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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Learn about wild food with Green Deane. This video presents the begonia as an edible plant that has been grown around the world both as food and as an ornamental.
For more information including the culinary and medicinal uses of begonias as well as the recipes of “Begonia Tartlett” and “Begonia Spread“, visit Begonia Bonanza | Eat The Weeds and other things, too.
Culinary uses are found in Japan, India, Indonesia (a sauce for meat and fish), Myanmar, China (tea, salads and wild snack), Brazil, Mexico, Paraguay and the Philippines. For example, the leaves of Begonia fimbristipula, a deciduous herb with tubers 7-8 mm in diameter, are harvested and dried for brewing a beverage (tea) in Guangdong, China.
The Journal of Economic Botany has mentioned the following edible begonias:
- B. annulata (aka B. hatacoa)
- B. auriculata
- B. barbata
- B. fimbristipula (used to make a tea)
- B. gracilis
- B. grandis var evansiana
- B. hernandioides
- B. malabarica
- B. mannii
- B. palmata
- B. picta
- B. plebeja (stems peeled, sap is used to make a drink)
- B. rex
- B. roxburghii (cooked)
- B. semperflorens
I’ve been working on my backyard haven. This little guy is the newest addition. To be clear, I really hate garden figurines. I think they too easily become “overkill”, but this itsy bitsy bunny was too cute to pass up. (At least I know he won’t be helping himself to my vegetables.)
As amped as I was yesterday, I feel totally drained today. I barely rolled out of bed and I’m having visions of going to the back room in my office and sleeping it off.
I think I completely overdid it last night. I still plan to do my workout tonight, but I’ll definitely be taking it easy.
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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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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