North Island.

Curiosity was killing the cat; I rang my Wgtn market manager and asked ? ? ? who, what, from  where? He gave what details he was permitted to do — the flowers were grown in Kimbolton, a  very elevated and hence cold and late area and were a late season, older Richardson  double.
As he is only a 2 year flower trade manager,  I asked if the other auctioneer, a 30year veteran, could remember a later season ;; he  could  not.  W H Y  ? ?
I do not grow the Beautiful Cape Point, but top Grower John Hollever grows it very well, next to my commercial block. I had not been up there for over a  week — so went looking for late flowers.
Photo of three small lines of Cape Point — taken Saturday 30 October. Most just past their best  but 2 opening buds were spotted  — good for another week. Also in another block were good  blooms of Jake and Armidale — both just past their best.
I support Graham Phillips theory on the need for a good, cold winter chill but is there a consistent pattern. Is it only on the extremes that we notice these differences. Probably so,  a very early season followed by a very late season will exaggerate the difference.
Spring  09  —  record  cold  June  — big  chill .  Record  warm  August  — mad  rush  and early  finish.

Spring  2010. No heavy frosts,  no solid chill, only average August temperatures.  Almost  double September  rainfall  in  our  area  and  also  most  North  Island areas. Soil temperatures  stayed low —  wet well  into  October  —  ask your local  silage contractor  — still  running  2 weeks late  here. The  soil  temperature is  not often mentioned in these discussions,  —  very  few  growers  record  it, – but tome it plays an equally important part as air temperatures.
Are  you  still  confused?
Hope my ramblings add something to the  discussion  — but  these questions seldom  have  a black and white solution.
Dave  Adams  —  is this as noticeable in the colder South?  I’m not very familiar with your dates.
Would guess that you always have a good solid winter chill  — possibly some sheltered areas have perma frost for short periods — almost unknown in N I  growing areas except for Ohakune  carrots.
Brian  —  a very big thanks for these beautiful late flowers — we are not complaining about their lateness but are looking for an explanation to a very late finish to our season.
Cape  Point  —  down by the horn  —  Who can remember that great British radio  comedy
 ” Around the Horn ”  —  Kenneth Williams I think  — use to enjoy their clever use of the English
language — must be getting Old.
Cheers  John .


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