Are you enjoying the warm weather? The begonias look fabulous and almost all of them are fully recovered from the cold. My whole garden is full of pink and white flowers everywhere. I have noticed that the snails have also made a comeback after being inactive all winter. I have spread metaldehyde very thinly to control the snails before they get out of hand like they did last year. As I pull weeds and spread mulch, I am continuing to remove old flower stalks from everything and old leaves from the rhizomatous begonias. I am also cutting back old stems from the canes and thickstems. B. 'Chuck Jaros' had quite a bit of cold damage, but it has been in full bloom anyway. I am tired of looking at the ugly tall stems with bad leaves and I am cutting them way back. B. odorata alba are desperately in need of drastic pruning. They are in full bloom, and early in the morning the air is sweetly scented with their rosy fragrance. Be resolute! Cut those old brown stems way down to the ground. In a few weeks you will be very glad you did. The growing season is just started, and they will soon fill out with many more leaves and flowers than if you do not prune.
I am quite sure they will bloom again on fresh new growth before taking a rest in June. Normally I fertilize the whole garden in late February or early March. This year it was too cold and the plants were not growing then. I just finished the job now in late April. I used a little less fertilizer than normal because I will resume the normal schedule and fertilize again in June and October. I use palm and ornamental fertilizer on everything in the ground, being careful not to let it touch leaves or stems of begonias to avoid burning. I use Nutricote or Suncote on the potted plants. Sue Ellen Soldar has fabulous begonias on her patio in big pots. She fertilizes with liquid, a weak solution, every week with great results.Doris Happel
Treasurers Report: Sue Ellen reported our balance and noted that a donation was made to Coastal Poodle Rescue in memory of Doris Happel's mother.PAST BUSINESS REPORT:
No old business to report this month
NEW BUSINESS REPORT:
The topic of begonia fungus was discussed as member David Perkinson discussed an outbreak in his Begonia plants. Several options were discussed but a good recommendation was to visit Yahoo groups under Begonia or do a general Internet search and research the particular type of fungus or mold and consider treatment based on your particular situation.
President Price introduced our speaker for the evening, Dr George K. Rogers from Palm Beach State College. Dr Rogers introduced his book Landscape Plants for South Florida: A Manual for Gardeners, Landscapers and Homeowners which was published in 2009. Dr. Rogers then presented the history of George Eberhard Rumphius, (1627-1702) who, although blind at an early age, documented tropical horticulture including begonias. The presentation was not only informative, but so entertaining! Attendees left with a better appreciation for Rumphius who dedicated his life to the historical identification of many of the plants we enjoy today. Thank you Dr. Rogers!
The meeting ended at 8:45.Respectfully submitted,