September, 2013

September, 2013

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Next Meeting

When:  Monday, September 9, 2013 at 7:30p.m.
Where:  Amelias Smarty Plants
              1515 North Dixie Highway
              Lake Worth (561-540-6330)
Refreshments:  - Bev Leichtenstein and Gwen Brown
Badge Plant:  - TBD
Speaker:  - Marta Edwards

President’s Message

This month's September 9th meeting we are trying something different by traveling to Smarty Pants. Sandy will send out a "Blast" to remind everyone and also give the directions to this nursery known for its gorgeous plants and beautifully styled groupings of plants. Or if you care to car pool from our regular spot at the Mounts please meet by 7:00 PM at the front door. We are looking for a new and exciting experience. To get to Smarty Pants on your own you would take I 95 to 10th Ave north. Go east to US I (north Dixie Highway). Turn left and go 5 blocks and turn left into 15th ave(north). Look for the balloons. Hope to see many members there.

Ed Whalen
President, 2013

In Memory of Beverly Miller

This past July, Begonia Society member Beverly Miller passed away following a long illness. Beverly and her husband Alan were snowbirds, splitting their time between Palm Beach County and Bucks County, Pennsylvania. They joined the Begonia Society in 2011. Beverly served on Mounts Botanical Garden’s Board of Directors. She was passionate about the Garden and also about trees. She launched Mounts' annual Arbor Day Program in 2007 and chaired the program through 2013. She was also an avid Earth Day supporter.

Beverly was the owner of Stepping Up & Out, Inc., a successful marketing, public relations and event-planning firm. She served on the Central Bucks Chamber of Commerce Board as Vice President of Membership and Co-chair of Hospitality and Tourism, and as Vice President of The Bucks County Conference and Visitors Bureau. She was involved with a wide array of business task forces and a host of non-profit organizations. She was also a talented Japanese flower designer. Alan is currently in Pennsylvania. The address there is 8135 Cedar Road, Elkins Park, PA 19027. He will return in mid September to their home at 7599 Tarpon Cove Circle, Lake Worth, FL 33467.
There will be a Memorial Service for Beverly on Sunday, September 29 at 7 p.m. at the Rubin Memorial Chapel, 7340 Boynton Beach Blvd., Boynton Beach.

Meeting Minutes for August 12, 2013

Call to Order and Greetings

President Ed Whalen called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m. He thanked everyone for pitching in by bringing refreshments, keeping the building open, and supplying plants for the meeting. He welcomed three guests, all invited by Doris: Sijo Thomas and Jim and Julie Norquist (guests for a second time).

Treasurer's Report Frances was unable to attend so there was no Treasurer's report given.

Old Business - The Begonia Garden at Mounts is an ongoing project. Patrick and Emily Dempsey, Ed and Sandy Sklar all participated in this month’s cleanup.

Virginia reminded everyone to cast their ballots for officers of American Begonia Society. She is running for President and would like everyone’s vote.

We have consented to assist the Tampa Chapter with the Annual National Convention by manning the Hospitality Room. The Convention takes place the weekend after St. Patrick’s Day. Charles Jaros has asked that we prepare plants to enter in the plant show, and remember there is a beginners’ category. Now is the time to start trimming plants to ready them for competition. Johanna Kitson, Suellen Solodar, and Virginia Jens have all won blue ribbons at begonia shows in the past.

The formal opening of the Mounts’ Begonia Garden has been postponed temporarily. Johanna, Doris and Nancy are working on descriptions of some of the begonias in that Garden so labels can be made. It has been discussed with Joel Crippen, Mounts’ horticulturist.

New Business - The club needs a Nominating Committee to prepare the slate of officers for next year. Nancy Cohen, Patrick Dempsey and Sandy Sklar have all agreed to serve on the Nominating Committee. Virginia noted that only three people are needed.

There are two opinions regarding having one or two secretarial positions. If two, they would be Recording and Corresponding Secretaries. This discussion will be resolved at another date.

Ed reported that Patrick Dempsey is in favor of locating a camcorder to record meeting so anyone absent can see and hear the many terrific speakers we have.

Ed asked members to email him with any items they wish to propose for discussion at future meetings.
Announcements - Virginia reported that ABS has an official Facebook page. There are two new groups, one for members at large, especially good for people who live too far from a local Society.

ABS is currently looking for people who will serve on committees. Virginia is interested in reorganizing some of the committees. She would like to encourage members to become involved. She suggests watching the Begonian for additional information.

Doris provided the badge plant, a B. ‘Self’s Mahagony’ which prefers no sun.

Meeting was adjourned.

Respectfully submitted,
Sandy Sklar
Recording Secretary


Program Notes

Program by Doris Happel on Begonias as Ground Covers

Most people don’t think of begonias as ground covers but they are great for this purpose. Remember that the function of ground covers is to (1) fill in empty space, (2) deter weeds and (3) provide a finishing touch.

Ground covers may have small leaves and grow close to the ground, mid-size leaves held above the ground, or be taller plants that form a dense colony.

Some examples of low-growing begonias with relatively small leaves, and a trailing, scandent habit follow. (Some climb trees or swallow up other plants):
       B. convolvulacea,
        B. glabra,
        B. manaus or
        B. U002,
        B. mirage (about 10-12” tall),
        B. ‘Nancy Cohen’ formerly a U484 sport.

Begonias with mid-sized leaves generally are fast growing, provide eye appeal from a distance, and are particularly effective at crowding out weeds.
       B. ‘Tequesta’ has great flowers in spring; it’s an old Florida hybrid that is easily propagated by just sticking a piece in the ground
        B. ‘Boomer – likes complete shade
        B. ‘Art Hodes’ – has pink/purple fuzzy hairs.

        B. ‘Self’s Mahagony’ – very happy in shade, thick stem, will get tall then lean over. In bighgt light, it has smaller leaves.
        B. ‘Holley Moon’ and B. Caribbean King’ form large mounds
        B. ‘Muddy waters’ has larger leaves, bright green leaves and pink flowers.
        B. valida has a thick stem, will grow very tall if supported, but as a round cover, very dense, thoroughly blocking out weeds, with very pretty white flowers.
        B. egregia and B. ‘Lana’ – demonstrate that even thick stems and canes can act as ground covers when grown thickly
        B. “V. jens’ – is a fantastic thick stem with great flowers

Snails are one of the only real pests of snails. Beer is useful for attracting and drowning them. A snail trap can be made from a soda bottle with the top few inches cut off and inverted inside the bottom portion and laid on its side. Metaldehyde is also useful, but must be used sparingly; it’s very toxic.

Garden Safe and Sluggo are two commercially available remedies for snails and slugs.

Avoid using bromeliads near begonias. They harbor snails. Aechmeas are particularly bad.

Nematodes are particularly damaging to canes. Yellowing leaves (chlorosis) is a symptom. Nematodes are deterred by organic matter such as peat moss, mulch, compost, cedar, and ground sesame seed. Nematodes can get into pots. Rhizomes can also be damaged, but not as badly.

If you have canes displaying chlorotic leaves, take cuttings and dispose of the roots. (You will notice root knots, clear evidence of nematodes.)

Our begonias generally don’t get fungus problems. A few varieties are more prone than others to powdery mildew in winter. We should avoid using these (‘Don Miller’ and ‘Looking Glass’ are two.)

You may also see spiraling white fly. They don’t seem to be hurt by it. You can see the white fly on the undersides of leaves.