Archive | 6 July 2012

Begonias Revisited


Garden Propaganda

Remember my post on large flowered tuberous begonias about a month ago?

http://gardenpr0paganda.wordpress.com/2011/04/24/large-flowered-begonias/

Well they were well overdue for potting up which is unfortunate because my trip to England is in three days and I have about a million things to do before I leave.

I foolishly bought too many of them.  Mail ordered some and instead of sending me the three tubers of each color that were offered they very kindly sent me four or five of each color.   Ack!  I am gardening on a little balcony that is already packed full of plants.  Thanks for the free gift but I would have preferred receiving fewer plants not extras!

That didn’t stop me from picking up a few more in different colors from various garden centers I visited before my order arrived.  I’m kind of a dummy when it comes to buying first and making room later.

Anyway…

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Large Flowered Begonias


Garden Propaganda

As much as I lament the loss of my old balconies full baking sun one cool benefit is the ability to grow some shade plants.  Now if I have my choice between big double flowers and dainty little natural species flowers I will usually pick the latter.  But for some reason I love the absurdly oversized flowers of tuberous Begonias.  Not the little bedding ones you buy in flats. I’m talking the giant ones with big monster sized flowers.

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Down the rabbit hole: plantkiller in begonia land


Plantkiller -- Queen of the Desert

I stumbled into a strange and oddly exhilarating world yesterday… the secret society of Begonia lovers. (OK, it’s not so secret. The Buxton Branch of the American Begonia Society meets at the Wellesley Library and even advertises co-potlucks with the Gesneriad Society. But it feels like they should have a secret knock, because they speak their own language, are fonts of arcane knowledge and even practice ancient magic — the mysterious art of making plants from plants…)

Yes, I got very brave yesterday and ventured forth to the Begonias and Gesneriads Propagation class at Tower Hill Botanic Garden. The class complimented a Begonias and Gesneriads (plant group best known for the African Violet) show… and when they say “show” they mean, like Best in Show, with blue ribbons and Honorable Mentions and so forth. My best friend nailed it: “You were waaaaaay down the rabbit hole.” Yes. Yes…

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Get your GREEN THUMB on!


If you’re like me and sad to have it still be winter (darn groundhog), here’s a great gardening gift that you can make inside for the green-thumb in your life.

Begonias are one of the easiest plants to propagate; most varieties only need a little water to start new roots. They come in infinite varieties (I love the leaves as much as the flowers) and stand up incredibly well as city house plants (requiring relatively low light, rather infrequent waterings (a once-a-week soaking will suffice in a pot with good drainage), and they are undeniably gorgeous.  Click below for the how-to.

How to: Propagate Begonias

Prepare a small container by washing thoroughly, making sure to leave no residue of suds.  The smaller the container, the better since the cutting will release growth hormones into the water to help the new roots develop.  Fill with tepid water.

Snip a large healthy…

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Begonias and Bordeaux


wineonmymind

My mother’s hands have NEVER touched a drop of soil- EVER!!! But she” loves nature ” so every year she supervises ” The Planting of the Begonias ” ! This, of course, involves me planting and she directing.

It always starts with a visit to the nursery.

This is where my mother carefully inspects each plant for color and size. Two reds, two peaches, two whites and two yellows…the same plants and colors every year. I once worked with a woman who, each year, planted red and white impatiens. Three red, three white, three red and so on in that order year after year. My mother is kind of like that.

Normally here is what happens- she picks out her eight begonias.

I carefully load them into the car.

We arrange them in the bed in front of her house.

I plant them.

I go home and pour a huge…

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The illustrated guide to rooting begonia cuttings


johntheplantman Gardening

 I’m going to need a lot of nice flowering plants. The Junior Service League garden tour is scheduled for April 28 and all of the urns and flower beds will have to look really good. I usually don’t even start the planting until the first of May because of the variable weather patterns in the North Georgia hills. Patsy’s going to love this.

I have access to a greenhouse, however. Due to health and other issues, I haven’t used the greenhouse for the last couple of years but when I found out about the garden tour last October, I decided to clean up the greenhouse and to save a lot of Dragon Wing begonias that would have ordinarily gone to the trash pile. As we changed out annual color last year, I saved a number of the begonias and potted them up to use this spring. Last week (march 7)…

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Plants in containers for summer color


johntheplantman Gardening

 A couple of weeks ago Lovely Christine asked me to write about mixed plantings in containers. She wanted to do something outside the front door. At the time I was only prepared to do an article about window boxes. She liked that one, but I kept looking at container gardens wherever I went and got some good pictures. I will add to these as I visit more gardens.

The most important thing to remember in planting container gardens is plant compatibility. This means that the plants you use all require similar light and water conditions. A good dose of liquid fertilizer every week during the summer will ensure outstanding success.

Here is a combination of red begonia and yellow lantana. It should be magnificent in a month or two.

Sometimes a single plant is all that is needed. This is a specimen variety of angel wing begonia in…

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Tuberous begonia ‘Nonstop Mocca Deep Orange.’


Flowery Prose

Photo credit:  Rob Normandeau

Okay, I am officially in love with this begonia.  Who wouldn’t be?  The hot orange blossoms + that delicious rich chocolatey-coffee foliage colour = YUM!   I’ve paired ‘Mocca’ with green-leafed ‘Nonstop Orange’ in a partly-shaded location, and the two are doing fabulously!

Easy-care annuals, tuberous begonias (Begonia x tuberhybrida) really only need watering (from below or with care if from above – try not to get too much water on the leaves) and a little shot of food every couple of weeks during the growing season – and they’ll perform all summer long.  Although they do not like a great deal of direct light, tuberous begonias are surprisingly heat tolerant – and, indeed, get a little cranky under prolonged cool and wet conditions.

Because I’m so enamoured with my new acquisitions, I’m going to try to save the tubers over winter, which I hear…

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