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Begonias, Begonias


Forest Garden

I love begonias.  That may sound like a strange obsession for a “forest gardener”, but it is my strange obsession.

I remember buying a hanging basket of blooming angel wing Begonias with tiny dark burgundy and green  leaves at the  farmer’s market when I was living in a third floor walk up.  It made my small screened in porch more beautiful, and made me happy.  Since then, I’ve always had a soft spot for adding beautiful begonia plants to my collection.

There are thousands of cultivars in the genus Begonia.  Whether grown for their outrageous leaves or their abundant bright flowers, Begonias can be found from tiny to tremendous.

Begonias work in a forest garden because they appreciate shade.  Although some, like the new Dragon Wing cultivars and Begonia “Bolivienses” can take hours of sun each day, most are quite happy growing in permanent shade.  They also require very little care.  Most like to…

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Begonia ‘Rosie’


Begonia ‘Rosie’ won 1st PRIZE – Cane-like Class

Origin: Chance seedling

Horticultural Type: Cane-like

Stems: Green

Leaves: Light to mid-green – generously spotted

Petioles: Green

Flowers: Large clusters, snow white

Propagation: Stem cutting

Begonia ‘Rosie’ won 1st PRIZE – Cane-like Class

and a SPECIAL AWARD

 

Propagating Cane Begonias


Betty Vander Poorten (10)
Doing it my way!

I take tip cutting about 12-13cm (5in.) in length. Always go to a node which has not flowered. This hopefully will give you a nicely shaped plant. If you cut at a node which has flowered, the plant will not branch.

My propagating mix for canes is potting mix 80%, perlite 20%. I have also used straight vermiculite with great success. I always use striking powder, a habit from nursery days in Victoria because I believe it to be beneficial. Lots of growers do not use this powder.

August for me is the best time to do cuttings, but I have had success in autumn before the cold weather sets in. On an east facing wall I have large terracotta pots filled with lovely canes which get sun till midday in summer – the more sun, the better the flowering.

In August I cut back to four nodes in the centre of the plant and three around the edge. This gives a lovely flowering plant by the end of November/December. Fertilise with Osmocote Plus. If things are working your way …. Don’t change!

 

Betty Vander Poorten’s Begonia Collection


Begonias Grown by a Queensland Begonia Society Member

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Mrs Betty Vander Poorten has been a member of the Queensland Begonia Society for many years, during which she has grown numerous begonia cultivars in green houses built by her husband, Hals.

CULTURE NOTES – APRIL MEETING (from Winter Journal 2011)

I was introduced to the world of begonias when a friend gave me a piece of a gorgeous B. ‘Silver Jewell’ she had in her home. Soon after we went to an open garden at Victoria Point where there was a lovely B. listada. The owner very generously gave me a piece of her plant. I was seriously ‘hooked’ when I went to the annual Begonia Show soon after. My family is surprised that my interest has not waned!

I have over the years tried various growing mediums and have now arrived at putting down my leaves in either washed river sand only or a mix of two parts washed river sand, one part Perlite and one part coir peat. The latter mix I find is excellent for cane cuttings. I find that if I use a root growing hormone powder or pure unadulterated honey to dip the cuttings in, it encourages quicker propagation. Unlike my earlier efforts, I now wait until the plants are really well established before I transplant them.

I now take care not to overpot. I also use small stones to weight the plants down, instead of using sate sticks.

I have lost many begonias by being too generous with feeding. Every so often, I use Confidor to prevent bugs and caterpillars from feeding on them. I use Baycor for mildew and have recently started using a concentrated form of Seasol called Eco-Cweed. This is in powder form. Half a teaspoon is dissolved in a little water and added to a litre of water. This is very good value and does not smell as much. Of course, it also takes up less space and is a lot easier than shaking a large quantity of liquid Seasol.

Happy gardening.

Betty Vander Poorten

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All photos were taken by Click here to contact SoundEagle (Webmaster and Designer)SoundEagle in the summer morning between 10.39am and 10.52am on 18th (Tuesday) of December 2012 at Mrs Betty Vander Poorten’s home garden.

 


Gracie Binoya Photography

One greenhouse at the Botanical Garden is filled with dozens of Begonia plants of different colors and varieties, and I just couldn’t help but snap a few photos of them. I did use the Split toning Preset in Lightroom to emphasize the awesome colors and texture of the leaves and flowers.
Begonia

ISO - 1600 | Focal length: 90 mm | F-stop: f/4 | Exposure time: 1/250 sec

Begonia

ISO - 1250 | Focal length: 90 mm | F-stop: f/4 | Exposure time: 1/125 sec

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Marty DeHart Introducing Begonias


Marty DeHart shows viewers what the plant breeders have been doing in the wonderful world of begonias.