November, 2012

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Next Meeting

When:  Monday, November 5, 2012, at 7 p.m.

Where:  Mounts Auditorium
September Refreshments:  -Ron Wiringer & Ed Whalen
Badge Plant:  - Ed Whalen
Speakers:  - Virginia Jens & Johanna Kirstin "Unusuaal Begonia Containers"

We have an excellent slate for next year's Begonia Society!

2013 Slate of Officers:

Ed Whalen, President
Nancy Cohen, Vice President
Sandy Sklar, Secretary
Frances Drescher, Treasurer
Virginia Jens, National Representaive

President’s Message

Our November meeting is on the FIRST MONDAY OF NOVEMBER, the 5th! This is because of the Veteran's Day holiday the following week.

The program is on unusual begonia containers, and will be a hands on meeting. Bring your own "unusual" container, and some will be available at the meeting. This is an opportunity to learn and/or review the important components for happy begonias in any media.

Virginia Jens
President, 2012

Newsletter Editor’s Message


In October, two grooming get-togethers were held in the Mounts Botanical Garden to tidy up and plant additional begonias. The Garden has its second big sale of the year on November 3 and 4 with set up on Friday, November 2. Theses sales are great fun and a wonderful way to chat up one of our favorite plant families. Profits will continue to enable us to contribute to begonia exploration around the world as well as procuring some interesting speakers. We will hand out instructions on how to grow begonias and a membership form in case any one wishes to join up. By working the sale you also get in free to this event.

Planting by the Stars


2nd, 3rd & 4th Taurus
8th & 9th Cancer
17th & 18th Scorpio
21st & 22nd Capricorn
25th & 26th Pisces
30th & 31st Taurus

4th & 5th Cancer
13th & 14th Scorpio
17th & 18th Capricorn
21st, 22nd & 23rd Pisces
26th, 27th & 28th Taurus

• Planting and Transplanting are best done in Cancer, Scorpio and Pisces with Cancer being the best.

• Best Pruning for quick growth is first Taurus and then Capricorn.

Fragrant Begonias
By Dominique Benoit

The first time I saw the flower cluster of B. ‘Lucerna’, my first begonia, my first reaction was to bury my nose in it. And to take it out immediately, disappointed because it had no scent. I still liked the satin-like quality and the color of its leaves, its brilliant and profuse flowers, but it lacked fragrance. As a result, as soon as I started my collection, I looked for scented begonias. The first one must have been B. solananthera, and I found that it was smelling really nice, like violets. Then there was B. ‘Bettina Rothschild’, which surprised me because it smelled like a rose, and I did not know it was scented. Since then, I have had fun searching for even the most fleeting fragrances. For instance, B. minor (syn. Nitida odorata), B. ‘Sweet Magic’, B. masoniana, B. ‘Honeysuckle’, B. venosa, B. egregia, B. dichroa are an enchantment every time they bloom. Of course, some begonias will “flash” their scent only at certain times of day or at a certain stage of bloom. Often, female flowers emit their scent when they are ready to be pollinated, thus attracting pollinating insects. Heat and the enclosed atmosphere of a room or a greenhouse also seem to make their scent stronger.

For instance, the beautiful B. minor ‘Alba’ that was so fragrant in my veranda completely lost its scent when I set it outside, in a draft. But if the weather turns sultry, if a storm threatens and the air is still, it regains all its scent. Sometimes, too, you must wait until the plant reaches a certain strength or maturity, until it is fully grown. This is why I continue to smell my favorite plants at any time of the day, and I am often pleasantly surprised. If your B. solananthera does not smell, if B. ‘Sweet Magic’ is sulking, set them in a warm place, away from drafts, and you will find that when the flowers open you can smell their fragrance more than one meter (three feet) away. Do not be discouraged: this fall, on a sunny day (they were so few!), after growing B. ‘Lucerna’ for over ten years, I discovered that, after all, it had a slight scent! Other begonias are scented or said to be: B. lubbersii, B. malabarica, B. kellermanii, B. echinosepala, and B. heracleifolia
(Taken from the Begonian May-June 1995 Issue page 87)

A tip from France on cleaning pots: Soak in a pail of detergent water for one week – that does it, no scrubbing!

The New Year is just around the corner……….

And that means our dues are due once again. If you pay your dues at our next meeting in November you will be given a free begonia plant. There will be a selection of plants to choose from on the back table. If not paying in cash, please make your checks out for $35 to the Begonia Society of the Palm Beaches. ($45 for two members in the same household). Thanks for you help!

Bring a friend to the meeting!!

Newsletter Editor

Meeting Minutes for October 1, 2012

Calll to Order

President Virginia Jens called the meeting to order at 7:36 p.m.

The aims and purposes of the Begonia Society were read by Elaine McKelvey. Thanks were extended to Elaine, Brenda Lines, and Di Loveland for supplying refreshments. Elaine also contributed the badge plant.

Old Business

IRS forms have been mailed

Work days for the begonia garden at Mounts are this Saturday, October 5 and also Saturday, October 27. This will ready the garden for visitors to Mounts’ Plant Sale the first weekend in November. There will also be a work party December 3.

Michael Evans is looking into setting up a tab on our website dedicated to the Begonia garden at Mounts, including photos and info.

Members were asked to check with Denise that their correct emails are on file. Everyone should be able to receive the newsletter through their emails. If not receiving it, members can also check that it isn’t blocked as spam.

The club will have a booth at Mounts Fall Plant Sale the first weekend in November. A sign-up sheet was passed around for volunteers willing to help set up on Friday, or for a couple of hours at a time Saturday and Sunday, and for tearing down on Sunday. We also need a pop-up tent, and someone with a truck to pick up plants at Harmony Nursery. The club will pay for gas.

Regarding nominations, we do not yet have a candidate for President. Other positions are as follows: Nancy Cohen for Vice President, Frances Drescher for Treasurer, Sandy Sklar for Secretary, Ed Whalen for National Representative to ABS. Nancy DeGenera is willing to serve as Refreshments Chair, Sandy will serve as Membership Chair with Denise Friendlander’s help. We are still looking for someone to do the Newsletter. Next month we will vote, and December is the Holiday Party.

New Business

Next month’s meeting will be on November 5. (The Mounts Building will be closed the second Monday for Veterans Day.) The presenter will be Tom Keepin from Houston, Texas who will conduct a hands-on workshop exploring unusual containers for begonia growing. We will need more help than usual for cleanup at the end of the workshop.


Gene Joyner is on the radio the third Tuesday on WRMB (89.3 FM) 7:45 a.m. – 8:25. He is also on Sunday morning around 7:25 live on 880 AM radio out of Miami. Both shows feature gardening info and question and answer call-ins. The second Saturday of the Month (Oct. 13, this month) Unbelievable Acres is open 1 - 5 p.m.

Meeting was adjourned.

Program – Colin Friedrich from Excelsa Gardens, Loxahatchee

Excelsa Gardens was started about 20 years ago. The nursery sells tropical plants. The number of begonias offered for sale will increase as the weather cools down. The nursery is open six days, Monday through Saturday.

Colin brought begonias, heliconias and gingers, aloes, bromeliads, cordylines, and others, including tropical trees: cacao, noni, and dwarf ylang ylang; also false agave, Chinese perfume bush, the black bat plant, Spathiglotis, Calathea, Farfugium, Mendenilla, Agloenema, and Cyclanthus. Everyone was pleased to purchase his beautiful plants at bargain prices.

Respectfully submitted, Sandy Sklar
Recording Secretary


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