Johanna Kitson is always generous with offering time and her energy to the Begonia Society. Hope some of you were able to take advantage her offer to work on strawberry pots at her home. The info went out in an email blast to all members.
An interesting fund raiser has come up with friends of the Mounts. Lois Mahoney spoke to us about their Vintage Garden Thrift Shop. They are accepting anything associated with gardening and landscaping. They have a crew who will get rid of the rust on old tools, repair broken handles, etc. Don’t throw it out. Call 561-233-1433 M-F 8:00-5:00 or evenings and weekends 561-317-3146 to donate.
A Note About The Silent Auction
The Silent Auction is our second largest Fund Raiser of the year so we hope and encourage as many members as possible will bring in plants and articles to be auctioned off. For members who bring plants or articles the the split between the club and the member will go like this. The proceeds from any item that sells for less than $5 will be considered a donation (100%) to BSPB. Any item that sells for $5 or more is to be split 70/30 (seller/BSPB). Any donation to the club would be greatly appreciated.
I am sorry I won't be there
but will be thinking about you from Santa Fe, NM.
Call to Order and Greetings
President Ed Whalen called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m. He thanked everyone for their participation. Donnie Brown was
unable to be here and Paton White single handedly took care of supplying refreshments. Ed welcomed guests and new member,
Treasurer's Report was given by Frances Drescher.
Old Business - There was no discussion of old business.
New Business - Ed Whalen and Lee Stratkewicz will be out of town for the next meeting. We will need someone to hold
the building open. The July meeting is our Annual “Picnic” which is a potluck dinner and silent auction. Setup will begin
at 6 p.m. Dinner starts at 6:30 p.m. Everyone is encouraged to bring plants or garden-related items for the silent auction,
and to donate all of the proceeds or make an 70/30 split for the benefit of the club. Guests are charged $5 to attend.
A covered dish for each person attending is expected.
Announcements - Lois Mahoney announced that Mounts Botanical Garden is opening a Vintage Garden Thrift Shop and is looking for donations of anything related to gardening and landscaping. There are a few exceptions; no gas or electric powered tools and no opened chemicals can be accepted. All donations benefit the Garden and are tax deductible. To schedule a free pickup, call 561 233-1463 (on weekends: 561 317-316).
Meeting was adjourned.
BRING A FRIEND TO THE NEXT MEETING
"Begonias From Your Horticultural Correspondent " was presented by Greg Sytch, horticultural correspondent for the American Begonia Society. Greg is a voting board member of ABS. He showed his editor’s copy of a book about creating hybrid begonias by Freda Holly, former ABS Board member. Greg contributed to the book; it will be available soon.
Greg has been growing begonias for 30 years and attributes his start to his father. Currently a high school reading and special education teacher in Port St. Richey, he raises begonias in his free time and provides cuttings by mail order.
Greg discussed his recommendation for making his ideal potting soils for growing begonias: a very light mix for summer propagation to compensate for the high heat, humidity and rainfall and prevent rotting. This mix is about ¾ perlite with a mixture of peat and vermiculite and a little bone meal for the remainder. He recommends that it be used beginning in late April and expect rooting by early June. Then starting around the end of October, add ½ more peat to make the mix heavier so it won’t dry out with winter winds, cooler temperatures and lower rainfall.
He discussed his watering regime: anticipating rain and hand watering if there is no rain. He also recommends spraying with water with a little baking soda to act as an anti-fungal in the morning and evening (approx. 1T baking soda / quart water, or can use fungicide – he recommends fungicide formulated for roses). He likes to switch fungicides from time to time, sometimes using FertiLoam’s liquid systemic fungicide. It lasts about 20 days, isn’t affected by rain after application, and hasn’t been tested for use with begonias. He uses about one capful/gal water. Bacterial spot is hard to control, but these fungicides offer some measure of control. Do not spray mid-day in sun.
Greg also supplies fertilizer, including magnesium and trace elements, in warm water. He has been using and recommends Rose Pride. Rose Pride is not systemic; he recommends spraying the leaves so it is absorbed through the leaves. He also uses tomato, fruit and vegetable food plus calcium. After the cuttings are rooted, he recommends using higher phosphorus (9-4-12) for bloom development. Also acceptable is citrus mango fertilizer by Miracle Gro.
Greg also discussed preparing plants for showing with steps to take at 9 months, 6 months and 3 months before showing. Nine months ahead, lok for the plant to show – an unusual variety put in optimum planting conditions. With rhizomatous begonias, if plant is necky, it won’t be a good show plant. Either cut it back or don’t use it. At six months, groom the plant. Look at it from four directions. Train to straighten. Prune off bad pieces. At three months, start feeding with high phosphorus bloom food. If it doesn’t look good at this time, it won’t look good at show time. Use greenish stakes, so they won’t be seen. It’s preferable to grow without stakes.
When a rhizomatous plant stops blooming, remove the flowers. For superior plants, provide bone meal (0-12-0) twice a year. Use frost cloth to keep protected from the cold. (Greg has used it 14 days in a row during a prolonged cold spell.)
To see some of Greg’s hybrid begonias and other favorites, check online: PlanetBegonia.blogspot.com