June, 2010

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President’s Message

For those of you who missed my President’s message in May … here it is:  “PLEASE SEND HELP… I’m drowning in paperwork, weeds, and I need a personal assistant!”

Oh …. June, the dreaded beginning to Sweat Fest 2010!  Quite a 180 from a few short months ago! I will not complain too much though, I will always take the heat over the cold.

With all this heat and wonderful rains come added chores for all us fellow gardeners!  June is the month that we all are trying to catch up on the fertilizing, battle the weeds, and try and pot as much as we can handle.  And why do we all bare the heat, humidity, and Florida’s unofficial state bird (the Mosquito)???  Because WE WANT BIGGER, BETTER, AND MORE PLANTS!!

I would like to offer my condolences on behalf of the Begonia Society to our long time friend and fellow member Virginia Jens on the sudden loss of her daughter this past month.  This had made me realize how short life really is sometimes, and how we all need to take the time stop and smell the flowers more often.  Virginia, our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family in this tragic time.

This month’s speaker is our own beloved member & fellow Plantaholic Kitty Phillips.  She will be discussing Palms. Doors open at 7 pm.  Bring a friend, or two!  See you there!

Shawna Price


Welcome to new member, Margie Sandell.


When:  Monday, June 14, 7 p.m.
Where:  Mounts Auditorium
Speaker:  Kitty Philips on Palms.
Refreshments:  Christine Schwartz, Ron and Linda Wiringer
Raffle Table:  Kitty Philips and Betty Ahlborn
Badge Plant:  Elaine McKelvey

Around the Garden

After a very nicely wet winter, wet being the only thing nice about last winter, we are now enjoying the beginning of rainy season.  I always breathe a sigh of relief when the rains start. Plants definitely love rain better than irrigation.  The begonias that I fertilized in April are showing phenomenal growth and are looking wonderful.  They are due for fertlization again, and I will do it sometime this month.  The combination of rain, warm weather, and fertilizer will really promote big new growth.  It is still a good time to propagate leaf cuttings if you have some special plants, perhaps from the convention a year ago or from the auction in January.  I have two of the fabulous B. 'Maggie Nodal' in the ground.  One is very big and healthy, and I started some leaf cuttings from it in perlite.  I checked the other plant carefully and found some sucking insects, scale or mealy bugs, which must be inhibiting growth; it also was in a relatively dry spot.  I treated with Imidicloprid (brand name Bayer's Advanced Rose and Garden).  The big healthy plant has big fat rhizomes; the smaller one with insects has put out quite a few plantlets from the main rhizomes.  I wiggled those little plantlets off and potted them up.  I will move the infected plant to a moister spot and am watering it by hand in the meantime.  Last fall I mentioned trying perlite for leaf cuttings.  Perlite has been a huge success, with very little die off.

If you handle garden chemicals or just want to keep your hands clean while weeding or potting, get some nitrile disposable gloves, available in the hardware department of big box stores.  Nitrile gloves are impervious to chemicals and quite durable, much better for gardening than medical disposable gloves.  You can reuse them for quite a long time.  They are relatively cheap.  Harbor Freight Tools has them on sale this week for $9.99 for 100 gloves, and they come in several sizes.  They are strong enough to pull weeds without tearing but you can still feel through the gloves so you get a good grip and get the roots out.

Doris Happel
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