August, 2009

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President’s Message

Greetings from up north

I admire all of you with the stamina to keep growing begonias in the heat and humidity.  Thanks to all of you for bringing such nice plants to our annual silent auction.  Thanks for the good food too.

I am growing a nice tuberous begonia up here.  Huge (4”) pink blossoms, beautiful silvery-burgundy leaves.  It does not seem to mind our (still) cool rainy weather in the Catskills.  The plants I brought from Florida have totally rejected this lousy weather.  I brought small B. ‘Nancy Cohen’ for my friends.  They are now smaller than when I brought them up here, and I’m too ashamed to give them away.

Which brings me to—could we try a competitive flower show this year?  After the Convention you all should have a small taste of flower shows, and I’m sure a large appreciation of how gorgeous begonias can be.  OK, so nobody managed to get Doug Pridgin’s secret from him.  Well, Doug will not be allowed in this show!  More about this later—we’ll keep you posted.

Keep growing those begonias.

Nancy Cohen

August meeting

Meeting:  August 10, 7 p.m., Mounts Auditorium

Speaker:  Bruce Pearson of Tropical World Nursery will talk about microclimate gardening.  All gardeners take advantage of microclimates even if they do not think of that when they are selecting a location for a plant.  Bruce will also discuss some unusual plants and will bring some things for sale.

Refreshments:  Elaine McElvey and Di Loveland

Raffle Table:  Tara Ford

Badge Plant:  Christine Schwartz

Around the Garden

We've had a lot going on at our house in the last month with Bill's Mom moving in with us permanently, so I haven't been out in the garden as much as usual.  I am a willing procrastinator when the temperature is over 90 degrees!  Yesterday was cloudy and I was outside long enough to see that the jungle has taken over.  Weeds are three feet high and shrubs have overtaken paths.  Debris from the poinciana and pine trees is everywhere.  Despite all that, most of the begonias are thriving.  Two particular success stories from the convention are B. 'Maggie Nodal' and B. 'Reddington Shores.'  Both started out in 4-inch pots and are now in the ground.  Maggie's leaves are more than 14 inches, and Reddington Shores has 12-inch leaves.  I also found one begonia in a ceramic pot where the drainage hole had plugged up and drowned the plant.  I had neglected to put this pot on top of some bricks or a paving stone, which usually keeps the drainage flowing.  Snails are still my worst problem despite liberal applications of Slugger and diligent hand-picking every night.

B. Maggie Nodal B. Reddington Shores
     B. 'Maggie Nodal'        B. 'Reddington Shores'

Bruce Pearson will be our speaker on August 10.  He will talk about microclimates and other things currently on his mind.  Here's your homework:  Walk around your garden and notice where you have sun and shade at this time of year and different times of day.  This is the hottest time of year, and the spots where you have several hours of sun now are probably not suited to begonias.  Other places may now have some shade but are sunnier in winter and the begonias may do fine with the less direct winter sun.  Knowing where the sun is during the changing seasons is a key to taking advantage of microclimates.

Doris Happel


This month’s meeting was our annual picnic and plant auction.  Members contributed to a delicious feast and the plants offered for silent auction tempted everyone to bid.

There was no formal meeting and no minutes were taken.

Respectfully submitted,
Sandy Sklar, Recording Secretary

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