August, 2010

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When:  Monday, August 9, 7 p.m.
Where:  Mounts Auditorium
Speaker:  Virginia Jens, "Paul Lowe Hybrids"

Our own Virginia Jens will be the speaker, with a program called "Paul Lowe Hybrids."  Paul Lowe was a member of our branch and a well-known hybridizer.  Many of the plants we grow are his.

Refreshments:  Christine Schwartz
Raffle Table:  Cathy Burger
Badge Plant:  Norma Grimm

Around the Garden

Hot and dry for another month!  Amazingly, most begonias are holding up as long as the sprinklers reach them.  I fertilized the whole landscape in July and then we did not have rain and probably at least 36 hours elapsed before the sprinklers came on.  I had some leaf burn from the fertilizer dust that hit leaves.  I also have snail damaged leaves, so as I work in the garden, I am removing bad leaves, which will soon be replaced with new growth.  I am putting out snail bait about once a month.  The cane begonias have had their best year ever.  B. coccinea always looks good; that's the one that blooms 365 days a year.  But this year, the canes that are well established really put on a show of blooms; among the best are B. 'Encanto Bronze', B. 'Fountain of Youth', B. 'Compte de Lesseps', and B. 'Honeysuckle.' They have been blooming for months.  I am trimming the non-blooming vigorous young stems to about 18 inches to encourage branching.  As the old, heavy brown stems stop blooming, I am cutting those down to about 6 inches.  This hard pruning will encourage new basal growth.  This is also a good time to hard prune thickstems.  They will start to bloom in December and need several months to grow full and lush to put on the best bloom.  You can still take cuttings now of anything you want.  One of the easiest ways to increase your collection is to break off rhizomes, trim off most of the leaves, and place the rhizomes horizontally in mulch of just half-way covered with soil.  They will soon grow into nice plants.  You can do the same with thickstems, but the stems should be vertical.

Doris Happel
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