May, 2009

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President’s Message

As I write this, the Convention is still a week away and reservations are still coming in.   We expect about 175 people, Begoniacs all, from around the world!   This is a great opportunity for all of us to see and buy great begonias and to learn from these begonia experts. Thank you all who have volunteered and contributed.   I hope you all bring and show wonderful plants, and win great prizes.

When I am not busily working on Convention stuff, I check my begonia cuttings each morning.   For the past few weeks there are a few more cuttings each day that have sprouted.   This is such fun, but I admit I am running out of room.  Some of the begonias we got at the Holiday party and our January auction propagate very quickly, others seem to take a long time.

After these hard rains many of the rhizomatous begonias in my garden have lost their spring blooms, but B. nelumbiifolia and B. ‘Holley Moon’ and other late bloomers as well as canes and B. odorata alba compensate.  I know two of the gardens on our Convention tour, Doris’ garden and the Four Arts garden, are absolutely beautiful (I haven’t seen the other gardens on our convention tours recently.)   Our Conventioneers should be thrilled.

Our May speaker is Sid Gardino.  Sid will talk about Exotic Shade Plants, andSid has the best.   See you at the May meeting.

Nancy Cohen

Around the Garden

I participate in the begonia discussion group on Yahoo, which is often the source of very good information.  Recently, Lloyd Traven of Peacetree Farm and a speaker at the convention, posted a message about a new product he is using.  Here in his own words:

Begoniacs:  We’ve had this discussion so often.  Today, my pretties, we’re going to not only help you get rid of that nasty mildew, but give you a link that will change your begonia life.  That’s right, change your begonia life, rock your world:

To get rid of mildew, use a product called MilStop—it is produced by a wonderful company called BioWorks.  Milstop is a salt based upon potassium bicarbonate and is totally non-toxic.  In fact, it is OMRI certified for USDA Certified Organic Growers---we know this is true, because we are USDA Certified Organic Growers!  Even better, it is CHEAP, and SAFE---it’s a slightly different salt than common baking soda, after all.  There is NO RESTRICTION on you buying this, no license required or anything of the sort.

Here’s the kicker: Milstop was just listed in New York (which is almost as tough to allow usage than California !!!)  under something called FIFRA as an effective insecticide on MEALYBUGS, APHIDS, WHITEFLY, SPIDER MITES and a bunch of other stuff, too.  I’m attaching the link from their website, but it is universally approved for mildew everywhere, so who would know if it happened to kill a mealy?

Click here to read more.

Milstop is available at ProSource One on 441.  Unfortunately it is not available in small size.  Lloyd mentions that it is cheap; that’s because a very tiny bit goes a long way.  The size available is 5 lbs and costs a little more than $10 per pound.  The average small gardener needs a few ounces.  If members are interested, email me,  If enough of you want some, I will buy the container and split it up into packets and sell it at approximate cost.

Doris Happel

Next Meeting, May 11

Speaker: Sid Gardino, Exotic Shade Plants
Refreshments: Barbara Weltner, Marilyn Browde, Audrey Abrams
Raffle Table: Doris Happel
Badge Plant: Nancy Cohen