There was a very nice article in a recent Palm Beach Post. Sandra Arlund, the West Palm Beach Garden Club’s first Vice President and former President, announced that the former Garden Club Building is being turned over to West Palm Beach which will be leasing the building to the nearby South Florida Science Center and Aquarium. Over the years the Garden Club had up to 500 members. Now the Club has less than 50 and will meet the second Monday of each month at the Palm Springs City Library on Cypress Lane. We wish them continued success.
We encourage members who have not paid up their dues for next year to bring a check
to this meeting. The newly elected officers for 2014 will be inducted by Virginia
Jens. Information about our Begonia Garden dedication will be updated. We still have
pots suitable for begonia presentation at the March Convention. We hope to have at
least 25 entries by our Palm Beach Club, especially since we are considered to be
the biggest Club in Florida. See you at the December meeting.
Call to Order and Greetings
President Ed Whalen called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m. Ed greeted members. Members were given raffle tickets for a drawing at the end of the meeting.
Ed gave a Nominations report. He thanked everyone who served as officers and committee chairs during the past year. The slate of officers nominated for the coming year are:
Ed Whalen – President
Nancy Cohen – Vice president
Frances Drescher – Treasurer
Sue Ellen Solodar – Secretary
Patrick Dempsey – National Rep
Johanna made a motion to accept the slate as nominated; Virginia seconded the motion. All voted in favor.
In the last Begonian, there was an update on the Convention. Registration packets will be available on line; they will not be mailed. If you don’t have internet or if there are any problems, contact Virginia. Copies will be made. It is not possible to pay online.
Friday night of the Convention will be the Plant Sale for registrants and ABS members. There is an extra cost for trips.
We are hosting the Hospitality Suite. On Wed. March 19, there will be an Irish theme.
Charles is the outgoing ABS President; Virginia is incoming President.
The meeting was adjourned so Charles could start his program about raising Begonias for the Convention Begonia Show.
BRING A FRIEND TO THE NEXT MEETING
Growing for the Show
Johanna introduced Charles. He was ABS president in the past and this time is the second time. He was a founder of the Palm Beach Chapter. Charles would like everyone in our branch to enter one or more begonias. The plants he brought are ready to be repotted. Perfect pots for rhizomatous begonias are the bulb pans. These are squat (short) pots, ideal because begonias don’t have a deep root system. Orchid pots (clay) are also ideal.
You only want to move begonias one size up. You will develop a better shaped plant if you do this:
6” to 8”; 8” to 10”; not 6” to 10”. If move up too large, the roots will stay too wet and the rhizome will rot.
All plants that Charles brought have the potential to win. The first step in repotting them is to take out the tag and remember to put it back in the new pot. Use soilless mixes such as Fafard #2 or 2S.
For preliminary grooming, remove the baby leaves; these will not get bigger, and they just drain nutrients away form the rest of the plant. Judges take points off for baby leaves. This is the first step in shaping the plants. Also, remove excessively long leaves. Subsequent leaves will be larger. It is often a good idea to take the bottom row of leaves off.
Place hand over the surface of the soil, turn the plant upside down, and remove the old pot. You should see nice roots along the outside of the root ball. If the soil starts to fall apart, its not ready to transplant.
Place the plant in the center of the larger pot. Don’t loosen up roots unless they are heavily root bound.
Use Nutricote, aka Dynamite (13-13-13) six month formula. (Not Osmocote) At the same time, can feed with Peters or fish emulsion.
Start fertilizing immediately. Nutricote releases its nutrients according to moisture; Osmocote release is triggered by temperature. Fla. Osmoote is called Suncoat.
Place Nutricote around roots when repotting. Start turning the plant. Shake the pot to settle the soil; don’t pack it. Can also add a little bit of dolomite. Begonias like it. Can also add extra perlite in the spring when repotting and getting ready for summer. (Johanna used Fafard #3.)
Turn each plant ¼ turn every week. Place the plants where nothing like leaf litter or pine needles will fall on them.
Certain begonias make a better show plant than othersl Hybrids are a little easier than species. Rhizomatous begonias should be in full flower in March. If a plant only has two stalks, take them off rather than show them underperforming.
100 points if perfect. Points are subtracted for various reasons:
The shape of the plant, size and quality of the leaves, their edges and presence of holes.
Flowers: quantity and quality
Difficulty of propagation: species are harder to grow than hybrids, so will get extra points.
Often there are multiple categories for entry. For instance, a rhizomatous plant may be entered with hanging plants, in a novice category, or perhaps in a species category.
Grooming any plant, even if it isn’t being prepared for a show, produces a better growing plant.
Six to eight weeks before a show, take off all damaged leaves. (Do it now! – Remove damaged leaves.) This may seem a drastic hair cut, but it’s all for the best. With lopsided plants, you can take off lopsided pieces and tuck them into barer spots.
Tip: Don’t use white pots, or black nursery pots. Cleanliness of the pot is also judged. You can move an entire plant into a clean pot just before showing. Consider top dressing plants with fresh soil just for the show. Before showing, if trimming leaves, remove entire petiole, but early on (now) don’t have to cut all the way back.
Judges are looking for symmetrical plants. They don’t want to see the soil; it should be well covered with unblemished leaves. You might leave a leaf with minimal damage if it looks better and fuller with the leaf kept on.
All Rexes have B. rex species from India, in their background. (The B. rex was discovered at higher elevations. It was discovered in 1896(?) One could actually grow Rexes at this time of year for show. The climate is okay now.
If you have an out of balance cane, cut it way back; cut the canes at different heights. The new growth will start at nodes and basel growth (from ground level). You can do this with canes growing in the ground. This has to be done now, to have it ready for show. Can do this with plants in the landscapes, too.
Canes are particularly susceptible to nematodes, so may want to grow them in pots. Remove pieces of cane that die back to the node. Take some canes out that hang low.
You want the leaves to grow all along the stem. Remove the tip (pinch) of every growing tip. Only do it once before Convention. Canes like to be compound too. Use a deeper pot than the bulb pan.
A 12 inch plant is the perfect size to begin staking. Use a stake for each stem; next time, repot it using the same stakes. Add Nutricote.
Green stakes, green ties. Perfectly legal to show with stakes, as long as the ties are not conspicuous. Keeps plant really straight. If you think it’s going to be really tall, stake with tall stakes.
For entry, trim stake down so it’s not higher than the stem.